The best novels of the second semester

Of the novels that I read in the second semester of the year, the twelve that I mention below I consider to be the best. Of all reviews appeared in Political Animal.

Paradais (Random House Literature, 2021) by Fernanda Melchor (Veracruz, 1982). It is a novel that she publishes after Hurricane seasonwhich critics received with unanimous international recognition.

In this work the obsession of the desire that covers everything and for which one is willing to kill. The violence that it unleashes occurs within the framework of the deeply unequal reality of our society that is manifested in the relationship established by Franco and Polo.

ladydi (Editorial Lumen, 2014) is the work that Jennifer Clement published in English as Prayers for the Stolen. The writer was born in the United States (Connecticut in 1960), and in 1961 she moved with her family to Mexico.

The drug traffickers in Guerrero watch the girls of the towns grow up. When they are teenagers they kidnap them, to make them their partners or use them sexually. Mothers, in order to protect their daughters, do everything to make them look ugly. In the patio of their houses they build places to hide them.

1984 (Destiny, 2003) by the British George Orwell was first published in 1949. The work after 73 years is still valid. It is a classic of universal literature. He had previously written Rebelion on the farm (1945).

At the head of the Party is Big Brother. His face appears on billboards and on coins. All citizens are obligated to love him and offer his unconditional loyalty. Winston Smith, a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth, is the novel’s protagonist.

animal life (Grijalbo, 2004) by the South African JM Coetzee (1940), Nobel Prize for Literature 2003, brings together lectures delivered in the framework of the Tanner Chair (1997-1998) at Princeton University, New Jersey, United States.

It uses a woman as the protagonist who does not admit that people want to ignore the treatment given to animals in farms and laboratories. The suffering that is imposed on them compares it to crimes between human beings. It is a cruel and inhuman act.

the gratitudes (Anagram, 2021) by the French Delphine de Vigan tells the story of Michka Seld, an elderly person, who begins to lose her memory and the ability to call things by their name.

When she is admitted to a geriatric institution, she meets Jérôme, a speech therapist, who works with her, with the purpose of recovering her speech and words, which she is losing due to aphasia.

The order of the day (Tusquets Editores, 2018) by Éric Vuillard (Lyon, 1968). With the work he wins the Goncourt Prize. In February 1933, a secret meeting takes place that Hermann Göring mentions, to meet with Adolf Hitler.

The 24 most important businessmen in Germany attend, heads of the Krupp, Bayer, BASF, Simens, Telefunken, Agfa, Allianz, IG Farben, Varta and Opel corporations. They donate huge funds to the Hitler government, so that it can be consolidated. In exchange they receive contracts and the power to use slave labor command of the concentration camps.

The place (Tusquets Editores, 2020) is an autobiographical novel by Annie Ernaux (1940), Nobel Prize for Literature 2022. He published it in 1983 and with it he made a place for himself in the field of French letters and obtained the Renaudot Prize.

The work gives an account of family life in the years of his youth. It is the story of the difficult and modest social ascent of his family. From the rural environment, his father moved to the city where he was hired as a worker and over the years became the owner of a store-bar in a poor neighborhood.

The event (Tusquets Editores, 2019) by Annie Ernaux (1940), Nobel Prize for Literature 2022. In the novel, she gives an account of the abortion she had when she was a university student.

The author in a disembodied and direct way talks about what she lived through. She alone makes her decision. No one accompanies her more than her own will to solve all problems to prevent having an unwanted child. The only possibility is a clandestine abortion outside the health system.

Pure passion (Tusquets Editores, 2019) Annie Ernaux (1940), Nobel Prize for Literature 2022, wrote it in 1991. This, as are all her works, is an autobiographical novel in which she recounts a passionate relationship with a man, which she finds especially attractive.

In the narration of the story, he uses a diary during the time that his affair with a foreigner and married man lasts. Because of her obsession, she only thinks of him and every day she is waiting for him to call her, to meet again and make love.

Liquidation (Alfaguara, 2004) is a work by the Hungarian Imre Kertész (1929–2016, Budapest) who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2002. He published it in 2003 and narrates what he lived in the extermination camps and also gives an account of the reality political and social of Hungary.

In 1944, at the age of 15, he was deported from his native Hungary to the Auschwitz camp (Poland) and then to Buchenwald (Germany). In 1945 he is released, he can go to France, but he decides to return to Hungary. His first job is as a journalist and translator.

Memory of my sad whores (Diana-Mondadori Publishing House, 2004) by Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), Nobel Prize for Literature 1982, tells in the first person the story of an elderly journalist who lives in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The story begins when the old man turns 90 and to celebrate he decides to treat himself to having sex with a 14-year-old virgin. Once in the brothel, he sees the teenager from behind, lying on the bed, completely naked. That vision changes his life radically.

The speed of light (Editorial Tusquetes, 2005) is the fifth novel by Spanish Javier Cercas. It tells the story of a friendship that he began in 1987 in the United States. The narrator is the author himself.

He is presented with the possibility of working as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, located in Urban. There he meets Rodney Falk, an office mate, a Vietnam ex-combatant who is difficult to approach and at the same time intelligent and lucid. A close friendship centered on literature is established between the two.


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