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Word Cup of Books: June 17th

This summer, the Loyola Libraries are excited to bring you the World Cup of Books, an interactive program to encouraging reading books from other countries. Show your support for your favorite team by reading books from and about their country!

Today’s match-ups include Brazil v Switzerland, Costa Rica v Serbia, and Germany v Mexico.

BRAZIL: Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lucio Cardoso, trans. Margaret Jull Costa

Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso A gothic classic of Brazilian literature making its English language debut, Cardoso’s novel is the story of the Menses family, whose desperate existence in a decaying backwater estate is disrupted when youngest son Valdo returns home from Rio with a young bride, the passionate and impulsive Nina. The new mistress of the house becomes a pawn in the simmering rivalry among the Menses brothers—Valdo, cross-dressing recluse Timoteo, and the icy elder Demetrio, who longs only for his ancestral house to be graced by a visit from the local baron—and a subject of gossip for the townspeople, whose letters back and forth form the bulk of the novel. There’s the doctor who examines Valdo after a supposed suicide attempt, maid Betty who is taken into Timoteo’s confidence, and the priest who receives the confessions of Demetrio’s jealous wife, Ana, regarding the suspicious death of the Menses’ gardener. But these concerns are nothing compared to the tragedy that follows Nina’s incestuous affair with Andre, her tortured son, who alone cares for her during a long convalescence. -Publisher Weekly

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

SWITZERLAND: Lea by Pascal Mercier, translated by Shaun Whiteside

Lea by Pascal MercierMartijn van Vliet and Adrian Herzog meet accidentally in a café in Provence, France. Both have daughters, both have lost their wives, and both are casting about for a reason to continue living. Martijn befriends Adrian so he can tell him his story. His daughter Lea was lost in grief after her mother’s death until she hears a violin played in a train station. The performance captivates her, and she declares that she would learn to play the violin. Her latent talent is revealed, sweeping her into a world of performance and practice. Her father neglects his career to support her and remain close to her. But cracks begin to appear in her mental stability, and her father, concerned for her welfare, carries out a daring and illegal plan to bring her back from the brink of collapse. Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon) tells a heartbreaking story of a father’s love for his child. His two main characters emphasize the parallel lines in the lives of men and the differences that make their experiences unique. VERDICT This tragedy, told in the style of Somerset Maugham, will appeal to serious fiction readers. -Library Journal

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

COSTA RICA: Vida y Obras de Autores de Costa Rica by Mary B. MacDonald and Dwight H. McLaughlin (Life and Words of Costa Rican Authors)

Biografias de autores hispanoamericanos. Find it here or in the Lewis Library display!

SERBIA: Cyclist Conspiracy by Svetislav Basara, translated by Randall A. Major

In this first English translation of a 1988 Serbian classic, Major’s translation captures the wit and wisdom of one of Serbia’s most acclaimed authors. In the preface, Basara calls himself the “editor” of this anthology of found texts, personal missives, historical archives, tales, poems, lists, memoirs, manifestos, maps, and drawings “dedicated to the secret of the Evangelical Bicyclists of the Rose Cross,” an elusive sect of mystics who gather in their dreams and spend their waking hours smashing timepieces, riding bicycles, and contemplating the velocipede’s form and ability to “contradict gravity.” Theirs is a contrarian society that sees the world afresh, from all sides, and intends to destroy systems of all kinds: philosophical, political, theological, and psychological. Or, as one of the collected scholars notes within its pages, their writings are a “product of a few liars with too much time on their hands.” At once a rich philosophical tome and vision-altering spoof of the same, this “meta-goulash” will interest readers of Jorge Luis Borges’s Labyrinths and Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman. -Publisher Weekly

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

GERMANY: To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm, translation by Michael Hofmann

To the Back of Beyond by Peter StammThomas—husband, father, accountant, handball team member—is not the sort to randomly disappear, but one night, as the family settles back into their routine following a vacation, he sets down his evening glass of wine unfinished and walks out the garden gate with only the clothes on his back. He treks his way out of town, cutting across Swiss cow pastures, scavenging food, and sleeping in the forest. Exposed to the elements as never before, Thomas revels in sensations and remembers the long-forgotten names of plants. Back at home, his wife, Astrid, does her best to keep up appearances, but she is gnawed by the need to understand what has happened. Questionable credit card charges at a brothel don’t help. Stamm (Agnes, 2016) explores Thomas’ and Astrid’s wandering thoughts and disjunctive memories in powerfully plain prose and offers no easy explanations, leaving readers to either ache perpetually for answers, like Astrid, or accept their absence, like Thomas. Strong thematic and geographic echoes of an earlier notable Swiss writer, Robert Walser, suggest that homage is key to prize-winning Stamm’s latest. -Booklist

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

MEXICO: Heavens on Earth by Carmen Boullosa, translation by Shelby Vincent

Heavens on Earth by Carmen Boullosa

“Three narrators from different historical eras are each engaged in preserving history in Carmen Boullosa’s Heavens on Earth. As her narrators sense and interact with each other over time and space, Boullosa challenges the primacy of recorded history and asserts literature and language’s power to transcend the barriers of time and space in vivid, urgent prose.” -Publisher’s website

Find it here or at the Lewis Library Display!

Have you read either of these books, or a book from another country participating in the 2018 World Cup? Add a review of a book from a participating nation to our bracket here! You can also fill out our quick form here, and we’ll add your review to the bracket board. Your review may appear in a future blog post!

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