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World Cup of Books: June 20th

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 Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, Portugal v Morocco, and Iran v Spain.

URUGUAY: I Remember Nightfall by Marosa Di Giorgio, translation by Jeannine Marie Pita

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa Di GiorgioI Remember Nightfall, the first comprehensive collection of Uruguayan poet Marosa di Giorgio’s work to be published in English translation, is made up of her first four book-length poems: The History of Violets(1965);Magnolia (1968); The War of the Orchards (1971); and The Native Garden is in Flames (1975). Di Giorgio’s writing transforms everything it touches—a lily, a head, a hare, a ghost, a porcelain cup. All becomes beautifully and violently intertwined, dead and alive. Boundaries are blurred: an eagle drinks tea with a mother, a flower puts on the longest pearl necklace or kills you. Di Giorgio’s obsessive, magical gardens serve as a stage for the ongoing encounter of nature and the supernatural. These serial prose poems explore memory, family relationships, erotic desire, and war, animating a world that is always on the verge of explosion. -Publisher Website

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

SAUDI ARABIA: Girls of Riyadh by Rajāʾ ʻAbd Allāh

Girls of RiyadhFour close girlfriends from upper-class Saudi families attend university and medical school in Riyadh and in Chicago and San Francisco. They talk in chat rooms, IM on their mobiles to their boyfriends and each other. But even with all the hip technology, they cannot escape deep-seated oppressive traditions after they return to Riyadh. Sadeem’s fiancé dumps her after she has sex with him. Gamrah’s husband divorces her after she discovers he is having an affair. Michelle and Faisal adore each other, but he gives her up when his family says so. The Religious Police arrest one couple in a coffee bar. But most families don’t need official help to interfere in women’s lives. Translated from the Arabic, this debut novel was immediately banned in Saudi Arabia. The 25-year-old Saudi writer (now studying in Chicago but planning to return home) tells it from the inside, complete with the contradictions and betrayals that define daily lfe. The Sex and the City–type drama is fast, wry, witty, and anguished. And so are the politics: “He appreciates her independence. But can’t find his.” Find it here!

PORTUGAL: Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Margaret Jull Costa

Book of Disquiet by Fernando PessoaBorn in Lisbon but schooled in South Africa, Pessoa (1888–1935) was a prolific modernist poet/aphorist famous for the staggering number of pseudonyms he used to express his various facets. First published in Portuguese in 1982 and once called the “solitary person’s Bible,” this diary-like meditation on major questions has been translated into English four times since 1991. Although its desultory thoughts have been variously organized by different editors, it is only in this edition, for the first time, that the pieces are presented chronologically, including those written before 1920. “What do I care if no one reads what I write? I write to distract myself from living, and I publish because those are the rules of the game,” says the text. But in actuality, the manuscript, as well as most of Pessoa’s work, languished in a trunk after his death—he hardly published anything while alive. Thus, much of what he writes is contradictory, but the originality of his expression easily deflects accusations of self-indulgence: “I asked for so little from life and life denied me even that.” VERDICT: Pessoa may have been a reclusive bookkeeper who lived most of his life in a single room, but in this work, he offers contemplative readers a veritable “thought banquet.” -Library Journal Find it here or at the Lewis Library Book Display!

MOROCCO: Blueness of the Evening: Selected Poems of Hassan Najmi, translated by Mbarek Sryfi and Eric Sellin

Blueness of the Evening: Selected Poems of Hassan NajmiThis selection of Hassan Najmi’s poems provides an excellent introduction to the work of one of Morocco’s foremost poets and to a school of modern verse emerging in the Arab World. Scenes of late night cityscapes, lonely interiors, awe-inspiring desert wastes, and seaside vistas are found within the exquisitely subtle lyric moods and nuances of Najmi’s ars poetica, providing insight into the geographical, political, and linguistic ferment that have made Morocco an exciting hub of creative activity in the twenty-first century. -Amazon

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

IRAN: Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat

Considered the most important work of modern Iranian literature, The Blind Owl is a haunting tale of loss and spiritual degradation. Replete with potent symbolism and terrifying surrealistic imagery, Sadegh Hedayat’s masterpice details a young man’s despair after losing a mysterious lover. And as the author gradually drifts into frenzy and madness, the reader becomes caught in the sandstorm of Hedayat’s bleak vision of the human condition. The Blind Owl, which has been translated into many foreign languages, has often been compared to the writing of Edgar Allen Poe. -Back Cover

Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!

SPAIN: Fog: A Novel by Miguel de Unamuno, translated by Elena Barcia

Fog - A Novel by Miguel de UnamunoUnamuno’s metafictional tale of the unfortunate Augusto Pérez, a philosophical tragicomedy originally published in 1914, predates much other fiction of its kind. Augusto is a wealthy, lonely man still adjusting to his life after his beloved mother’s recent death. He becomes obsessed with Eugenia, a beautiful woman he sees in passing, and now feels like his life finally has a purpose. He makes his intentions known to her through a letter and learns that she is already involved with another man, Mauricio. Meanwhile, Augusto finds and adopts a stray dog who becomes his confidant, Eugenia’s aunt and uncle scheme to facilitate the match between her and Augusto, and Eugenia and Mauricio begin to hatch a scheme of their own to use Augusto for their gain. Augusto’s personal crisis escalates to the point where he eventually confronts Unamuno himself, resulting in a brand-new existential dilemma both hilarious and engrossing. This nimbly constructed metanarrative features buoyant prose and surprising tenderness, leading the reader to unexpected places. -Publisher Weekly Request it here or grab it at the IC Display!



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