Rather than push things, the presence of what might be considered a Big Fat Book has forced me to give into some readers and only schedule three titles for the 3rd quarter at Experimental Fiction (XFX). But even the two shorter works are worthy of two or three months of reading and study so we should avoid thinking this is a period of fluff reading. The three titles are: Nervous Conditions byTsitsi Dangarembga; Three Trapped Tigers by G. Cabrera Infante; and The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke. What do you think?
Nervous Conditions is a novel from Africa written by the by Zimbabwean author, Tsitsi Dangarembga. This semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of a family in post-colonial Rhodesia during the 1960s. The author employs themes of race, class, gender, and cultural change to present the post-colonial conditions of present-day Zimbabwe.
The first book of a proposed trilogy, Nervous Conditions is followed by The Book of Not published in 2006.
Three Trapped Tigers by the Cuban author G. Cabrera Infante is a fun romp. Filled with puns, wordplay, lists upon lists, and Sternean typography — such as the section entitled “Some Revelations,” which consists of several blank pages — this novel has been praised as a more modern, sexier, funnier, Cuban Ulysses. Centering on the recollections of a man separated from both his country and his youth, Cabrera Infante creates an enchanting vision of life and the many colorful characters found in steamy Havana’s pre-Castro cabaret society.
This is a good one so don’t be daunted by it’s length.
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is the only novel written by Rainer Maria Rilke. Semi-autobiographical, the novel is written in an expressionistic style. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge is existential in nature, developing themes such as the quest for individuality, the significance of death, and reflection on the experience of time as death approaches. The novel, heavily influenced by the writings of Nietzsche, presents vivid images of the industrial revolution and the age of scientific progress that are suffused with anxiety and alienation.
You may find this work in an earlier translation titled, My Other Self.