Ah, classic literary fiction. It can be so wonderful, but at times dense, leaving us wishing for a guide to lead us through the precious prose. Enter: Italian artist and writer Francesco D'Isa, who reviews the classics in a candid, tongue-in-cheek (and very short) way. We're happy to bring his column, "Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books," to English language readers! Check back here every Wednesday for three new reviews from Francesco.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
You may wonder why this book is considered a classic, despite the fact that it seems almost unreadable. The answer is that a few wonderfully written pages contain all of your most torturous questions, plus the only possible answer — no answer — in the best possible way.
Plot: Hamlet wants revenge, one thing leads to another and everybody dies.
Rating: 99.9 out of 100
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
To build a world that draws on mythology is a complicated endeavor, but to actually create the mythology of a fantasy world is almost impossible. Published posthumously because it was too complicated, they are not making it into a movie because it would be too complicated. A Bible, with Sauron.
Plot: The birth of the Middle-Earth, plus the usual jewellery that everybody wants.
Rating: 85 out of 100
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
A madman resolving to go insane is the only wise man, since he knows truth to be a lie. Don Quixote is a character who loses his mind due to books, in a book. Sometimes you feel less real than him, and with him you agree: “The best thing is to go crazy for no reason.”
Plot: A guy reads too many books about chivalry and fancies himself a knight.
Rating: 97 out of 100
Past Very Short Reviews of Difficult Books:
Ready to add some old school titles to your reading list? Check back next week for some more Very Short Reviews of Difficult books, and in the meantime, why not catch up on some lighter fare on our Everything Romance page?