Ah, classic literary fiction. It can be so wonderful, but at times dense, leaving us wishing for a guide to lead us through the venerable 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.
Tristes Tropiques by C. Lévi -Strauss
"I hate travelling and explorers [...] Adventure has no place in the anthropologists profession; it is merely one of those unavoidable drawbacks." Thus begins a rare balance between an adventure novel and an anthropology essay; a work that has obviously inspired Indiana Jones (There are also Nazis!).
Plot: The life of the ethnographer.
Rating: 94 out of 100.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by H. Hemingway
There are authors who can steal the fire of life from Hell just because they had a love affair. Others, less sensitive but equally profound, need more, like a war. Hemingway excels in the last category.
Plot: A guy goes to war.
Rating: 90 out of 100
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by M. Kundera
Kundera is another simplifier of depth, with the exotic charm of central Europe. If you can deal with the fact that he seems to court you, it's a good book; but only if you have read fewer than 50 books and you are younger than 25.
Plot: Sex, communism and a bit of philosophy.
Rating: 71 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?