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.
The Demons by Fyodor Dostoevsky
If you survive the first (rather tedious) 100 pages, you’ll meet the most cruel and lucid demons on Earth. Among others, there's Kirillov, who commits suicide to prove the non-existence of God, and Shigalev, who wants to enslave 90 percent of humanity to let the remaining 10 percent live better.
Plot: The demons want to destroy everything, but they fail because everything is already destroyed.
Rating: 97 out of 100
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
You won't be shocked by the sight of a monster, but instead by the way you understand and recognize —or even pity — him, because evil has often no culprits. Lolita is a real tragedy, where no one is saved or ever will be.
Plot: A pedophile moves heaven and earth for Lolita, but she runs off with another pedophile.
Rating: 99 out of 100
Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett
Malone writes from his deathbed; sometimes he rants, sometimes he amuses himself, he’s often confused and bored. He jabbers on to kill time, but to kill time is to die, so Malone dies.
Plot: Malone dies.
Rating: 90 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?