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.
Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud
Do you remember the furious visions of adolescence, when our language raped the formless world of childhood, transforming cries into words? I don’t, but if I read Rimbaud then I do — no clue why.
Rating: 95 out of 100
2666 by Roberto Bolaño
The life and works of some people is intertwined (and untied) without any particular meaning or interactions; in the meanwhile more and more women die for no reason. A moving and distracted book, like the eyes of God to the world.
Plot: In the meantime many women die.
Rating: 88 out of 100
Pierre; or The Ambiguities, by Herman Melville
After being defamed by his contemporaries for Moby Dick, Melville takes even more liberty and writes as he likes. Maybe too much: even a hundred years later, his “Pierre” is not appreciated enough. Maybe in another hundred years, we’ll understand it.
Plot: In order not to upset his mother, Pierre abandons the woman he loves and pretend to marry his sister. The plan fails and [spoiler alert] they all die.
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?