Read The Snail's Song by Alta Ifland Free Online
Book Title: The Snail's Song|
The author of the book: Alta Ifland
Edition: Spuyten Duyvil
Date of issue: January 24th 2012
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 31.13 MB
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Loaded: 1312 times
Reader ratings: 5.9
ISBN 13: 9781933132945
Read full description of the books:
Its always tricky to compare one writer to another but one comparison that came to mind while reading The Snail´s Song was one you have not read yet, and shame on you for that: the Polish Natasza Goerke. Ifland like Goerke loves to play with language for no other purpose that it is possible. To roll it upside a hill and watch it thundering down with a smile.
Her stories would do justice and fit perfectly to those the Prague based publisher Twisted Spoon Press has brought to light in English translation so far. Not-so-famous (and unjustly so) writers from "Eastern Europe" (Poland, Russia, Hungary, Romania and Czech Republic).
The stories certainly create the same thoughts and feelings of melancholy and oddness in a good way that left one scratching one´s head at the first moment. Ifland leaves one naked and exposed but after one breath for air I could not help myself but smiling over the imaginery where beauty and sadness is all but the same. I was struggling between attachment and estrangement. A feeling that I know what Ifland was saying, but she does this in a way which I had not known previously, which was partly out of my comfort-zone. Not really disturbing like a real horror or true-life crime thriller but the effect was the same in a way. She is really great at creating atmosphere. Ifland is not a storyteller but a stylist. She does not create plots but images and fragments of stories with often contradictory perspectives.
There are some references to a (in most parts) not really specified Eastern Europeaness and partly the abstract writing seems to come out of folk tales. They are not designed in any way, not crafted (artificially crafted like every word is exactly where it should be) but they flow naturally in an surrealistic way. None of the prose poems or stories is descriptive and instead of characters there are speaking voices, mouthpieces to ideas more than any concrete events . But she certainly cant deny her origin, even I sense more than I really know that she takes what she has put into her stories from memory than some concrete remembering. A certain rootlessness seems to speak from the inside, neither here or there, in-between migration, transgression and in the end separation.
The first part is dedicated to prose poems and the second to some short-stories (even not all that long) and there are some glimpses of something very personal. References to something which seems to concern her life in Transylvania where Ifland was born. One clearly very political story with a setting in Romania on the turmoil after Ceaucescus fall and death. This absurdness of the story is remarkable but in a way sadly true to life. At least I would not be surprised if such a law did really exist. A law with no content which allows everyone to be imprisoned on basis of this law for breaking the law. A kafkaesque Catch-22 that life could have written.
Surreal and dreamlike with a little sidenote to an innocent but dark humourous cruelty that only children have the power to imagine. And I do understand that one might feel that two, three stories might be safe or even proper to read to children but I would personally stay away from that.
Also two of the prose poems are kind of silly but funny, like Monthy Python is silly in a funny way (or vice versa if you prefer). They made me laugh and I do like the way Ifland is playing so skillfully with language, with all those ironic subleties one cannot really grasp but only sense. She is really a poet at heart.
One thing that strikes my fancy are the drawings by Ifland. They have this "monster under the bed" feeling and are certainly strange, but they make they prose poems more complete and fully aware of their own existence.
Additional info to avoid any possible misunderstandings: Even I am friends with Alta Ifland here on Goodreads I did not receive a free-copy or compensation of any kind but I have bought her book by myself.
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Read information about the authorBorn in Transylvania, Romania; grew up under communism; emigrated to the United States in 1991. Studied French literature and philosophy in France. Writes (and translates) in French (second language) and English (third language).
Voix de Glace/Voice of Ice (prose poems; French/English; Les Figues Press, 2007). 2008 Louis Guillaume Prize.
Elegy for a Fabulous World (short stories; Ninebark Press, 2009). Nominated for the 2010 Northern California Book Award in Fiction.
Death-in-a-Box (short stories; Subito Press, 2011). 2010 Subito Press Fiction Prize.
The Snail's Song (prose poems; Spuyten Duyvil, 2011)
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