Archive for March, 2007

The White Castle

Published in 1985 by the Nobel-winning Orhan Pamuk as his first historical novel, The White Castle probes into the ambiguity of identity and the East-West relation. A young Venice scholar, who in the 17th century sailed to Naples but was captured and put into the Istanbul slave market, met an Ottoman academic – Hoja – the master who would later brought up the idea of swapping their identities. It resembles the situation facing Turkey when confronting the Western culture where a sense of mixed jealousy and anxiety arises. It is especially insightful at a time when Turkey is striving to become a member of the European Union but would inevitably be accused of not being her true self. The White Castle was awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 1990 and cemented the author’s status as a major writer.

The White Castle
by
Orhan Pamuk
Faber and Faber
Paperback
Condition: Good
Flow Price: HK$58

 

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High Fidelity

Having sold over a million copies since its publication, High Fidelity successfully played to the sympathy of readers (particularly male) by the essence of disorientation and pointlessness Hornby had captured accurately. It is about love, about commitment and about growing-up and adulthood. It is also about things our mothers know by heart and facts the girls we date find out quick but are avoided deliberately by us everyday. “Have you got any soul?” Rob, the protagonist who owns a record shop, was once heckled by a woman and it is only when his girlfriend Laura leaves he starts to question himself hard why all the past relationships has failed. He embarks on an interesting voyage by contacting his previous girlfriends again. Rob tells his discoveries in first person and the book in a whole is an essential modern classic.

High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby
Penguin Books
Paperback
Condition: Good
Flow Price: HK$46

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A Very Long Engagement

Set in the devastating First World War where human lives were insignificant and slaughtered, A Very Long Engagement shows us the picture behind the front line. The tenacious Mathilde chased after every possible clue leading to repudiating the report that his dear fiancé Manech was dead along with other four ill-fated soldiers. A detective mystery in the guise of a love story, it tells readers one of the many painful tales that might be lost in the dirt and filth of history. The translation is smooth and natural. Long though it is, this work of fiction is still compelling and enjoyable.

A Very Long Engagement
by
Sebastien Japrisot
Virgin Book
Paperback
Condition: Good
Flow Price: HK$52

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Freakonomics

In Freakonomics, the authors explore a number of simple but usually unasked issues with their exceptional clinical minds and unfetterd curiosity. Steven D. Levitt is no typical economist and has a habit of examining the hidden side of daily ordinary things. Unconventional and freakish, this little book adopts a more layman tone to express the economics working behind various bodies ranging from corporate-style drug dealers to cheating teachers. If you are not sensitive to numbers, don’t worry. This book unfolds the mysterious matrix in a manner that guarantees easy understanding with the aid of amiable storytelling and detailed background information.

Freakonomics
by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
Penguin Books
Paperback
Condition: Good
Flow Price: HK$ 39

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Porno

Renton, Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie are characters all too familiar to you. Porno is the strong comeback sequal by Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting which shot him to fame before the eponymous film was shown at the height of the Britpop movement. It’s been 10 years since Renton walked away before Welsh reunited the gang of four who are caught up in a plan to make a porn film. Is there a limit to friendship? By celebrating the hangover of youth Welsh continued the powerful narrative that haunts Edinburgh and shakes off all sorts of pretence and moral tidiness.

Porno
by Irvine Welsh
Johnathan Cape
Paperback
Condition: Fair
Flow Price: HK$48

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Greenback: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America

“Paper money cost nothing to produce; it was just a promise, like America.” declares Jason Goodwin, author of this chronicle about the dollar. Maybe that’s why Americans spend extravagantly and save not a single buck. Goodwin shows the qualities of a storyteller while guiding the reader through the history of America. In an era where electronic money gains ground increasingly, the greenback is not only a theoretical currency that borrows no support from valuable metals but also the potent symbol of ecomonic power and unique blueprint of the U.S. modern evolution.

The Business Week interview with Goodwin on the book.

Greenback: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America
by Jason Goodwin
Penguin Books
Paperback
Condition: Good
Flow Price: HK$59

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Before Sunrise

This award winning (Silver Bear for Best Director, Internationalen Filmfestspiele Berlin) film is simple in its plot but entwined with intelligent and expressive dialogues. You can easily find the whole screenplay on web jotted down by dedicated fans. Julie Delpy (Three Colours White, 1994) and Ethan Hawke (Great Expectations, 1998) played the couple who encountered on a train and spent a night in the glittering Venice. Directed by Richard Linklater, the film was very well received since its release and achieved a rare 100% positive review on the renowned film site rottentomatoes.
Before Sunrise DVD
Flow Price: HK$78

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