Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Memoirs of Hadrian - Marguerite Yourcenar

This French literary wizard managed to write the imagined autobiography of one of the most important ancient Roman leaders, the third of the so called “five good emperors”.
Throughout the book Hadrian is going over the most important phases of his life, “the literary excuse” being a letter addressed to his adopted grandson Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic philosopher who would then become emperor himself.
Hadrian is a strong, clever, wise and erudite man, a great military and political chief, in love with Greece and Greek culture, and Yourcenar manages to revive the workings of this man’s mind by means of a refined and beautifully rendered prose.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Jerusalem: the biography - Simon Sebag Montefiore

The history of the holy and mystical city par excellence from King’s David reign to the intifadas.
This is a marvelous work by a famous historian who manages to tell the history of the city basing it on written, oral and archeological sources, stating merits and faults of all the people, civilizations and religions that had a part in it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

The city of Joy - Dominique Lapierre

Back in the seventies Father Stephan Kovalski, a French-Polish priest, arrives to one of the most infamous of the Indian slums: Calcutta’s “Anand Agar”, also known as the “City of Joy”. Being driven by a fervent faith and an equally ardent desire to help those in need, he definitely landed in the right place: notwithstanding its name, the slum is one of the poorest, dirtiest and socially problematic neighborhoods in India and probably in the whole world. As a western Roman Catholic priest in a slum full of poor Indian Hindus, Muslims and a few Christians, at first Kovalski is looked upon with skepticism. Yet through his willingness to share the same harsh conditions of his neighbors and help them, he slowly manages to win their trust. Towards the end of the book a rich, young and equally committed American doctor - Max Loeb - will join Kowalski’s group of volunteers.