The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. The Shadow of the Wind

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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. February: Metro 2033

Postby MamaPata » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:36 am

For those people starting Les Hirondelles de Kaboul, extralean once posted a list of new words. May be useful in case anyone wants to study vocab before they start.

J'avais imaginé que Les hirondelles de Kaboul par Yasmina Khadra aurait été moins exigent au niveau vocabulaire que les deux dernières livres que j'ai lu et dont les mots inconnues vous ont du lire un peu plus haut dans cet fil. Yasmina Khadra (Arabic: ياسمينة خضراء‎, literally "green jasmine") is the female pen name of the Algerian soldier and author Mohammed Moulessehoul.

Je m'en rends compte à quelle point je me suis trompé dès les premières deux pages:

Les mots:
vauvert : Au diable, au diable vauvert ou, familièrement, au diable vert, très loin. = j'ai toujours pas compris le sens de vauvert
épousseter⇒ vtr (enlever la poussière) (clean) dust vtr
croasser [kʀɔase] vi to caw - I had imagined 'croak'; not 100% wrong, or right.
racloir nm (Mines) scraper / squeegee. I understood from context; but had forgotten it.
stèle nf (monument monolithique) stele, tablet n
Il y a une stèle commémorative là où tomba l'avion.
stèle nf (plaque, colonne) headstone, stele n
cliquetis nm (tintement) jingling, clinking n = I understood it to be clicking; not completely wrong.
culasse nf (partie arrière d'une arme) (gun) breech n
culasse nf (partie de moteur) cylinder head n
culasse nf argot (fesses) (US) ass, butt n
reptation nf (action de ramper) crawling
rocaille nf (terrain couvert de cailloux) rocky ground, stony ground n
Il y a beaucoup de rocailles dans la garrigue.
rocaille nf (jardin ornemental à base de roches.) rockery, rock garden n
garrigue nf (végétation sèche du sud) garigue, garrigue
éclore⇒ vi (action de s'ouvrir) hatch; hatch out vi + adv
Les œufs éclosent et les poussins sortent.
éclore vi littéraire (s'ouvrir) open, bloom vi come out vi phrasal
Chaque matin de nouvelles roses éclosent.
éclore vi littéraire (apparaître) break, dawn vi
nénuphar, nénufar nm (plante aquatique) water lily n
Pashtun (also spelled Pushtun, Pakhtun, Pashtoon, Pathan) - are a people who live in southeastern Afghanistan and the northwestern province of Pakistan.

En: The first 13 words on this list came from the first 2 pages of The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra.
So hold on to your hats cowboys; it's gonna be a bumpy ride!

cruche nf (carafe) pitcher, carafe, jug n
houri nf (Coran : vierge) houri Note: Le h est aspiré.
houri nf littéraire (femme très séduisante) (literary) houri n
gargote nf (mauvais restaurant) cheap restaurant n
boutoir nm (groin) (of wild boar) snout n
boutoir nm (instrument) farrier's hoof knife, French clog-maker's knife, currying knife n
burnous nm (manteau de laine sans manches) burnous n
patauger⇒ vi (marcher en terrain très humide) (with effort (deep water or mud)) wade, trudge, flounder vi
grivoiserie [gʀivwazʀi] nf sauciness; ribaldry
cloporte nm (crustacé des lieux humides) woodlouse - we call them rolly-pollys
ribambelle nf familier (longue suite) flock, bevy; ton; heap ::: eg of galopins
galopin nm familier (enfant turbulent) rascal, scallywag n
taudis nm (logement misérable) hovel, slum n
guitoune nom féminin (arabe maghrébin gītūn) Argot militaire. Tente de campement, abri de tranchée.
Familier. Tente de campeur.
choir⇒ vi soutenu (tomber) drop vi
Tire la chevillette, et la bobinette cherra (Charles Perrault).
choir argot (renoncer) drop vi
Laisse choir, c'est râpé..
tergiversation nf (hésitation à agir) procrastination n
(formal) prevarication, equivocation, tergiversation n
cravache nf (baguette mince et flexible) switch, riding crop, horsewhip n - i got this from context; but needed to check
loqueteux, loqueteuse adjectif Littéraire. Vêtu de loques, misérable.
loque nf Vieux vêtement, vêtement très abîmé
badaud, badaude nom (ancien provençal badau, niaiserie, de badar, rester bouche bée)
portefaix nm Archaïque porter ....
Vieux. Homme dont le métier était de porter des fardeaux.
Littéraire. Homme grossier et brutal : Parler comme un portefaix.
tchadri nom masculin (mot persan) - Voile dissimulant les femmes musulmanes de la tête aux pieds, grillagée à hauteur des yeux. (Il est traditionnel en Inde, au Pakistan et en Afghanistan.
marmaille nom féminin (de marmot) - bande, troupe désordonnée d'enfants bruyants.
ridelle [ʀidɛl] nf slatted side (of truck
débraillé - bedraggled; dishevelled
mirobolant adj (incroyable) fabulous, stupendous adj
estaminet nm Belgique, nord de la France small café
chèche nom masculin (arabe chāch) Au Sahara, sorte de grande écharpe que l'on porte enroulée autour de la tête.
énergumène nm (excité, forcené)Personne exaltée qui parle, gesticule avec véhémence:::: maniac, crazy person n
fatras nm (fouillis) jumble, clutter n
vautour nm (rapace charognard) vulture n - makes sense if I say it out loud!
recroqueviller⇒ vtr (rétracter, tordre) shrivel, wither vtr
(formal) desiccate vtr
La sécheresse recroqueville toutes les plantes.
se recroqueviller⇒ v pron (se replier sur soi) curl up vi
fange nf littéraire, figuré (avilissement) (figurative) mire n
meuzzin - noun muezzin a man who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of a mosque.
gravats nmpl (restes de démolition) rubble n de gravure...
leurrer⇒ vtr (tromper) deceive, delude vtr
dodeliner de la tête vi bob head, shake head, nod head vi
horripiler [ɔʀipile] vt to exasperate

En: The first 49 words on this list came from the first 27 pages/ 2 chapters of The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra.
I have the impression that either I'm dumber than I thought; or the author/translator is good friends with their thesaurus!


Je viens de finir Les Hirondelles de Kaboul. J'ai noté beaucoup trop de mots inconnus!! 100 en 148 pages.

Voici la continuation de la liste plus haut dans ce fil.

Really #50 - étuve nf (hammam) sauna, Turkish bath, steam room n
Elle s'enferme dans une étuve pour transpirer.
badigeonner⇒ vtr (peindre un support) paint vtr (pejorative) daub vtr
badigeonner vtr (enduire une partie du corps) smear vtr slather vtr
nanti nm péjoratif (riche, privilégié) the rich, the wealthy, the affluent, the well-to-do, the well-off, the privileged few npl
édredon nm (sur couverture moelleuse) duvet n
eiderdown, quilt n
bedspread, counterpane n
farfadet nm (lutin) elf, imp n
étau nm (outil de serrage) (UK) vice n
s'amonceler⇒ v pron (s'entasser) (informal) pile up, heap up vi phrasal
sans coup férir phrase without encountering any opposition
gué nm (niveau bas d'une rivière) ford n
nasse nf (panier conique) fish trap, creel lobster pot n - also a tightspot/tangle in a slangy sense
famélique adj (maigre et affamé) scrawny adj
azimut,azimuth nm (angle avec le nord magnétique) azimuth n EN - the direction of a celestial object from the observer, expressed as the angular distance from the north or south point of the horizon to the point at which a vertical circle passing through the object intersects the horizon.
the horizontal angle or direction of a compass bearing.
débiner⇒ vtr familier (dénigrer) (informal) run [sb/sth] down vtr phrasal sep
(informal) badmouth vtr
(UK, colloquial) slag [sb/sth] off vtr phrasal sep
(colloquial) bitch about [sb/sth] vi + prep
se débiner⇒ v pron argot (céder, ne plus tenir) come apart, fall apart vi phrasal
geindre⇒ vi (gémir) moan; groan, wail, lament vi
pagne nm (vêtement) loincloth n
Louve nf (femelle du loup) she-wolf n
Remus et Romulus, les fils de la louve.
louve nf (levier) lever, ratchet n
La louve est un instrument indispensable quand il s'agit de lever des pierres.
louve nf (filet de pêche) sea perch, sea bass n
mansarde nf (pièce aménagée dans un comble) attic room n
madrier nm (poutre, solive, planche) beam n
ployer⇒ vi (courber, fléchir) bow, bend, sag
en un tournemain loc (rapidement) in no time at all expr
(dated) in two shakes, in two shakes of a lamb's tail expr
séant nm littéraire (fessier) (formal) posterior; buttocks
courroucé adj littéraire (en colère) angry, irate adj
(literary) wrathful adj
asséner,assener, replace: asséner qch vtr (donner un coup vigoureux sur qch) strike [sth] with [sth], hammer [sth] with [sth] vtr + prep
hennir⇒ vi (pousser son cri) neigh, whinny vi
(humans, figurative) bray vi
fêlé adj familier (fou) (colloquial) cracked, crazy, nuts adj
fêler⇒ vtr (fissurer) crack vtr
s'avérer⇒ v pron (se révéler, apparaître) prove to be expr
se languir de⇒ v pron soutenu (s'ennuyer) pine for, long for vi + prep
venelle nf (littéraire) alley
chanvre nm (plante : cannabis) (plant, textile) hemp
medersa nom féminin invariable Forme maghrébine de madrasa.
madrasa nom féminin invariable (arabe madrasa) Établissement islamique d'enseignement sunnite (orthodoxe, traditionaliste). Tout édifice musulman destiné aux sciences. (Au Maghreb, on dit medersa ; dans le monde turc, medrese.)
teigne nf familier (personne hargneuse) (slang) nasty piece of work expr
trique nf (gros bâton) big stick, cudgel, club, rod n
pacotille nf (chose sans grande valeur) (object) cheap adj
(concept, action) pseudo-, bogus, phoney, sham, empty, fake adj
déguenillé [deg(ə)nije] adj ragged, tattered
tertre nm butte ; hill; hillock; mound
autodafé nm (bûcher de personnes) (History) auto-da-fé n
public burning n
L'Inquisition réalisa de nombreux autodafés.
autodafé nm (bûcher de livres) book burning n
burning of books n
(literary) auto-da-fé of books n
varan nm (dragon) Varan ...goanna monitor lizard...not the fire breathing type of dragon I imagine
canasson nm péjoratif (cheval) horse
canasson nm ((péj.)) nag
cheptel nm (ensemble de bétail) (cattle) livestock n
(sheep) flock n
paître⇒ vi (brouter) graze vi
envoyer paître (colloquial) send [sb] packing v
toiser⇒ vtr (regarder avec défi) look up and down n
(figurative) weigh up vtr
look at scornfully vtr
La boxeuse toisait son adversaire.
toiser vtr vieilli (estimer à la vue) (figurative) weigh up vtr
dépêtrer qch⇒ vtr (débrouiller, démêler) extricate vtr
se dépétrer⇒ v pron (se sortir d'une situattion) extricate yourself vtr + refl
brimade nf (vexation) bullying, baiting n
(dated) ragging n
ubuesque adj (Littérature) grotesque
cagibi nm familier (local réduit) (UK) box room; (US) storage room; (informal) cubby hole n
Vénusté nom féminin; (latin venustas, de Vénus); Littéraire. Beauté gracieuse et élégante.
fieffé menteur out-and-out liar n
jacasser vi familier (parler très fort) (informal) chatter, jabber vi
mégère nf (femme acariâtre) shrew n
acariâtre adj (grincheux, mécontent) sour, sour-tempered adj

Ce que je trouve intéressant est le nombre de mots desquels je connais un synonyme (souvent la version non-littéraire) et puis j'admets que je ne connais pas grande chose de l'islam ni l'arabe; donc j'attends toujours d'apprendre les mots d’origine arabes quand je lis des livres du monde arabe.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. February: Metro 2033

Postby MamaPata » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:13 pm

MamaPata wrote:Maybe people could have until the end of the day Monday week (11th) and then a week to vote? What are people’s nominations?


Does anyone else want to make a nomination for the April read?
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. February: Metro 2033

Postby rdearman » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:32 pm

MamaPata wrote:
MamaPata wrote:Maybe people could have until the end of the day Monday week (11th) and then a week to vote? What are people’s nominations?


Does anyone else want to make a nomination for the April read?

How about, Nabokov Vladimir's "Lolita"
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. March: The Swallows of Kabul (February: Metro 2033)

Postby MamaPata » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:27 am

Okay, poll has been created, you have a week to vote!
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. March: The Swallows of Kabul (February: Metro 2033)

Postby kanewai » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:38 pm

I finally started The Swallows last night. It looked like such a slim little book; I thought that it would be a quick read. But that prose was dense! And the subject matter intense - I think this is going to be slow going. The first chapter was absolutely horrifying. I don't want to trigger any spoilers, so I'll hold off more discussion until we're all further along.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. March: The Swallows of Kabul (February: Metro 2033)

Postby MamaPata » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:34 am

kanewai wrote:I finally started The Swallows last night. It looked like such a slim little book; I thought that it would be a quick read. But that prose was dense! And the subject matter intense - I think this is going to be slow going. The first chapter was absolutely horrifying. I don't want to trigger any spoilers, so I'll hold off more discussion until we're all further along.


I had the same experience. I had known from extralean’s post that there would be a lot of new vocabulary for me, but I definitely wasn’t prepared. I’ve mostly not been having a problem reading in French lately, but the first page of this was a struggle (though I do seem to now be improving).
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. February: Metro 2033

Postby Serpent » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:17 am

David27 wrote:I can definitely understand why it is so popular in Russia. Millions use the vast amazing (it truly is) Moscow metro daily, and the fact that this story is built around the metro with a lot of cultural references partially driving the adventure is compelling. I was in Moscow in 2011, and I had fun reminiscing, and would look up what stations look like to remind myself of the stations and lines myself (I forgot a lot! but it came back as I was reading so that was a lot of fun).
That's true :) Also, like with all dystopian fiction (I guess), it can be very comforting to read about someone who definitely has it worse than you do. A boy for whom going to the next metro station is a huge adventure. And when actually using the metro, you feel so grateful just to be able to hop on a train so easily, to have working escalators with no missing steps, to have wifi on most trains :D (there was no wifi there back when the book was written)
As someone who's never been to New York or London, if I were to read dystopian fiction where they're still recognizable, I'd be jealous of the main characters I guess :lol: TBH this is my first dystopian book.

Also, as the author pointed out (in a very political interview - please discuss only the book here!):

"I believe Western European post-apocalypse stories mean zombie stories or just virus stories or whatever," Glukhovsky explains. "They have this cheerful tonality because they free Western society of the laws and obligations and turn the very known urban environment to no man’s land, where everything is possible and where you can dehumanise human beings and murder them. Wherever zombies are popular, they are popular because people are tired of rules. Zombies give you a fairy tale that allows you to legally smash the head of your neighbour because they’ve been dehumanised. ... The popularity of the zombie tales and the Western style post-apocalypse is the consequence of this."
Zombies allow Americans to dream of the past, to transport back to romanticised days of the Wild West. On the other side of the Bering Strait, the population doesn’t pine for a time when humans were wild – it dreams, wistfully, of another relic of the past: order.

"This incredibly nostalgic, bleak, regretful tonality of the Russian post-apocalypse stems from the fact that we had this feeling – just like people in the Dark Age and medieval times – that the Golden Age of civilisation was long gone and you were looking into the past with a great nostalgia thinking that the higher the paramount of culture and science and civilisation was already gone. You fear the future because you know for sure that every tomorrow is going to be worse than every today. You look back with awe and admiration and nostalgia and you miss all these days. You understand they are gone forever and you have no hope or future."

And this explains perfectly why I never cared for books with zombies. Oh and the interview mentioned S.t.a.l.k.e.r. computer games.

There's more but the link is so political that I won't share it here (there are also minor spoilers). PM me if you can't find it via google. I'll be happy to discuss the interview outside this forum.
For female characters, I don't necessarily need a gun-slinging female character that shatters gender roles for me to enjoy a novel, but I was more bothered by the fact that women seem almost non-existent! They should make up half the population, but I can't think of a single female character's name, which just makes it feel like an older military novel, or (literal) man against nature novel, but it's supposed to show a whole society in the metro so I don't understand what all the women are doing! lol.
Oh I agree, but the presence of a female fighter is very telling with regards to what the author thinks about women. So far all references to women involve motherhood and having babies :| Artem's friend has a little sister and they are harsh towards her.
(but for me the worst part are expressions like "sit like a woman and do nothing", "old women's tales", "blush like a girl"... sigh, and I'm not even done with the third chapter yet)
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. March: The Swallows of Kabul (February: Metro 2033)

Postby MamaPata » Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:51 am

April’s book will be the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. As I have said, it is very readable by my dated memory, but it is longer than the others so people may want to crack on with it. I won’t be able to start it til april so I will be a bit slow but am looking forward to discussing it.

(Please continue discussing the other books, this is just a general warning so everyone has time to get hold of it and start)
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. February: Metro 2033

Postby Cèid Donn » Wed Mar 20, 2019 4:44 am

Serpent wrote:
For female characters, I don't necessarily need a gun-slinging female character that shatters gender roles for me to enjoy a novel, but I was more bothered by the fact that women seem almost non-existent! They should make up half the population, but I can't think of a single female character's name, which just makes it feel like an older military novel, or (literal) man against nature novel, but it's supposed to show a whole society in the metro so I don't understand what all the women are doing! lol.
Oh I agree, but the presence of a female fighter is very telling with regards to what the author thinks about women. So far all references to women involve motherhood and having babies :| Artem's friend has a little sister and they are harsh towards her.
(but for me the worst part are expressions like "sit like a woman and do nothing", "old women's tales", "blush like a girl"... sigh, and I'm not even done with the third chapter yet)


What's even more telling is how easily the author can conceive and write male characters who have varying viewpoint, motivation, desires and values. He was able to attribute these elements to his male characters but couldn't bother with any female character to the same degree. This isn't even something that is about breaking gender norm--it's simply the reality of the human experience that women (and non-binary people) are every bit as much individuals, with our own viewpoints, motivation, desires and values, as men, and our experiences are just as worthy of being told in stories.

That's literally been the crux of the conversation we're been having as a society for the past, oh, 40 years or so about gender representation in literature, movies, TV and general storytelling: that what we cherish as "great works" is largely stories where men are shown as individuals with their own inner lives and where women--if women are shown at all--are shown as caricatures, plot devices and tropes that reinforce oppressive, limiting stereotypes about women, our abilities, contributions and actual roles in society. In the very least, this is very biased, incomplete representation of the human experience in our "art."

That said, a woman fighter/soldier is hardly gender-norm breaking in the modern world, regardless of cultural or individual attitudes, especially for Russian culture, where women's participation in the military, or in combat roles that supported the military, is just historical fact. It's rather pathetic that a Russian novel published in the 21st century can't do better then this.
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Re: The New Forum Book Club thread 2019. March: The Swallows of Kabul (February: Metro 2033)

Postby kanewai » Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:04 am

I finished Les hirondelles de Kaboul over lunch ... and I'll be impatiently waiting until the end of the month to discuss it. I've got some things to say about this book.

The short spoiler-free version: it was a fascinating look at life under the Taliban, and on the emotional and spiritual impacts this had on the main characters. I was impressed that a male author was able to imagine what impact fundamentalism had on women. And then I got to the last twenty pages - and the author blew any good will I had for him. Rage post to come April 1.

Note: I assume it's safe to discuss books after the month is up without worrying about spoilers, yeah? I'm not sure if we ever came up with a standard practice for those.
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