Saturday, June 02, 2007


My review of Greed by Elfride Jelinek (translated from the German by Martin Chalmers) appeared in the May 1 edition of Library Journal.

Jelinek's latest novel (published in German four years before she won the Nobel prize) is one that will appeal to her fans and most likely infuriate her detractors as well as casual readers previously unfamiliar with her writing.

Set in southern Austria, Greed tells the story of a country policeman with a mania for property acquisition and an appetite for rough sex that leads to the murder of a 16-year-old girl. The storyline, however, is not the important element of this novel. Its driving force is Jelinek's inimitable style of commentary on relationships between men and women, the struggles of the writer and of aging, the state of the environment, and Jelinek's love-hate relationship with her native Austria, among other things. The stream-of-consciousness musings of the novel's unidentifiable female narrator may drive some readers to distraction, with their repetition, lack of plot progression, and often incomprehensible wordplays. Like her or not, this "extraordinary linguistic zeal" is why Jelinek is a Nobel laureate.

Read the proper review at Library Journal...


  1. Ooh, how did you get into reviewing for Library Journal? Is it your regular job? I think that would be my dream job.

  2. Nope, most definitely not my day job. I work in special collections at the university here.
    I review one book a month for Library Journal. It's a nice gig, but they expect a very quick turn-around time (10 days usually - but that's good for me because I can't let myself procrastinate like I do with most of my other reviews).
    As for getting the gig, well, I contacted one of the editors and then filled out an application, sent them some sample reviews, and... viola! Of course you have to be a librarian...

  3. Oh. Too bad, I'm not a librarian. I would love work like that, with any journal, really!

  4. Oh Jelinek ... she is ... well at least strange. I often thisnk about that quote I wrote on my blog about Jelienk's Small Death Trilogy which says something like:
    "I'm not sure what is all about but I like it!"

    But look at that cover art! It's just fabulous! (bitter cakes aren't they?)