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Eccentric Core

Musing Mondays2

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?

Eccentricity has it that I’ve got more than one book in this category. I consider my reading a digression from the mainstream genres like popular fiction. My predilection of history, culture, and travel lends itself well to the endeavor of seeking out foreign and translated literature. Partly due to it’s being translated literature, and partly due to the lack of promotion, especially for a debut, Shadow Without A Name by Ignacio Padilla is one book that I absolutely love but nobody seems to have heard of, let alone liking it. I gave away my only copy and have yet to replace the book.

Putting aside the intrigues of the plot, which is made up by four narrators who assume the same name, the most interesting aspect of this novel is its structural form. Padilla tells his story through four stand-alone yet interwoven sections, each narrated by a different character at a different time and place. These monologues are restricted by the character’s point of view, presenting the reader with all the clues to the puzzle but no omniscient narrator to put it all together. So only the reader can figure out that Kretzschmar’s son is trying to exact his revenge against a different Dreyer, and by paying attention to the seemingly extraneous dates and places where each section was written the reader can uncover the final clues to the novel’s game.

Has anyone heard of this book, or read it?

19 Responses

  1. I never heard of Ignacio Padilla. Check out my answer for Monday’s Musing.

  2. Have never heard of that book, but from your description, it sounds interesting. Sounds very complex though, so I can see why it won’t appeal to (many) people.

  3. I’ve never heard of this one before but that is why I love your blog, you are always highlighting books that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise!

  4. nope, I never heard of it either, but off to check out your review.

  5. Nope to me too. Surely you have a book that most haven’t heard of. A book I enjoyed which many consider woody is Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah

  6. My favorite read is Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut and I always recommend it, but it seems that none of my family or friends seem to ever love it as much as I do. Oh well, they don’t know what they are missing. By the by, I’m off to check on Padilla. Cheers!

    • Cat’s Cradle by Vonnegut has been on my list for a long time. The book club at the indies discussed the book last year while I was on vacation, so I never got to read it.

  7. I bought a copy on your recommendation, but haven’t read it yet. I will!

  8. Nope, never heard of it, but I always like finding new authors (which I almost always do here)

  9. […] Has anyone read Shadow Without a Name? I haven’t either but, over at A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook, the book was the subject of Monday’s Musing and is included at the top of his All-Time Favorites. His list of fourteen includes The Master and Margarita, A Separate Peace, The Brothers Karamazov, Beloved, and To the Lighthouse, all of which would be strong contenders for my own “all-time favorites” list, so Shadow Without a Name goes on my TBR. […]

  10. Putting Shadow on the list to get through inter-library loan.

  11. […] Matthew of A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook talks movingly about one of the books he loves and wonders why it isn’t more widely known. […]

  12. Hi Matt! I’m very curious. Which country is Padilla from? I’d like to check this book out. Sometimes there are gems that we find that other readers know nothing about. Have you read Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams? That is one of my favourites which I don’t see anyone else talking about. Also Dave Eggers’s What is the What.

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