Augustino and the Choir of Destruction by Marie-Claire Blais

Augustino and the Choir of Destruction

Marie-Claire Blais

This book is not really a story, although there are many stories within it. It is more a cacophony of voices, the choir of the title, all clamouring for attention in a post 9/11 world. Stories overlay stories and voices overlay voices, never pausing for breath, and through it all Augustino keeps on writing. I found the book hard to get into, but it is worth persevering. The language is as beautiful as the subject matter is disturbing.

Extract

... Nora looked around her, wondering if this was a celebration or something else in a disgraced and ruined country, there are birthdays and anniversaries for people, but not many for tragedies that have shaken the world, Nora thought, victims don't speak, we treat them as voiceless, forgetfulness or silence, what point was a tormented conscience, maybe Nora should have listened to her children and not left, while her husband Christiansen had strongly advised going back there, how edgy it was with your father already doing medicine in the bush, but now the soul of Rwanda was so weighed down with the dead -- although the newspapers and TV rarely talked about it, about Tutsi children killed by the thousands- - who would Nora be tomorrow, the same person or someone else, it was so easy to get comfortable again and forget what she had seen and smelt ...

Parallels
  • The Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid
  • These Festival Lights by Marie-Claire Blais

Books with similar mood

Nineteen Eighty

David Peace

Death Is Hard Work

Khaled Khalifa

Stillness

Courtney Brkic

Merciless Gods

Christos Tsiolkas

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing

Eimear McBride

Please Look After Mother

Kyung-sook Shin

Jia: a Novel of North Korea

Hyejin Kim

Strange Music

Laura Fish

The Quarry

Damon Galgut

Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote

Ahmadou Kourouma

The Siege

Helen Dunmore

Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow

Peter Hoeg

Filth

Irvine Welsh

Anatomy of a Soldier

Harry Parker

Guantanamo: A Novel

Dorothea Dieckmann

A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear

Atiq Rahimi

Notice

Heather Lewis

Autofiction

Hitomi Kanehara

Fault Lines

Nancy Huston

This Blinding Absence of Light

Tahar Ben Jelloun

At Swim, Two Boys

Jamie O'Neill

Assorted Fire Events

David Means

Mush

Kathleen Bryson

The Deposition of Father McGreevy

Brian O'Doherty

A Place of Greater Safety

Hilary Mantel

Exquisite Corpse

Poppy Z Brite

The Land of Green Plums

Herta Muller

His Bloody Project

Graeme Macrae Burnet

Captain of the Steppe

Oleg Pavlov

Call It Dog

Marli Roode

When the Time Comes

Josef Winkler

Unfeeling

Ian Holding

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lionel Shriver

The Last Girl

Stephan Collishaw

The Quiet Violence of Dreams

K Duiker

Spies

Michael Frayn

A History of Forgetting

Caroline Adderson

I Have Waited, and You Have Come

Martine McDonagh

The Wake

Paul Kingsnorth

I Refuse

Per Petterson

The Vegetarian

Han Kang

Dirty Work

Gabriel Weston

The Guard

Peter Terrin

After the Fire, a Still Small Voice

Evie Wyld

Double Vision

Tricia Sullivan

The Beautifully Worthless

Ali Liebegott

Eagles and Angels

Juli Zeh

The Star Fraction

Ken Macleod

Affinity

Sarah Waters