Every month Freight aims to give you a preview of one of our designer’s favourite fonts. This week David Benjamin brings you…
A Happy Death. All the Birds, Singing has yet to arrive for me to read, so instead I have decided to mark this centenary of Albert Camus’ birth by reviewing one – possibly my favourite – of his novels. This was the first book he wrote, yet it was not published until after his death, so I feel it lends a certain roundness to the centenary.
Much of the storyline would be familiar to those of you who have read L’Étranger, as it is very much a blueprint for this most famous of novels. However, I would have to say I prefer it – there is a youthfulness, perhaps even a naivety to this version, which I really enjoy. Continue reading
Death and the Penguin is wonderfully surreal. Victor, the protagonist, is a an aspiring writer living on his own in a flat in Kiev. Well, nearly on his own. There is also the Penguin, Misha, who Victor bought from the zoo when they were strapped for cash after the break-up of the Soviet Union. They live together quite happily, Victor feeding Misha frozen fish and Misha shuffling about sounding rather depressed.
Then Victor gets a job writing obituaries for a newspaper and things change. Suddenly he has steady money, and even makes a friend or two, but the the people he is asked to prepare obits for start to die. Misha gets a job too, as a silent companion at funerals. Continue reading
From the Mouth of the Whale, by Sjón and translated by Victoria Cribb, will not be to everyone’s tastes, but I found this to be a great read, filled with the visceral trappings of a time when Science and Magic were often thought to be the same thing. The year is 1635, and though Iceland is under the rule of Denmark it is a long way from anywhere. The main character, Jónas, has been exiled to a remote island off the coast of this remote island – just about as far as a man can be pushed without discovering a new continent. His crime is his intelligence (he is a self-taught healer), his heresy (a Catholic in a country where Protestantism has taken sway) and that he has earned the enmity of the local magistrate. Continue reading
War with the Newts is weird yet wonderful. Sold as a humorous allegory of early 20th Century Czech politics, I was expecting to have my knowledge of Slavonic history stretched to breaking point, but couldn’t resist the title nor the cover artwork. If there were any specific references to Czech politics they passed me by. The novel contains allusions to the League of Nations, the slave trade, and imperialism, but you could get away with not knowing about any of those things. Continue reading