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Memoirs of a Polar Bear (2011)

por Yoko Tawada

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MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
231988,495 (3.3)21
"The Memoirs of a Polar Bear is a novel that stars three generations of talented writers and performers who happen to be polar bears. The Memoirs of a Polar Bear has in spades what Rivka Galchen hailed in The New Yorker as "Yoko Tawada's magnificent strangeness"--Tawada is an author like no other. Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous, both as circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. In Chapter One, the grandmother matriarch in the Soviet Union accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography. In Chapter Two, Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) moves to the DDR and takes a job in the circus. Her son--the last of their line--is Knut, born in Chapter Three in a Leipzig zoo, but raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo, until his keeper, Matthias, is taken away... Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and "the intimacy of being alone with my pen.""--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Three generations of a Polar bear family, each living in close proximity to humans, must try to make sense of an unnatural life. Definitely a unique plot written in marvelous prose, which frequently made me chuckle. Tawada is able to illustrate and point out many of the idiosyncrasies, inconsistencies, and absurdities of human cultures compared to life in the natural world. Ultimately, the reader sets down the book with feelings of embarrassment and shame, for good reason! ( )
  hemlokgang | Mar 15, 2020 |
Etüden im Schnee is - amongst other things - a book about three (polar) bears and a little girl. But it's the magic-realist three bears novel that you might imagine Günter Grass, Angela Carter and Richard Adams getting together to write. Part one is narrated by the grandmother bear, who is writing her memoirs in between riding a tricycle in a Russian circus; part two is a joint effort by the East German mother bear Toska and her circus trainer Barbara, and part three is again a bear's-eye-view narrated by a slightly-fictionalised version of the greatest real polar-bear-celebrity of our times, Knut of the Berlin Zoo. There's also a guest appearance by a well-known US musician. Although it touches on World War II, the division and reunification of Germany, climate change, and other big topics, this isn't really a political novel - its real focus is on the relationship between people and animals. Tawada tries to get past the anthropomorphism and sentimentality to dig into what is really going on when people interact with animals. Interesting, beautifully written, and technically very ingenious, but I don't know if the result is really worth the effort.

The only obviously Japanese thing about this book was the use of coloured printed paper (with Arctic motifs) for dividers between the chapters, which I thought was a rather nice touch. Less successful was the idea of setting the entire text in Futura. I can't see what that was supposed to achieve - it is a typeface that really doesn't look good when it's packed together to fill a page. ( )
  thorold | Apr 23, 2018 |
Esta es la historia de tres generaciones, las de la abuela, la madre y el hijo. Es una historia que recorre buena parte del siglo XX y los acontecimientos históricos que lo marcaron y que se desarrolla en varios países. Pero tiene una peculiaridad: sus tres protagonistas son osos polares, osos con raciocinio y sentimientos propios de los humanos, que actúan en circos o viven en zoos, pero que también escriben sus memorias. Y es que lo que Yoko Tawada ha hecho en este libro delicioso, bellísimo y fascinante es poner al día las fábulas de Esopo o Lafontaine.

La novela arranca con la abuela, nacida en la Unión Soviética, que trabaja en un circo, escribe unas memorias que se convierten en best seller y se exilia en Canadá. Su hija Tosca, bailarina, se instala en la Alemania del Este en la época del muro de Berlín, se dedica también al circo y mantiene una estrecha relación con su entrenadora Barbara, emocionalmente frágil. El hijo de Tosca, Knut, nace en el zoo de Berlín, está muy unido a su cuidador, Matthias, y se convierte en una estrella, aunque no todo es tan maravilloso como parece... Y un dato interesante: tanto el personaje de Knut como el de su madre están basados en osos reales; el cachorro Knut se convirtió en la sensación del zoo de Berlín e incluso fue fotografiado por Annie Leibovitz para una portada de Vanity Fair.

El lector tiene en sus manos un libro singular, sorprendente y rebosante de gran literatura. Un libro protagonizado por osos que nos habla de cómo somos los seres humanos y de los avatares de nuestra historia reciente, de cómo nos comunicamos, cómo sentimos, cómo nos relacionamos con nuestro entorno, y también de nuestros anhelos y pesares.
  bibliotecayamaguchi | Mar 2, 2018 |
Since this is a translation, it's hard to say whether the occasional confusion in plot or point-of-view is a simple error or a problem with the writing itself. It's a strange read to begin with: a mingling of historical fiction and magical realism, told by polar bears in captivity. It gets a wee bit preachy at times. But the frequent, truly lyrical descriptions kept me going even though following the storyline is a sometimes rocky path. ( )
  mrsmig | Jan 19, 2018 |
I was immediately so curious when this book started showing up on recommendation lists. Described as a strange magical tale of three celebrity polar bears, in translation by a Japanese-German author - it was impossible that I could resist for long.

In the first part, an unnamed polar bear, a circus performer turned memoirist, becomes (unwillingly) a symbol for those opposed to the Soviet regime. In the second, her daughter, Tosca, is recruited from her career in the theater by an animal trainer trying to design a thrilling new circus routine. In the third, Tosca's son, Knut, becomes an international celebrity when he is born in a Berlin Zoo.

Examining home, identity, creative life in Communist countries, and even translating literature with a melancholic voice that often reminded me of Banana Yoshimoto. Only, you know, with polar bears and circuses. This book was a strange delight. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
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Bernofsky, SusanTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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"The Memoirs of a Polar Bear is a novel that stars three generations of talented writers and performers who happen to be polar bears. The Memoirs of a Polar Bear has in spades what Rivka Galchen hailed in The New Yorker as "Yoko Tawada's magnificent strangeness"--Tawada is an author like no other. Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous, both as circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. In Chapter One, the grandmother matriarch in the Soviet Union accidentally writes a bestselling autobiography. In Chapter Two, Tosca, her daughter (born in Canada, where her mother had emigrated) moves to the DDR and takes a job in the circus. Her son--the last of their line--is Knut, born in Chapter Three in a Leipzig zoo, but raised by a human keeper in relatively happy circumstances in the Berlin zoo, until his keeper, Matthias, is taken away... Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and "the intimacy of being alone with my pen.""--

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