Stendhal said that a novel is a mirror carried along a highway. The Story of My Teeth is a mirror carried by a Highway Sánchez Sánchez: a coded yet gleeful journey through Mexico City, rich with details, offering . . . “a fissure in the relationship between style and reality.”
When I first read Lispector in the 1980s, I fell deeply, inexplicably in love. I wanted to know her work inside and out; I wanted to know everything about her. I read all I could find, which was not much and mostly in French translation . . .
Throughout these pieces, Couto moves gracefully and eloquently from stories to lessons and questions. He speaks to a variety of audiences, and engages readers who may know little of Mozambique’s past and present, but who emerge from the collection with an interest in Mozambique’s future.
Andreï Makine’s A Woman Loved is an exploration of limitations: the limits of our capacity to fully understand another person’s inner life, the limits of art to faithfully portray it, and how we compensate for these constraints by creating narratives.
This month, Penguin Classics will publish Uruguayan author Mario Benedetti’s La Tregua as The Truce: The Diary of Martín Santomé—fifty-five years after the novel was originally published in Spanish. Written as a journal, it is the poignant tale of widower Martín Santomé’s affection for his young co-worker.
In order to enjoy The Journey, the second volume of revered Mexican author Sergio Pitol’s idiosyncratic autobiographical trilogy, the reader must abandon expectations: of genre, of structure, of distinctions between the aesthetic “truth” of dreams and fiction, and truth in the sense of literal accuracy.
Written in 1990, Yousufi’s Mirages of the Mind describes with acuity the changed ambience of India after the Partition, We, twenty-five years later, know that Yousufi’s understanding of the Indian situation was nothing but prescient.
Most readers of Baboon will have appreciated the way Aidt composed a series of spiky, cutting scenes, full of damaged yet compelling characters, and in Rock, Paper, Scissors the writer expands these vignettes into an extended car crash of a novel.
A Planet for Rent is Yoss’s thinly veiled, scathing critique of 1990s Cuba, using the genre of science fiction to elude censure... Satirizing our fear of subjugation and the other, Yoss’s implementation of aliens very literally confronts contemporary anxieties about immigration and diaspora.
Centering her tale on the love and lust of a young couple in the Parisian underworld allows Garréta to train our eyes on the physical beauty of youth, the sensuality of anonymous bodies, and our preconceptions regarding both. The bodies of je and A***, left bare of gender markers, create the need for a new, more vigilant kind of reading that involves a constant undoing of assumptions.
Shishkin remains skeptical that language itself can cross borders—for example, in translation. For him, the problem lies in the incompatibility between translated texts and their readers.
In The Lights of Pointe Noire, Alain Mabanckou attempts to reconnect with his home, his family, and his own sense of place in the world—and his readers are along for the ride.
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz—part history, part memoir, part essay on the meaning of survival—insists that the Holocaust didn’t end in 1945. The book challenges the powerful redemptive narrative offered by even official histories
Kamel Daoud's The Meursault Investigation is a tale told in order to give the anonymous victim in Camus’s The Stranger a name—Musa—and a story of his own.
Kassel is a work of chaos. On the surface, this is narrative by association, the aestheticization of the experience of confronting contemporary art, which inevitably includes the turning over of one’s ideas of what is and what isn’t art.
In following its own strict logic, Allemann’s fine-tuned absurdism evokes Beckett, who would feel equally at home in the old man's house, with its “bottle room” and “paper bag room,” and on his bench.
It’s a novel of thresholds and permeable borders, but it begins with holes: a sinkhole that forms as the protagonist, Makina, is watching, in a town “riddled with bullet holes and tunnels bored by five centuries of voracious silver lust.” This is an opening scene which fuses the upheavals of nature with human violence and greed, underlining the instability that runs throughout.
What is impressive about The Dream of My Return is how it manages to have it both ways: to treat the Freudian psyche like the cheap myth it is, but to also show that when push comes to shove, we will rely on it because we need it.
Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s novellas astonish in how they allow us into the heads of his unexpectedly fascinating narrators. Appropriately enough, his slender essay collection, Urgency and Patience, take us just as deeply into the mind of this singular author.
The landscape to be explored is one shaped by nation and culture almost as much as it is by personal experience. This landscape, in Schoeman's novel, is one that crosses back and forth between the borders of the great semi-desert region known as the Karoo, which began to be settled and developed in the late-nineteenth century.
It would appear that to write about Blecher is, in some sense, to write about a broad swath of European modernists in a game of contextual one-upmanship.
In her remarkable novel The Vegetarian, South Korean writer Han Kang explores the irreconcilable conflict between our two selves: one greedy, primitive; the other accountable to family and society.
The Door continues to be eerily resonant, as Szabó’s consideration of the changing sociopolitical terrain in 1950s–1960s Hungary speaks across borders of time and place.
Regina Ullman, the Swiss-born contemporary of Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann, and Rainer Maria Rilke, has finally made her English-language debut with a collection of haunting and beautiful stories.
There is a certain pleasure to be found in reading a book that was publicly burned by the Nazis.
Talk is not only the “principal character in this book,” as Titley writes in his translator’s note, it is the book.
In his nostalgic yet critical gaze, the introduction of home computers in those years becomes a symbol for larger reconfigurations of solitude and companionship.
The language is often serene, and bound to nature.
The latest novel in translation by Italian author, playwright, and screenwriter Diego De Silva at first glance belongs to the swelling genre of paternalistic parables for the digital age.
Navigating the narrative threads of "Captives" is a bit like trying to make it through a hedge-maze while blindfolded, drunk, and asleep.
Pedro Zarraluki’s "The History of Silence" is concerned with negative space: with absences, with things that can be defined only by what they are not.
There are moments of real clarity and elegance in "Death Fugue."
A collection of very short stories which bubble up from the subconscious only to vanish as soon as they get to the surface.
In Halfon's "Monastery," our narrator asserts the accidental nature of nationality.
Hagiwara’s poetry is a strange mixture of gloomy wonderment.
Where are all the young Brazilian writers?
An achingly beautiful fictional account of the rise and fall of the Emperor Napoleon
Preussler’s storytelling mastery and gift for atmosphere render this Bildungsroman-meets-Gothic horror both timeless and splendidly, creepily original.