Book Reviews

Alejandro Zambra’s “My Documents”

In his nostalgic yet critical gaze, the introduction of home computers in those years becomes a symbol for larger reconfigurations of solitude and companionship.


Park Min-gyu’s “Pavane for a Dead Princess”

Michel Foucault begins Les mots et les choses—his study of how the West has framed and constituted knowledge from the early modern period to the present day—with a discussion of Diego Velásquez’s famous painting Las Meninas. Foucault’s meticulous, articulate...read more »

Fuminori Nakamura’s “Last Winter, We Parted”

“Do you really think that a person could murder someone, purely for the sake of art?” This is the question Fuminori Nakamura asks in his most recent novel, Last Winter, We Parted. A crime fiction writer who “doesn’t mind” being described as such, Nakamura’s...read more »

Lee Si-young’s “Patterns”

The language is often serene, and bound to nature.


Diego De Silva’s “My Mother-in-Law Drinks”

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.


Norman Manea’s “Captives”

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”

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.


Sheng Keyi’s “Death Fugue”

There are moments of real clarity and elegance in "Death Fugue."


Tove Jansson’s “The Woman Who Borrowed Memories”

A collection of very short stories which bubble up from the subconscious only to vanish as soon as they get to the surface.


Eduardo Halfon’s “Monastery”

In Halfon's "Monastery," our narrator asserts the accidental nature of nationality.


Sakutarō Hagiwara’s “Cat Town”

Hagiwara’s poetry is a strange mixture of gloomy wonderment.


Sérgio Rodrigues’s “Elza: The Girl” and Paulo Scott’s “Nowhere People”

Where are all the young Brazilian writers?


Joseph Roth’s “The Hundred Days”

An achingly beautiful fictional account of the rise and fall of the Emperor Napoleon


Otfried Preussler’s “Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill”

Preussler’s storytelling mastery and gift for atmosphere render this Bildungsroman-meets-Gothic horror both timeless and splendidly, creepily original.


Antal Szerb’s “Journey by Moonlight”

This phantasmal, complex novel of ideas takes place in a “wild, precipitous landscape”


Venedikt Erofeev’s “Walpurgis Night”

Current events can make us wonder: In times of tremendous violence, do literary questions and conflicts matter at all?


David Albahari’s “Globetrotter”

This sense of absence pervades the characters’ ideas of national identity — all of them are personally defined by things they lacked in their pasts, either symbolically, literally, or both.


Ernst Meister’s “Wallless Space”

What happens when a “piteously naked” philosopher-turned-poet decides to pursue philosophy in the form of verse?


Edgard Telles Ribeiro’s “His Own Man”

In "His Own Man," nations, like the individuals therein, adapt and change such that their contemporary states bear little resemblance to their earlier incarnations.


Ondjaki’s “Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret”

It is no surprise that this energetic and endearing novel is the work of a writer of such stunning accomplishment as Ondjaki.


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