Book Reviews

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.


Alessandro Baricco’s “Mr. Gwyn

In an attempt to combat an approaching aimlessness after his sudden retirement, Gwyn chooses the new vocation of a copyist.


Gonçalo M. Tavares’s “A Man: Klaus Klump”

Gonçalo M. Tavares (Does the M stand for Man? Maniac? Master? Certainly not anything as common as Manuel . . .) is a writer that trades in oppositions. And business is good.


Antonio Ungar’s “The Ears of the Wolf”

It is this instability, this dance between beauty and horror, fear and elation, and this delicate navigation of power, which can turn one into the other, that animates Antonio Ungar’s singular, captivating novel.


Andrei Bitov’s “The Symmetry Teacher”

Andrei Bitov describes his book "The Symmetry Teacher" as a “novel-echo,” a palimpsest of a text which, as he explains in his preface, is his Russian “translation” of an obscure and untraceable English novel by a writer called A. Tired-Boffin.


Dorothy Tse’s “Snow and Shadow”

Dorothy Tse’s third book, "Snow and Shadow," is a collection of surreal stories set in a fantastical version of Hong Kong.


Guadalupe Nettel’s “Natural Histories”

In each of her five short stories, Nettel places humans under the microscope and examines them at their most fragile and desperate.


Vladimir Pozner’s “The Disunited States”

The result is a frenetic portrait of the United States that he assembles bit by bit, fragment by fragment.


Gunnar Harding’s “Guarding the Air”

Steeped in broad cross-cultural influences from traditional jazz to Guillaume Apollinaire, Harding masterfully crafts vision and music into free verse.


Bohumil Hrabal’s “Harlequin’s Millions” and Jáchym Topol’s “Nightwork”

With the English publication this month of Bohumil Hrabal’s "Harlequin’s Millions" and Jáchym Topol’s "Nightwork," it’s Vánoce (“Christmas”) for fans of Czech literature.


Juan José Saer’s “La Grande”

The author’s urgency to finish "La Grande" is palpable in the anxious prose.


Andres Neuman’s “Talking to Ourselves”

"Talking to Ourselves" considers our defenses against loss—it sees language and its arguable opposite, sex, as both weapons against and records of the inevitable.


Wilma Stockenström’s “The Expedition to the Baobab Tree”

The story unsettles from the outset, as we are immediately plunged into the protagonist’s turbulent inner world.


Jonas Bengtsson’s “A Fairy Tale”

A Fairy Tale starts with a young boy, his father, and the political assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme.


Xu Zechen’s “Running through Beijing”

To the average Westerner, reared on crisp autumn breezes and revitalizing spring air, Beijing’s tianqi, its weather, is a surreal departure.


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