Book Reviews

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.

Hassan Blasim’s “The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq”

Hassan Blasim's Iraq is a debased and deadly place

Rodolfo Walsh’s “Operation Massacre”

Walsh was sitting in a café when a man approached him and said cryptically: “One of the executed men is alive.”

Mikhail Shishkin’s “The Light and the Dark”

Shiskin pushes us to the realization that we are part of the book that we are reading, and that the book we are reading is part of us.

Julia Franck’s “Back to Back”

Franck’s story is engrossing—immediately, completely.

Albert Cossery’s “Laziness in the Fertile Valley”

In a musty, cavernous house, three brothers, their father, and uncle sleep through day and night. The men can scarcely eat without falling back to sleep. The sunlight insults their eyes and even the softest of sounds, such as “a noise of dishes . . . [lays] itself upon the motionless air, more »

Guillermo Rosales’s “Leapfrog & Other Stories”

"Leapfrog & Other Stories" is the last of what’s left of the Cuban writer Guillermo Rosales.

Robert Walser’s “A Schoolboy’s Diary”

There is an inevitable period of adjustment when reading the work of Robert Walser.

Mircea Cărtărescu’s “Blinding”

Together, these texts form an ecstatic and elegiac epic, in which the reader travels across the body of a butterfly (literally and figuratively), from the begining to the end of time.

Sergio Chejfec’s “The Dark”

At his best, the Argentine Sergio Chejfec carries the torch of the great ambulatory writers, from De Quincy to Sebald.

João Almino’s “Free City”

"Free City" is a novel about a literary sort of redemption

Elisa Ruotolo’s “I Stole the Rain”

With the deceptive kick of an apertivo that slides down like water but is 80 proof, the three stories in "I Stole The Rain" promptly engaged my attention.

Mario Bellatin’s “Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction”

Games are always a serious matter when they are played by the Mexican writer Mario Bellatin.

Yu Xiang’s “I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust”

Yu Xiang’s poems are the poetic equivalent of shoegazer rock.

Vsevolod Nekrasov’s “I Live I See”

Repetitions were important to Nekrasov: to him monotony could also unlock multiplicity.

Ádám Bodor’s “The Sinistra Zone”

"The Sinistra Zone" is neither an easy nor an enjoyable read. It is, however, an interesting one

Milo De Angelis’s “Theme of Farewell and After-Poems”

In his latest work the poet sets a different task for himself; he writes as if to battle against the failure of words

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