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Book Reviews

March 2015

Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s “Dirty Dust”

Reviewed by Darragh Mcnicholas

Talk is not only the “principal character in this book,” as Titley writes in his translator’s note, it is the book.

Alejandro Zambra’s “My Documents”

Reviewed by Megha Majumdar

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

February 2015

Fuminori Nakamura’s “Last Winter, We Parted”

Reviewed by Ethan Alexander Perets

Lee Si-young’s “Patterns”

Reviewed by John W. W. Zeiser

The language is often serene, and bound to nature.

January 2015

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

Reviewed by Emma Garman

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”

Reviewed by Daniel Goldman

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”

Reviewed by Anne Posten

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”

Reviewed by Amanda Calderon

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

December 2014

Tove Jansson’s “The Woman Who Borrowed Memories”

Reviewed by Kate Prengel

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”

Reviewed by Megha Majumdar

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

Sakutarō Hagiwara’s “Cat Town”

Reviewed by John W. W. Zeiser

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

November 2014

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

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

Where are all the young Brazilian writers?

Joseph Roth’s “The Hundred Days”

Reviewed by Abby Margulies

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

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

Reviewed by Emma Garman

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

October 2014

Antal Szerb’s “Journey by Moonlight”

Reviewed by Carla Baricz

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

Venedikt Erofeev’s “Walpurgis Night”

Reviewed by Ethan Alexander Perets

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

David Albahari’s “Globetrotter”

Reviewed by Daniel Goldman

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”

Reviewed by Christopher Shannon

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

September 2014

Edgard Telles Ribeiro’s “His Own Man”

Reviewed by Julian Murphy

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

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