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Book Reviews

June 2014

Gunnar Harding’s “Guarding the Air”

Reviewed by Christie Roe

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”

Reviewed by Mike Baugh

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”

Reviewed by Eric M. B. Becker

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

May 2014

Andres Neuman’s “Talking to Ourselves”

Reviewed by Anne Posten

"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”

Reviewed by Michelle Kyoko Crowson

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

Jonas Bengtsson’s “A Fairy Tale”

Reviewed by Alexa Weiko

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

April 2014

Xu Zechen’s “Running through Beijing”

Reviewed by Andrew Rose

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”

Reviewed by Kate Prengel

Hassan Blasim's Iraq is a debased and deadly place

March 2014

Rodolfo Walsh’s “Operation Massacre”

Reviewed by Sara Rafsky

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”

Reviewed by Carla Baricz

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.

February 2014

Julia Franck’s “Back to Back”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

Franck’s story is engrossing—immediately, completely.

December 2013

November 2013

Guillermo Rosales’s “Leapfrog & Other Stories”

Reviewed by Elisa Wouk Almino

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

Robert Walser’s “A Schoolboy’s Diary”

Reviewed by George Fragopoulos

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

Mircea Cărtărescu’s “Blinding”

Reviewed by Carla Baricz

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”

Reviewed by David Varno

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

October 2013

João Almino’s “Free City”

Reviewed by Ksenija Bilbija

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

Elisa Ruotolo’s “I Stole the Rain”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

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.

September 2013

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

Reviewed by Heather Cleary

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

August 2013

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

Reviewed by Naomi Long Eagleson

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

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