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Words Without Borders “stands as a monument to international collaboration and a shared belief in artistic possibility.” 
— 2018 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize Citation

Book Reviews

October 2014

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.

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

Reviewed by Amanda Calderon

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

August 2014

Alessandro Baricco’s “Mr. Gwyn

Reviewed by Jennifer Florin

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”

Reviewed by Ethan Alexander Perets

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”

Reviewed by Anne Posten

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.

July 2014

Andrei Bitov’s “The Symmetry Teacher”

Reviewed by Lucy Renner Jones

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”

Reviewed by Camila M. Santos

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”

Reviewed by Kristina Fazzalaro

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”

Reviewed by Scott Borchert

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

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.

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