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Book Reviews

November 2011

Zoran Drvenkar’s “Sorry”

Reviewed by Nina Herzog

Rare is the thriller that surpasses the limits of genre fiction. But Zoran Drvenkar’s Sorry is one such book: a thriller on its face, but also a thoughtful study in guilt and innocence, violence and redemption.

October 2011

Meir Shalev’s “My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

Happily for psychological posterity and for us, Tonia Ben-Barak and her never-ending battle against grime have been commemorated by her grandson

Juan Pablo Villalobos’s “Down the Rabbit Hole”

Reviewed by Thomas Bunstead

"Down the Rabbit Hole" is told from the point of view not of a gangster, a cop or a prostitute, but that of a young child.

September 2011

Eduardo Chirinos’s “Reasons for Writing Poetry”

Reviewed by E.C. Belli

At the heart of "Reasons for Writing Poetry," there is a figure: ostensibly, it’s all zebra from the waist down, but from there up, the Okapi, as it’s called, looks like a giraffe

Raymond Roussel’s “Impressions of Africa”

Reviewed by Stefanie Sobelle

Imagine an extravagant pageant during which a marksman shoots off the top of a soft-boiled egg

Sergio Chejfec’s “My Two Worlds”

Reviewed by Jennifer Croft

Technology, for one, has begun to batter life’s perfect syntax

August 2011

Quim Monzó‘s “Guadalajara”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

Monzó is a master of the open-ended conclusion; his characters are often left hovering either on the brink of breakthrough, or of a perfect replay of their previous errors

Lars Kepler’s “The Hypnotist”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

Laszlo Krasznahorkai and Max Neumann’s “Animalinside”

Reviewed by Jean Harris

"Animalinside" is a cultural event in itself.

July 2011

Antonio Lobo Antunes’s “The Land at the End of the World

Reviewed by Adam Eaglin

There’s a feral quality to this particular novel’s narration, with sentences that furiously push forward for entire paragraphs.

June 2011

Shigeru Mizuki’s “Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths”

Reviewed by Deji Olukotun

"Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths" fictionalizes the real-life experiences of the author while he was stationed on the Pacific island of New Britain

Carlos Franz’s “The Absent Sea”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

After twenty years of self-imposed exile, Laura has returned for a reckoning of her own.

Enrique Vila-Matas’s “Never Any End to Paris”

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

“Am I a lecture or a novel?” the narrator asks himself

May 2011

Mihail Sebastian’s “The Accident”

Reviewed by Oana Sanziana Marian

Eerily prophetic in its title, "The Accident" was the last work Sebastian published under his own name

David Albahari’s “Leeches”

Reviewed by Nina Herzog

As one clue unravels into another, flirtations with chaos and order form the backdrop for a reflection on post-war Serbia and anti-Semitism.

Georges Perec’s “The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise

Reviewed by Laird Hunt

The English-language Perec enjoys a certain sartorial charm—an ink-and-paper analog of the author’s legendary formal brio.

Ludvik Vaculik’s “The Guinea Pigs”

Reviewed by Shaun Randol

Ludvík Vaculík’s novel The Guinea Pigs is charming and unsettling at the same time.

Marcelo Figueras’s “Kamchatka”

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

Figueras chooses to capture the drumbeat of history in the small, offbeat details of a boy’s life.

April 2011

Darina Al-Joundi and Mohammed Kacimi’s “The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing

Reviewed by Emma Garman

All the more startling, then, to read "The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing," a sizzling, beautiful, and maddening memoir

Modern Poetry of Pakistan

Reviewed by Swetha Regunathan

For a country often drawn in newspapers as the backdrop of mosque and market bombings, troubled politics, and underdevelopment, poetry seems to waft through every aspect of Pakistani life.

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