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Book Reviews

September 2011

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.

March 2011

Kotaro Isaka’s “Remote Control

Reviewed by George Fragopoulos

But for Isaka and his protagonists there is no way home, and no escape from this world and its global order.

Andrzej Sosnowski’s “Lodgings”

Reviewed by E.C. Belli

When asked how he responds to the weight of certain preconceptions about Polish poetry, Sosnowksi´s answer is simple: “I’m not sure that I do.”

The Selected Stories of Mercè Rodoreda

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

Rodoreda’s characters struggle with the crushing realities of life—airless marriages, the shrinking of dreams and horizons brought on by war and poverty, illness and grief, separations and departures.

Dezsö Kosztolányi’s “Kornel Esti: A Novel”

Reviewed by Jean Harris

Esti is not a classic, Gothic doppelganger, not Jekyll to the narrator's Hyde, but more of a magician who can seem to lift a house by playing a magic flute.

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