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Book Reviews

January 2011

Atiq Rahimi’s “A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear”

Reviewed by Shaun Randol

To traverse the fractured mind of Farhad, the protagonist and narrator of Atiq Rahimi’s latest novel, is to glimpse the broken soul of a battered and confused country.

December 2010

Mathias Énard’s “Zone”

Reviewed by Nina Herzog

The novel is billed as a modern-day Iliad and has the same number of chapters as the Iliad has books.

Manoel de Barros’s “Birds for a Demolition”

Reviewed by E.C. Belli

Barros's poems are all at once small bestiaries and collections of aphorisms

Aharon Shabtai’s “War & Love, Love & War”

Reviewed by Fiona Sze-Lorrain

Aharon Shabtai’s new poetry collection War & Love, Love & War is, as its title suggests, a book full of reversals and inversions.

November 2010

Tristan Garcia’s “Hate: A Romance”

Reviewed by Adam Eaglin

Elizabeth believes in pills, has been called “pretty” enough to believe it, is a self-professed bitch, and has terrible taste in men.

Ranko Marinkovic’s “Cyclops”

Reviewed by Valentina Zanca

October 2010

Orly Castel-Bloom’s “Dolly City”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

Mahmoud Darwish’s “Journal of an Ordinary Grief”

Reviewed by André Naffis-Sahely

Every artist, particularly if they happen to be a good one, is in a sense posthumous

Buddhadeva Bose’s “My Kind of Girl”

Reviewed by Tommy Wallach

A brief encounter with a young couple in love inspires the men to pass the time by telling stories of love from their own lives.

September 2010

Jerzy Pilch’s “A Thousand Peaceful Cities”

Reviewed by Valentina Zanca

The acclaimed satirist and newspaper columnist Jerzy Pilch once again weaves fact and fiction in a memorable absurdist tale of flawed political resistance.

Ingrid Winterbach’s “To Hell with Cronje”

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

If two books can be said to constitute a trend (or even the whiff of a trend) then we might just be in the midst of something of an Afrikaans literary boom.

Mela Hartwig’s “Am I a Redundant Human Being?”

Reviewed by Daniela Hurezanu

It is as if the narrator takes her own self, puts it under a microscope and probes it without flinching.

Laurence Cossé‘s “A Novel Bookstore”

Reviewed by Emma Hamilton

A new bookstore opens in Paris and stirs up a culture war.

August 2010

Camilla Ceder’s “Frozen Moment”

Reviewed by Samantha Schnee

On a bleak winter day in 2006 a body is found, shot execution-style and crushed by a car.

Taslima Nasrin’s “Revenge”

Reviewed by Shaun Randol

A stalwart advocate for freedom of speech, Taslima Nasrin is an exiled political and artistic refugee who has had her share of literary revenge.

Per Petterson’s “I Curse the River of Time”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

Newly diagnosed with stomach cancer, Arvid’s mother has left Norway for her hometown in Denmark, and Arvid, burdened with a host of ailments of his own, has followed her, his intentions unclear

Jean-Christophe Valtat’s “03”

Reviewed by Emma Garman

A lyric from The Smiths sums up the narrator’s attitude toward feelings: “And if the day came when I felt a natural emotion/ I’d get such a shock I’d probably lie/ in the middle of the street and die”

July 2010

Mauricio Segura’s “Black Alley”

Reviewed by Swetha Regunathan

Good things rarely happen in alleys. They are the sites of illicit exchange—of violence and unsavory trafficking.

Alejandro Zambra’s “The Private Lives of Trees”

Reviewed by Jessica Loudis

In 2007’s The Private Lives of Trees, Zambra returns to the intersection of art, life and the botanical

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