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Book Reviews

March 2011

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.

February 2011

Margarita Karapanou’s “The Sleepwalker”

Reviewed by Valentina Zanca

Part dystopia part satire, this surreal tale of lost souls, and a dethroned deity, is not so much a murder mystery as it is a murderer's mystery

Belen Gopegui’s “The Scale of Maps”

Reviewed by Mythili G. Rao

“Trembling” is how protagonist Sergio Prim first appears to the reader. “His hands fluttered like a bashful magician’s,” the Spaniard Belen Gopegui writes of her fictional creation.

Nathacha Appanah’s “The Last Brother”

Reviewed by Anderson Tepper

The Last Brother, by young French-Mauritian author Nathacha Appanah, is a quiet, lyrical coming-of-age novel set against one of the least-known chapters of World War II

January 2011

Jenny Erpenbeck’s “Visitation”

Reviewed by Fran Bigman

Like the storied estates of Brideshead and Manderley, the house in Jenny Erpenbeck’s unsettling, inventive novel Visitation has a hold on everyone who passes through it.

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.

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