Tag Archives: Fiction

Baroni: A Journey

Figures from the Mountains: “Baroni: A Journey” by Sergio Chejfec, translated from Spanish by Margaret Carson

Reviewed by Peter Hegarty Baroni: A Journey (2017) concerns Venezuela, where Argentinian writer Sergio Chejfec lived from 1990 to 2005 and where he published Nueva Sociedad, a journal of politics, culture and the social sciences. Gathered in the book, published after he left Venezuela, are his memories of the country, the people and landscapes he […]

Fosse-Boathouse

“Write, Don’t Think”: Jon Fosse’s Boathouse, translated by May-Brit Akerholt

Reviewed by David Smith In the late 1980s, around the time he wrote Boathouse, Jon Fosse was a teacher at the Creative Writing Academy in Bergen, Norway. (One of his students was a nineteen-year-old Karl Ove Knausgaard, as related in book 5 of My Struggle.) “When I was a teacher,” Fosse has said, “I would […]

Antonio Moresco-Distant Light

Crossing Over and Beyond: Distant Light by Antonio Moresco Translated by Richard Dixon

Reviewed by Stiliana Milkova “I have come here to disappear, in this desolate and abandoned village where I’m the sole inhabitant” reads the enigmatic opening line of Antonio Moresco’s novel Distant Light, translated from the Italian by Richard Dixon. Distant Light is a beguiling tale narrated by a man who lives alone in the mountains […]

Vesaas-The Birds

The Stunted Spruce: Tarjei Vesaas’s The Birds, translated by Michael Barnes and Torbjørn Støverud

Reviewed by David Smith Decades after his passing, the prominence of Tarjei Vesaas in Norwegian letters is difficult to overstate. As Dag Solstad puts it, “There are few readers who do not count at least one book by Tarjei Vesaas as one of their truly great reading experiences.”[i] In the English-speaking world, however, Vesaas has […]

Spomenka Štimec- Croatian War Nocturnal

Writing about war in the language of peace: Croatian War Nocturnal by Spomenka Štimec, translated by Sebastian Schulman

Reviewed by Ellen Cassedy To read Spomenka Štimec’s compelling new work of autobiographical fiction, Croatian War Nocturnal, is to be struck by multiple ironies. First, it’s heartbreaking that this gripping account of the everyday traumas of war has been written in, of all languages, Esperanto – the language invented to promote world peace. And second, […]

Eshkol Nevo-Three Floors Up

I WAS HOPING YOU’D TELL ME WHO I AM: ESHKOL NEVO’S THREE FLOORS UP TRANSLATED BY SONDRA SILVERSTON

Reviewed by Marcela Sulak The title of Eshkol Nevo’s most recent book, Three Floors Up, refers to Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious, which Freud likened to three floors of a mansion: the id, the ego, and the superego. The three protagonists of the three-part novel, each of whom lives on a different floor of […]

Pioneers-S. An-Sky

Glossing a Vanished World: S. An-sky’s Pioneers, Translated by Rose Waldman

Reviewed by Ellen Cassedy On a dark afternoon in the late 19th century, a lurching vehicle rounds the bend into a small Eastern European town: “A large, ungainly coach, a sort of Noah’s ark stuffed with passengers, lumbered slowly and with difficulty down the wide, muddy roads of the town of Miloslavka” (23). Out of […]

August-Romina Paula

Scattered Ashes: August by Romina Paula, translated by Jennifer Croft

Reviewed by Peter Hegarty In southern Argentina, where Paula sets most of the novel, August is bright and cold, and colder still in Esquel, the Andean mountain town to which the protagonist, Emilia, returns for the scattering of the ashes of her best friend, Andrea. The novel takes the form of an extended letter to […]

Agnes-Peter Stamm

SMOTHERED BY A STORY: PETER STAMM’S AGNES, TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL HOFMANN

Reviewed by Daniel Kennedy Although Agnes is the sixth of Peter Stamm’s books to be published in the US by Other Press in Michael Hofmann’s translation, it is in fact his debut novel. With this slim volume, first published in 1998, Peter Stamm established himself as one of the most promising Swiss writers of his […]

Dream Brothers: Two New Novels from QC Fiction

Brothers by David Clerson, translated by Katia Grubisic, and Listening for Jupiter by Pierre-Luc Landry, translated by Arielle Aaronson and Madeleine Stratford Reviewed by Alex Andriesse American readers can be counted on to name at least three or four Canadian writers: Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, and Michael Ondaatje come immediately to mind. Munro is from […]

Atilgan-Motherland Hotel

Suspended Existence: Yusuf Atilgan’s Motherland Hotel, Translated by Fred Stark

Reviewed by Amanda Sarasien Zeberjet Kechiji is lonely. As manager of Motherland Hotel, an ancient, familial manor cum lodging house, remote in both time and place, he meticulously records the name of every guest in the hotel register but remains distant, outside, glimpsing an entire life as if through a keyhole. And there is one […]

Tawada-Memoirs of a Polar Bear

Narration Between Species: Yoko Tawada’s Memoirs of a Polar Bear, Translated by Susan Bernofsky

Reviewed by Jordan A. Y. Smith [Tawada’s Memoirs of a Polar is one of those novels that makes one loathe to reveal not only the ending but the beginning, so I will open with my clichéd but earnest recommendation that you trust me—and Tawada’s stellar and well-earned reputation—go read the novel, then continue reading this […]

Land of Love and Ruins-Oddný Eir

Intimate Wanderings: Oddný Eir’s Land of Love and Ruins, Translated by Philip Roughton

Reviewed by Christiana Hills Before traveling to a foreign place, we go into it thinking we have some idea of what the experience will be like. But it always turns out differently, and when we return home and our friends and family ask us how the trip went, this disconnection between our expectations and the […]

The Queue-Basma Abdel Aziz

Within the Lines: Basma Abdel Aziz’s The Queue, Translated by Elisabeth Jaquette

Reviewed by Andrea Shah Basma Abdel Aziz’s début novel, The Queue, was written in the span of two fevered months, after the author came upon a line of people waiting outside a closed government office in her native Egypt: “The gate to the building would certainly open shortly, I thought to myself; after all, it […]

Jodorowsky-Albina and the Dog-Men

Magic Formula: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Albina and the Dog-Men, Translated by Alfred MacAdam

Reviewed by Jenny Buckland Alejandro Jodorowsky’s latest novel Albina and the Dog-Men is a sensual, surreal romp through the magical landscapes of Peru and the author’s native Chile. Employing a motley cast of absurd, technicolor and often overtly symbolic characters, Jodorowsky administers an exuberant dose of allegorical organized chaos in order to reveal truths about […]