Tag Archives: literary reviews
“There’s No Place Left on Earth That’s Peaceful”: Zülfü Livaneli’s “Disquiet,” translated from Turkish by Brendan Freely
Livaneli is a household name in Turkey and an outstanding figure in the cultural and political life of his native country. A writer, poet, composer, producer, film director, and political activist, Livaneli was named a Goodwill Ambassador by UNESCO in 1996 for his contributions to world peace through music and literature.
Released into Captivity: Matéi Visniec’s “Mr K Released,” Translated from Romanian by Jozefina Komporaly
Part parable of human fallibility, part allegorical critique of political systems at which we fail and which fail us, Mr. K Released draws on the chaotic transition from totalitarianism to democracy that Romania, Matei Visniec’s homeland, and other former Eastern Bloc countries, experienced after the collapse of communism in the late 1980s.
Where the Neighborhood Ends: Marija Knežević’s “Breathing Technique,” Translated from the Serbian by Sibelan Forrester
By Russell Scott Valentino Marija Knežević is a prolific Serbian author based in Belgrade who has published some ten books of poetry since approximately 1994. She is also the author of several collections of short stories and essays, and the novels Auto (2017) and Ekaterini (2005), the latter translated by Will Firth into English and […]
By Melanie Broder Forty-seven women were murdered in Argentina in the first two months of 2021, according to a report by Telám, the national news agency. That’s one femicide every 30 hours. An article by Reuters put the figure at 12 women per day across Latin America. While Latin America has the highest rates worldwide, […]
nstead of by century or by literary movement, writers of fiction might be classified by times of day or slants of light. Tolstoy would fall under the clarity of high noon, Dostoievski the hysteria of three a.m. Natalia Ginzburg’s pervasive wit and minute details would suggest a morning sensibility, while her repetitions and obsessiveness feel nocturnal. In the end, though, she is crepuscular, like Chekhov.
We are stuck in a loop of “reintroducing Natalia Ginzburg.” The current iteration of that loop depends on publishers’ marketing of Ginzburg as a precursor to Elena Ferrante. However, this genealogy arises out of a necessity to sell books; Ginzburg’s relation to her peers—Cesar Pavese, Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino—has far more relevance than the specter of her impact on Ferrante.
By Neal Baker Solo Viola is a work of fiction whose fantasy begins on the front cover. The name Antoine Volodine, supposedly identifying the novel’s author, is in fact an introduction to one of many characters populating the literary world of Volodine’s peculiar brand of science fiction he himself termed “post-exoticism.” Volodine is the primary […]
Selfhood and Narration: Goliarda Sapienza’s “Meeting In Positano,” Translated from Italian by Brian Robert Moore
By Maria Morelli Written in 1984, Meeting in Positano marks the last volume of Goliarda Sapienza’s Autobiography of Contradictions (as she herself labelled her unorthodox autobiographical project) which began in 1967 with Lettera Aperta (Open Letter) and which her premature demise brought to an abrupt end. Departing from the narratological approach that had marked the […]
A Lesson in Resilience: Selva Casal’s “We Do Not Live in Vain,” Translated from Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas
By Gabriella Martin When we read a book—the particular, personal or historical context in which we carry out our reading—holds the power to shape the lens through which we do so. At present, we are reading in the midst of what for many has felt like a wasted year, burdened by missed opportunities, delayed gratification, […]
By Eva Dunsky You wouldn’t want to be clocked by the narrator of Eva Baltasar’s Permafrost. She has an effortless way of sussing out the thing that will devastate you most and then stating it as a pithy one-liner. “Being the bearer of important news: the only climax Mom has ever known” (50). This, after […]
By Katherine E. Young Talasbek Asemkulov’s A Life at Noon, translated into English by Shelley Fairweather-Vega, is an artistically risky enterprise. Billed as the first post-Soviet novel from Kazakhstan to appear in English, A Life at Noon is a lightly fictionalized autobiography of one of Kazakhstan’s leading artists. Author Talasbek Asemkulov (1955-2014) was known as […]
Zero Is a Lens to See: Karla Suárez’s “Havana Year Zero,” translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
By Dorothy Potter Snyder I have learned that the lines we draw to contain the infinite end up excluding more than they enfold. I have learned that most things in life are better and more beautiful not linear but fractal. Love especially. – Maria Popova What’s the sum total of anything – food, gasoline, hope, or […]
“Remember me, whispers the dust”: Peter Huchel’s “These Numbered Days,” translated from German by Martyn Crucefix
By Rebecca DeWald It’s been a peculiar experience to discover the German poet Peter Huchel (1903-1981) in this lockdown year, when we were all forced to stay indoors and grapple with the loss of our social lives, while paying closer attention to the details and routines of our everyday lives. For some, this experience may […]