Tag Archives: literary reviews
Anyone who is interested in Kafka—which is to say pretty much everyone who is interested in literature—will be curious to read the “lost writings” of a man who famously, at the time of his death, wanted all of his unpublished work destroyed.
By Alex Andriesse It’s not always clear what is happening in Hiroko Oyamada’s The Hole, but by the time the reader notices how little he understands, he is too immersed in the novel to put it down. Obviously, I am speaking in the third person about my own experience, but I doubt that this experience […]
On the Scale of Conflict, its Crimes and Traumas: Adania Shibili’s Minor Detail, Translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette
By Sheera Talpaz “Try to remember some details,” implores the speaker of one of Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai’s well-known poems (Amichai, 318). In translation, it’s impossible to tell that the original Hebrew recalls the Passover Haggadah’s Rabbi Yehuda (naturally), who proffered a mnemonic for the ten plagues, brutal punishments that God memorably rained down on […]
A Life of Ruptures: Frédéric Pajak’s “Uncertain Manifesto,” Translated from French by Donald Nicholson-Smith
A novel that traverses generic as well as geographic and historical boundaries, Uncertain Manifesto switches, from chapter to chapter, between autobiography, essay, illustrated novel, history, literary analysis and fable-like fiction.
By Kelsi Vanada Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is, for me, a prime example of a book with a child narrator that’s often included in literature curricula for middle schoolers, but which in many ways speaks to an adult audience. I taught at a small K-8 school for a few years right out of […]
Foreign Bodies: Margarita García Robayo’s “Holiday Heart,” translated from Spanish by Charlotte Coombe
The uncomfortable, ailing human body is foregrounded in this thematically dense novel, a fable about problematic motherhood and the hard labor of forging epistemological change in the 21st century.
Mediterranean Crossings: Nadia Terranova’s “Farewell, Ghosts,” Translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein
A childhood home is an archive and a map. Nadia Terranova’s novel Farewell, Ghosts, in Ann Goldstein’s translation, summons the power of the house in order to dissect the relationship between self and space, memory and reality.
Voices Without Borders: Laura Imai Messina’s “The Phone Box at the Edge of the World,” Translated from Italian by Lucy Rand
By Claudia Dellacasa Ema are decorated votive wooden plaques left hanging up in Japanese shrines. At a distance, they all look the same. But if one is able to read what is written on them, one can take a glimpse of a fascinating number of stories, destinies, wishes, and hopes which emerge from an ostensible […]
On Sex and Death: Vicente Huidobro’s “Skyquake: Tremor of Heaven,” co-translated from Spanish by Ignacio Infante and Michael Leong
Composed as twin originals in Spanish and French between 1928 and 1931, this roving long prose poem witnesses the perpetual, agonized yearning of separated lovers seeking one another across eternity and infinity, where they collide—gloriously—on occasion, before scattering through the universe once again.
Finding Power, Losing Love: Graciliano Ramos’ “São Bernardo,” translated from Portuguese by Padma Viswanathan
Padma Viswanathan allows readers to recognize anew the importance of community in such a precarious moment with her translation of Graciliano Ramos’ rustic satire, São Bernardo.