A Note on Özlem Özgül Dündar

Dündar, Özlem Özgül (2018), Gedanken Zerren, Elif Verlag ISBN 978-3-946989-07-3 After a review of Anna Stern, who will read at this year’s Bachmannpreis, I want to turn to another very intriguing writer, similarly young, also slated to perform in Klagenfurt … Continue reading

Two novels by Anna Stern

Stern, Anna (2014), Schneestill, Salis ISBN 978-3-906195-17-9 Stern, Anna (2016), Der Gutachter, Salis ISBN 9783906195438 This coming Thursday, the Bachmannpreis will begin again and I will, again, follow along, glued to the TV screen. Excitement, excitement, excitement. I will write … Continue reading

Sasha Marianna Salzmann: Ausser Sich

Salzmann, Sasha Marianna (2017), Ausser Sich, Suhrkamp ISBN 978-3-518-42762-0 This was not, strictly speaking, the next review I wanted to write, but after I finished it this morning I was so impressed, so genuinely stunned by this book that I … Continue reading

Barbi Marković: Superheldinnen

Marković, Barbi (2016), Superheldinnen, Residenz ISBN 978-3-7ß17-1662-3 I’ve discussed this issue before: how do you define a German novel? Some of the most interesting books published in the German-speaking countries recently have complicated this question beyond the usual distinction between … Continue reading

Samanta Schweblin: Fever Dream

Schweblin, Samanta (2017), Fever Dream, Oneworld [Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell] ISBN 978-1-78607-090-6 There is only one other book I know that is like this: it’s Lessing’s The Fifth Child. And it’s not just the nightmare depiction of parenthood … Continue reading

Juan Pablo Villalobos: Down the Rabbit Hole

Villalobos, Juan Pablo (2010), Down The Rabbit Hole, And Other Stories [Translated from Spanish by Rosalind Harvey] ISBN 978-1-908276-00-1 I was emailed an article two days ago about someone or other who was decapitated by the MS-13 gang in Mississippi … Continue reading

Wioletta Greg: Swallowing Mercury

Greg, Wioletta, Swallowing Mercury, Portobello ISBN 978-1-84627-607-1 [Translated from the Polish by Eliza Marciniak] Look, it’s not that I regretted reading this book; it was, after all, fairly short. On the other hand, I’m not particularly elated about the fact … Continue reading

Jacques Chessex: A Jew Must Die

Chessex, Jacques (2009), Un Juif Pour L’exemple, Grasset ISBN 09782253129615-4 [English edition: Chessex, Jacques, A Jew Must Die, Bitter Lemon Press ISBN 9781904738510 translated by W. Donald Wilson] I’ve long meant to write something about the Swiss novelist and poet … Continue reading

Marjorie Liu et al.: Monstress

Liu, Marjorie and Sana Takeda (2016), Monstress, Vol. 1, Image Comics ISBN 978-1632157096 Gibson, Claire, Sloane Leong and Marian Churchland (2016), From Under Mountains, Vol. 1, Image Comics ISBN 978-1632159441 Marjorie Liu is slowly but surely growing into one of … Continue reading

Margaret Atwood et al.: Angel Catbird

Atwood, Margaret; Johnnie Christmas, Tamra Bonvillain (2016), Angel Catbird, Dark Horse ISBN 978-1-50670-063-2 I wrote the first sentence of this review before reading the book. Angel Catbird arrived here this afternoon, and I immediately noted down this sentence: “This is … Continue reading

Ellen Forney: Marbles – Mania, Depression, Michelangelo + Me

Forney, Ellen (2012), Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo + Me, Robinson ISBN 978-1-4721-0689-6 You know how when you feel a bit unwell and you go on WebMD and suddenly, you feel as though you were dying of a terminal illness because … Continue reading

Line Hoven: Love Looks Away

Hoven, Line (2008), Liebe schaut weg, Reprodukt ISBN 978-3-938511-66-4 [Translated into English as Love Looks Away (2014) Blank Slate Books ISBN: 978-1-906653-18-7] The great medievalist Jacques Le Goff, in discussing memory, posits that what we call memory is really an … Continue reading

Fouad Laroui: The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers

Laroui, Fouad (2016), The Curious Case of Dassoukine’s Trousers, Deep Vellum Translated from the French by Emma Ramadan ISBN 978-1-941920-26-8 Maybe the particular quality of Fouad Laroui’s humorous fiction is best described with a phrase from his 2010 novel Une … Continue reading

Sharon Dodua Otoo: Synchronicity

Otoo, Sharon Dodua (2015), Synchronicity, Edition Assemblage With Illustrations by Sita Ngoumou ISBN 978-3-942885-95-9 Otoo, Sharon Dodua (2012), The Things I am Thinking While Smiling Politely, Edition Assemblage ISBN 978-3-942885-22-5 Is this German literature? Sharon Otoo is not a German … Continue reading

Yvonne Vera: Butterfly Burning

Vera, Yvonne (2000), Butterfly Burning, Farrar, Straus and Giroux ISBN 0-374-29186-1 So here is another example of me being awfully badly read. The late Yvonne Vera was a leading/important novelist from Zimbabwe, winner of multiple literary awards. And this is … Continue reading

Takashi Hiraide: The Guest Cat

Hiraide, Takashi (2014), The Guest Cat, Picador [Translated by Eric Selland] ISBN 978-1-4472-7940-2 For my birthday a year and a half ago, my sister brought me a cat, as, I suspect, a therapy animal/companion. I love cats, and my sister … Continue reading

Glyn Dillon: The Nao of Brown

Dillon, Glyn (2012), The Nao of Brown, Selfmadehero ISBN 978-1-906838-42-3 So this is some odd coincidence. Fresh on the heels of reviewing a book that is artfully crafted but does not, ultimately, feel like a success, I have just read … Continue reading

David Ebershoff: The Danish Girl

Ebershoff, David (2000), The Danish Girl, Penguin ISBN 9-780143-108399 Usually, the advantage of a novel dealing with a real life character vis-à-vis a nonfiction work, say a biography or a historical study, is the ability to gain vividness, color, excitement. … Continue reading

Valeria Luiselli: Faces in the Crowd

Luiselli, Valeria (2011), Faces in the Crowd, Granta [Translated from the Spanish by Christine MacSweeney] ISBN 978-1-84708-507-8 It’s entirely accidental that my last review of 2015 and my first review of 2016 are both of novels by Mexican authors. Both … Continue reading

Young-Ha Kim: I have the right to destroy myself

Young-Ha Kim (2007), I have the right to destroy myself, Harcourt [Translated by Chi-Young Kim] ISBN 978-0-15-603080-9 So, as you’ll notice in this review, I am so extremely under-read in Korean literature that all my frames of reference for this … Continue reading

Max Porter: Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Porter, Max (2015), Grief is the thing with feathers, Faber and Faber ISBN 978-0-571-32376-0 When you don’t have a lot of time to read for entertainment, you can get the impression that you can’t really be surprised anymore. At least … Continue reading

Nobel Prize 2015: My picks.

So originally I planned on mostly just reposting my old 2014 picks (because I, uh, picked wrong, as always), but I did end up modifying them. I mean, look, I have become very impatient with the insistence of the Academy to … Continue reading

Maryse Condé: En Attendant La Montée Des Eaux

Condé, Maryse (2010), En Attendant La Montée Des Eaux, JCLattès ISBN 978-2-7096-3321-5 So, this feels a bit odd. En Attendant La Montée Des Eaux is the first novel I have read by Maryse Condé. Condé is, incidentally, nominated for the … Continue reading

Leonardo Sciascia: To Each His Own

Sciascia, Leonardo (2000, 1966), To Each His Own, NYRB [Translated from the Italian by Adrienne Foulke] ISBN 978-0-940322-52-3 How is this for coincidence. After finishing To Each His Own, the first and (so far) only novel by the famous Italian … Continue reading

John Scalzi: Lock In

Scalzi, John (2014), Lock In, Tor ISBN 978-0-7653-8132-3 [A note: this review has somehow turned out very digressive, so here’s a quick tl,dr summary of my opinion: Lock In is an intelligent, fun, exciting science fiction novel built around a … Continue reading

Kerascoët & Vehlmann: Beautiful Darkness

Kerascoët and Vehlmann, Fabien (2009), Jolies Ténèbres, Dupuis ISBN 978-2-8001-4238-8 [English translation: Kerascoët and Vehlmann, Fabien (2014), Beautiful Darkness, Drawn & Quarterly Translated by Helge Dascher ISBN 978-1770461291] I will admit. Even though I read quite a healthy number of comic … Continue reading

W. Paul Anderson: Hunger’s Brides

Anderson, W. Paul (2005), Hunger’s Brides, Carroll & Graf. ISBN 9780786715411 Everyone knows Randall Jarrell’s definition of a novel (“…a prose narrative of some length that has something wrong with it…”), which he wrote in his extraordinary review of Christina … Continue reading

Katherine Addison: The Goblin Emperor

[given that my computer is still out of order, the other texts from my HD are still on hold. I’ve written small pieces here and there. This is one of them.] Addison, Katherine (2015), The Goblin Emperor, Tor ISBN 978-0-7653-6568-2 … Continue reading