Erik Svetoft: Spa

Svetoft, Erik, Spa, Fantagraphics [translated by Melissa Bowers]ISBN 978-1-68396-696-8 This is going to be a brief review – there is surprisingly little to say about a 300 page graphic novel. That’s because the book has two aspects – an aesthetic … Continue reading

Yael Inokai: Ein Simpler Eingriff

Inokai, Yael (2022), Ein Simpler Eingriff, HanserISBN 978-3-446-27231-6 In an overall not great year for German-language literary fiction, Swiss novelist Yael Inokai’s third novel, Ein Simpler Eingriff (“a simple procedure”) was among the better entries. Like many of its contemporaries, … Continue reading

Alisa Ganieva: Bride & Groom

Ganieva, Alisa (2018 [2015]), Bride & Groom, Deep Vellumtrans. Carol ApollonioISBN 978-1-941920-59-6 This is the first novel by Alisa Ganieva I have read – and one of embarrassingly few novels by contemporary Russian writers on my shelf. Bride & Groom … Continue reading

Katherine Addison: The Angel of the Crows

Addison, Katherine (2020), The Angel of the Crows, TorISBN 978-0-7653-8740-0 Fanfiction has had an interesting few decades. Some of the biggest bestsellers of the past years are rewritten pieces of fanfiction, most famously 50 Shades of Gray, and the Throne … Continue reading

Catherynne M. Valente: The Past Is Red

Valente, Catherynne M. (2021), The Past Is Red, TorISBN 978-1-250-30113-0 I have complained on this blog about the disrespect shown to genre writers who are regarded a notch below mainstream fiction writers, despite often being just as good – or … Continue reading

Yukito Ayatsuji: The Decagon House Murders

Ayatsuji, Yukito (2007 [1987]), The Decagon House Murders, Pushkintrans. Ho-Ling WongISBN 978-1-78227634-0 Murder by Death, Neil Simon’s brilliant (though dated) cinematic parody on the whodunit, featuring parodies of various well-known detectives, from Hammett’s Nick and Nora to Agatha Christie’s Hercule … Continue reading

Tess Gerritsen: The Sinner

Gerritsen, Tess (2004), The Sinner, BallantineISBN 978-1-101-88739-4 The Sinner is the first novel I have read of Tess Gerritsen’s series of books about homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. This is a surprisingly good book. I say surprisingly because … Continue reading

Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips: Bad Weekend

Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips (2021), Bad Weekend, ImageISBN 9-781534-314405 Ed Brubaker’s niche, if you will, are comic books nibbling at the borders of masculinity. Some of my favorite works of his involve characters like Daredevil (his run with Michael Lark … Continue reading

2 Novels by Carolina Schutti

Schutti, Carolina (2010), wer getragen wird, braucht keine schuhe, Otto Müller ISBN 978-3-7013-1178-1 Schutti, Carolina (2012), einmal muss ich über weiches Gras gelaufen sein, Otto Müller ISBN 978-3-7013-1193-4 As has become tradition on this blog, as the Bachmannpreis rears its … Continue reading

Catherynne Valente: Space Opera

Valente, Caterynne, Space Opera, Saga Press ISBN 978-1481497497 One of my favorite science fiction novels is The Killing Star by Charles Pellegrino and George Zebrowski. The situation is simple: in the future, with humanity having colonialized the solar system and … Continue reading

Warren Ellis/ Phil Hester: Shipwreck

Ellis, Warren; Phil Hester et al. (2018), Shipwreck, Aftershock ISBN 9781935002802 If you read comics, you will have come across Phil Hester’s work here or there – he’s inescapable. And not like the ubiquitous mediocre artists. Hester’s work is always … Continue reading

Jorge Ibargüengoitia: The Dead Girls

Ibargüengoitia, Jorge (2018 [1977/1983]), The Dead Girls, Picador ISBN 978-1509870172 Translated by Asa Zatz For a novel called “The Dead Girls,” Mexican author Jorge Ibargüengoitia isn’t particularly interested in said dead girls. In the introduction to the new edition of … Continue reading

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