Book Reviews

Xu Zechen’s “Running through Beijing”

To the average Westerner, reared on crisp autumn breezes and revitalizing spring air, Beijing’s tianqi, its weather, is a surreal departure.


Hassan Blasim’s “The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq”

Hassan Blasim's Iraq is a debased and deadly place


Rodolfo Walsh’s “Operation Massacre”

Walsh was sitting in a café when a man approached him and said cryptically: “One of the executed men is alive.”


Mikhail Shishkin’s “The Light and the Dark”

Shiskin pushes us to the realization that we are part of the book that we are reading, and that the book we are reading is part of us.


Julia Franck’s “Back to Back”

Franck’s story is engrossing—immediately, completely.


Albert Cossery’s “Laziness in the Fertile Valley”

In a musty, cavernous house, three brothers, their father, and uncle sleep through day and night. The men can scarcely eat without falling back to sleep. The sunlight insults their eyes and even the softest of sounds, such as “a noise of dishes . . . [lays] itself upon the motionless air, like…...read more »

Guillermo Rosales’s “Leapfrog & Other Stories”

"Leapfrog & Other Stories" is the last of what’s left of the Cuban writer Guillermo Rosales.


Robert Walser’s “A Schoolboy’s Diary”

There is an inevitable period of adjustment when reading the work of Robert Walser.


Mircea Cărtărescu’s “Blinding”

Together, these texts form an ecstatic and elegiac epic, in which the reader travels across the body of a butterfly (literally and figuratively), from the begining to the end of time.


Sergio Chejfec’s “The Dark”

At his best, the Argentine Sergio Chejfec carries the torch of the great ambulatory writers, from De Quincy to Sebald.


João Almino’s “Free City”

"Free City" is a novel about a literary sort of redemption


Elisa Ruotolo’s “I Stole the Rain”

With the deceptive kick of an apertivo that slides down like water but is 80 proof, the three stories in "I Stole The Rain" promptly engaged my attention.


Mario Bellatin’s “Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction”

Games are always a serious matter when they are played by the Mexican writer Mario Bellatin.


Yu Xiang’s “I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust”

Yu Xiang’s poems are the poetic equivalent of shoegazer rock.


Vsevolod Nekrasov’s “I Live I See”

Repetitions were important to Nekrasov: to him monotony could also unlock multiplicity.


Ádám Bodor’s “The Sinistra Zone”

"The Sinistra Zone" is neither an easy nor an enjoyable read. It is, however, an interesting one


Milo De Angelis’s “Theme of Farewell and After-Poems”

In his latest work the poet sets a different task for himself; he writes as if to battle against the failure of words


Georges Perec’s “La Boutique Obscure”

For Perec even the task of recording a dream becomes a demanding literary and intellectual game.


Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo’s “Where There’s Love, There’s Hate”

This unsung jewel of a novella by the decorated couple Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo is a stylish, postmodern-inflected pastiche of an Agatha Christie mystery.


Oleg Pavlov’s “Captain of the Steppe”

Pavlov skillfully navigates the razor-thin gap between dark comedy and tragedy, making the novel more humane and serious than many satires.


Amélie Nothomb’s “Life Form”

For her nineteenth book, "Life Form," Nothomb has applied her preternaturally original mind to two favorite subjects—writing and “superhunger”


Yoko Ogawa’s “Revenge”

The experience of reading Revenge is like getting caught in a beautiful, lethal web.


Antonio Tabucchi’s “The Flying Creatures of Fra Angelico”

A comfort in death and loss pervades this collection of letters, ekphrastic prose, short stories, and historical fiction.


Mia Couto’s “The Blind Fisherman” and “The Tuner of Silences”

Mozambican author Mia Couto has practically created a genre all his own.


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