Book Reviews

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.

Kirill Medvedev’s “It’s No Good: poems/ essays/ actions”

In 2004, the Russian poet Kirill Medvedev posted an unusual announcement on his Web site: “I have no copyright to my texts and cannot have any such right.” Those who wished to use his writings, he said, were allowed to do so but only “WITHOUT THE PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR.” One… more »

Eduardo Halfon’s “The Polish Boxer”

"The Polish Boxer" is a book of small miracles

Alejandro Zambra’s “Ways of Going Home”

These instances abound: life imitating art, while art reflects back images of life.

Dany Laferrière’s “The World is Moving Around Me”

This is Laferrière’s own take on the cataclysmic effects of the quake, both political and psychological.

Homero Aridjis’s “A Time of Angels”

Homero Aridjis’s angels have not fallen, but the world has.

Andrey Platonov’s “Happy Moscow”

Love is grasped at but never secured. Each person is exhausted, weary, and alone.

Niq Mhlongo’s “Dog Eat Dog”

Has South Africa found its modern voice of the people, its cutting-edge bard of the townships?

Juan Gelman’s “Dark Times Filled with Light”

History, for Gelman, is something both deeply personal and inherently communal, just as poetry can be both politically charged and aesthetically refined

Lygia Fagundes Telles’s “The Girl in the Photograph”

Although Lia, Ana Clara, and Lorena can’t help thinking uncharitable things about one another from time to time, when they’re together, their connection is electric.

The Canvas

The mystery is only the vehicle by which Stein delivers a Kafkaesque tale that constantly toys with memory, truth, and identity.

José Antonio Ramos Sucre’s “Selected Works”

This syntax hypnotically weaves its way into the mind of the reader, hunkers down, and only later bites.

Mikhail Shishkin’s “Maidenhair”

How can you convince anyone of the truth when the only evidence you have is your word?

Alessandro Piperno’s “Persecution”

"Persecution," the title of Alessandro Piperno’s scorchingly ambitious second novel, is not a straightforward label for the catastrophe that befalls the protagonist, Leo Pontecorvo.

Abdourahman Waberi’s “Transit” and Marie Ndiaye’s “Three Strong Women”

These crisscrossing lives and unsteady unions caught between Europe and Africa beg the question: Who is escaping, and who has arrived?

Roberto Ampuero’s “The Neruda Case”

An unusual meld of history, biography, and fiction, "The Neruda Case" conveys with great acuity how it’s not just the famous who are subject to others’ unrealistic projections.

Carlos Fuentes’s “Vlad”

Few monsters have weathered the years with greater aplomb.

Sergio Chejfec’s “The Planets”

"The Planets" considers the impact of friendship—and its loss—in cosmic terms.

Laszlo Krasznahorkai’s “Satantango”

In the world of "Satantango," everything is caught up in an infernal dance.

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