Articles by Emma Garman

Q & A with Aliefka Bijlsma

October 16, 2012

The Consul General’s Wife is the second novel from author and screenwriter Aliefka Bijlsma, now available in a sensitive translation from the Dutch by Kate Brown. The sad and tragi-comic tale of an aging diplomat and his downfall, which reverberates through the lives of those around him, The Consul…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

Walser’s Berlin Stories: Primer for a Singular Landscape

February 8, 2012

In 1933, the posthumously acclaimed Swiss writer Robert Walser was living at the sanatorium he had entered four years earlier with severe depression, hallucinations, and writers’ block. Then in his early fifties, Walser had published several novels and many essays, stories, and poems—albeit,…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

“The Truth About Marie” by Jean-Philippe Toussaint

September 23, 2011

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“The good, the admirable reader,” said Vladimir Nabokov in his Lectures on Russian Literature, “identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.” Perhaps he was anticipating that current sacred cow of American…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

PEN World Voices 2011: Amelié Nothomb in conversation with Buket Uzuner, Friday April 29th

May 3, 2011

Image of PEN World Voices 2011: Amelié Nothomb in conversation with Buket Uzuner, Friday April 29th
Here’s a tip for writers eager to cultivate a rarified air of eccentricity: regardless of the weather, wear a big hat! According to Amelié Nothomb, whose outré headgear is her trademark—today, at La Maison Française’s panel discussion with Turkish novelist and travel…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

The Explosion of the Radiator Hose by Jean Rolin

April 1, 2011

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The connection that a reader forges with a first-person narrator varies tremendously from book to book, depending on the degree of intimacy or detachment elicited, on how convincing or charming or grating we find the voice, on how seduced, manipulated, or outraged we find ourselves. Sometimes, all too…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

À Tout de Suite, written and directed by Benoît Jacquot

March 7, 2011

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In honor of the new Movies Issue, we’re writing about our favorite foreign films; my choice: À Tout de Suite (2005), written and directed by Benoît Jacquot. Conceptually, À Tout de Suite (“Right Now”), based on a memoir by Elisabeth Fanger, sounds almost willfully…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig

November 24, 2010

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In his memoir, The World of Yesterday, published the year after his suicide in 1942 at age 60, Stefan Zweig wistfully recalls the sense of security that “made life seem worthwhile” and that defined his parents’ and grandparents’ generation. Pre-WWI Europe, it seemed, was on an…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

“The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris” by Leïla Marouane

June 11, 2010

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As first lines go, that of Leïla Marouane’s second novel and debut in English, The Abductor (2000, translated by Felicity McNab), is a masterpiece of concision and intrigue: “My father lay helpless on the sofa while my mother was being joined to Youssef Allouchi in lawful wedlock.”…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

PEN World Voices: Atiq Rahimi in Conversation with Lila Azam Zanganeh

May 4, 2010

Afghan author Atiq Rahimi’s Prix Goncourt-winning and internationally acclaimed novel, The Patience Stone—an excerpt of which he read during the festival’s opening night extravaganza—is his fourth book, but the first that he wrote in French, rather than in his Persian mother tongue.…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

PEN World Voices: David Almond and Sofi Oksanen in Conversation with Rakesh Satyal

May 2, 2010

“The act of writing is an act of exploration, an act of discovery…and that’s what growing up is,” mused British children's author David Almond on Friday, when he appeared with Finnish-Estonian novelist Sofi Oksanen at CUNY’s Elebash Recital Hall. During the hour-long…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

I Come From There: New Plays from the Arab World at PEN World Voices Festival

April 30, 2010

At the Martin E. Segal Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center yesterday afternoon, readings of two works by young playwrights—presented by the British Council and London’s Royal Court Theatre, with support from the Sundance Institute Theater Program—explored notions of home. In Withdrawal…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

“Purge” by Sofi Oksanen

April 13, 2010

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Aliide Truu, the warped murderess and tragic victim at the center of Sofi Oksansen’s astoundingly ambitious novel Purge, is an elderly woman when we meet her in the opening chapter. Living alone in the Estonian countryside in 1992, she has recently witnessed her nation’s liberation from Soviet…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

“The Patience Stone” by Atiq Rahimi

January 22, 2010

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In Afghanistan—where, eight years after the toppling of the Taliban by US and allied troops, women are still routinely arrested and jailed for “running away” or for adultery, where current law does not recognize the crime of rape, and where 70 to 80 per cent of marriages are forced—any…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

“The German Mujahid” by Boualem Sansal

September 30, 2009

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It's common knowledge that, at the end of WWII, many German war criminals fled from justice via "ratlines" to South American countries. Less notorious, though, are the Nazis who, like the title character of Algerian novelist Boualem Sansal's excoriating new novel, The German Mujahid, found permanent…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas

August 13, 2009

The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas By Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt Europa Editions Contemporary French literature outclasses all other nationalities when it comes to melding the popular and the profound, as epitomized by Annie Ernaux's addictively cerebral TMI or Amélie Nothomb's highbrow…...read more »

Articles by Emma Garman

Review: “A Girl Made of Dust” by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi

June 25, 2009

Writing literary fiction with a child's point-of-view is not a job for the faint-hearted; to construct a compelling narrative with only a linguistically-limited and innocent voice as a conduit is a daunting challenge, one which few novelists have taken up and still fewer pulled off successfully. Yet…...read more »