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Book Reviews

The Women of the Strega
By Chiara Marchelli
This year, among the dozen longlisters for Italy’s most important literary award, the Premio Strega, seven were women. The presence of titles written by women on the Strega longlist has never…
The Watchlist: June 2017
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words Without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are…
The Watchlist: May 2017
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are…
The Watchlist: April 2017
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are…
The Watchlist: March 2017
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are…
The Watchlist: February 2017
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are…
The Watchlist: January 2017
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are…
Our Favorite International Reads from 2016 (and What We’ll Be Reading in 2017)
By The Editors
As the year draws to a close, our team, board members, and friends of WWB select favorite works-in-translation of 2016 and look ahead to the exciting reads forthcoming in 2017. Eric M. B. BeckerEditorIn…
The Watchlist: December 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are worth all…
The Watchlist: October 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are worth our…
The Watchlist: September 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of recently released or forthcoming titles he’s excited about, books he hopes you’ll agree are worth our…
The Watchlist: August 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel and Stephanie Hubble
Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders shares a handful of new titles they are excited about and think you should be excited about, too. This month’s list…
The Watchlist: July 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders shares a handful of new titles they are excited about and think you should be excited about, too. This month’s list…
The Watchlist: June 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of forthcoming titles he’s excited about and thinks you should be excited about,…
The Watchlist: April 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, from the reviews desk to you, Words without Borders reviews editor M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of forthcoming titles he's excited about and thinks you should be excited about,…
The Watchlist: March 2016
By M. Bartley Seigel
Every month, from the reviews desk to you, M. Bartley Seigel shares a handful of forthcoming titles he's excited about and thinks you should be excited about, too.From New Directions, A Little…
New Youth and Old Nightmares
By Jeffrey Wasserstrom
2015 has been a good year so far when it comes to contemporary Chinese literature in translation, thanks to the publication of English-language editions of novels by two of China’s most important…
A Review of Edouard Levé’s “Autoportrait”
By Jan Steyn
Self-portraiture occupied the French photographer and novelist Edouard Levé throughout his career, but his third novel, Autoportrait, remains his most thorough and sustained attempt in that direction.…
The Explosion of the Radiator Hose by Jean Rolin
By Emma Garman
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…
A Confucian Celerity: On “Angina Day: Selected Poems” by Günter Eich
Throughout his years of exile, Bertolt Brecht carried little with him: his manuscripts, his smoker's paraphernalia, and a black scroll containing a painting of Confucius, which he would hang somewhere…
Journey Into the Past by Stefan Zweig
By Emma Garman
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…
Chekhov’s mongoose
By Geoff Wisner
You don’t always realize the art that goes into a good memoir until you read one that isn’t so good. I came to Anton Chekhov: A Brother’s Memoir with high hopes, but had to admit after…
“The Sexual Life of an Islamist in Paris” by Leïla Marouane
By Emma Garman
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…
“Purge” by Sofi Oksanen
By Emma Garman
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…
“The Patience Stone” by Atiq Rahimi
By Emma Garman
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…
Three Kilos of Coffee
By Geoff Wisner
Manu Dibango is a jazz saxophonist with an international reputation. His song “Soul Makossa” is sometimes credited with being the first disco tune. Dibango was born in Cameroon in 1933. At…
The fun of de Nerval’s The Salt Smugglers
By David Varno
“This is not a novel,” wrote Diderot repeatedly, in his Quixotic, polyphonic Jacques the Fatalist and his Master. You could say he was ripping off Sterne, who ripped off Rabelais in the grand…
Chain of Voices
By Geoff Wisner
Although André Brink is one of South Africa’s leading Afrikaans-language writers, and although his work has appeared in English, at least one article has questioned whether we can categorize…
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