‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

A review of Forty Lost Years by Rosa Maria Arquimbau, translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush Read just a few pages of Forty Lost Years and you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with Laura Vidal. Fourteen years old and an apprentice dressmaker, the narrator of Rosa Maria Arquimbau’s overlooked masterpiece hasContinue reading ‘If you water dashed hopes’ [book review]

‘This cremation ground at the end of the world’ [book review]

A review of A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam It comes as no surprise to learn that Anuk Arudpragasam is a philosopher. The Sri Lankan-born author holds a doctorate in the subject from Columbia University, which is reflected in the marked philosophical bent to his writing. The opening pages of A Passage North, his secondContinue reading ‘This cremation ground at the end of the world’ [book review]

‘We can be so many things’ [book review]

A review of Violeta Among the Stars by Dulce Maria Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Ángel Gurría-Quintana Long before there was Ducks, Newburyport, there was Violeta Among the Stars. Originally published in 2005 but only now translated into English by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Dulce Maria Cardoso’s experimental novel is a masterclass in getting under theContinue reading ‘We can be so many things’ [book review]

‘Two women doing their best in their world’ [book review]

A review of The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia It may be titled The Son of the House, but the debut novel by Nigerian author Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a work of literature all about women. Women and, more broadly, Nigeria – a country that undergoes great social and political changes over the courseContinue reading ‘Two women doing their best in their world’ [book review]

‘Zero transport. Zero meat. Zero hope.’ [book review]

A review of Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney Only once in Havana Year Zero is the city ever explicitly given human characteristics. On a balcony in the rain, towards the end of the novel, as her life seems to be falling apart around her, our narrator, Julia,Continue reading ‘Zero transport. Zero meat. Zero hope.’ [book review]

‘Deep down everything’s connected’ [book review]

A review of Sevastopol by Emilio Fraia, translated from the Portuguese by Zoë Perry The characters in Emilia Fraia’s Sevastopol are all a little bit lost. A young female mountaineer, obsessed with climbing Mount Everest, conflates her damaging relationship with the mountain and her equally unsuccessful relationships with men, particularly the older and unreliable Gino.Continue reading ‘Deep down everything’s connected’ [book review]

‘The tumult of youth’ [book review]

A review of Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth There is a point in Heatstroke at which everything changes. It is strangely hard to pin it down, the exact moment, and it may well be different for every reader, but the sudden certainty that my nagging suspicion was correct came as something of a relief. Despite theContinue reading ‘The tumult of youth’ [book review]

‘Part of the dictionary we think we should carry’ [book review]

A review of The Yield by Tara June Winch Anyone who has ever doubted the power of language to bring people together and tear them apart would do well to read Tara June Winch’s The Yield with all possible haste. This remarkable novel is a deep and moving exploration of the role words play inContinue reading ‘Part of the dictionary we think we should carry’ [book review]

‘The war didn’t seem much like a war’ [book review]

A review of The Others by Raül Garrigasait, translated from the Catalan by Tiago Miller Ambitious young indie press Fum d’Estampa is rapidly making a name for itself by publishing carefully crafted Catalan literature in translation, often bringing little-known masterpieces back into the public eye in the process. Though less overlooked (it won the BestContinue reading ‘The war didn’t seem much like a war’ [book review]

‘Each thing carries its opposite within’ [book review]

A review of At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis It is unfair to write this without having read the entire shortlist, but At Night All Blood is Black has serious International Booker Prize-winning potential. David Diop’s novel, in translation by Anna Moschovakis, is a short,Continue reading ‘Each thing carries its opposite within’ [book review]

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