‘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]

‘Nobody was exactly how you wanted them to be’ [book review]

A review of Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch The title of Daniela Krien’s latest novel to appear in English is, in the German original, Die Liebe im Ernstfall. While a direct interpretation (Love in Case of Emergency) has indeed been chosen for the US edition ofContinue reading ‘Nobody was exactly how you wanted them to be’ [book review]

‘An anger to swallow the world’ [book review]

A review of Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy A couple of years ago I read Richard Powers’ The Overstory, and I have never looked at a tree the same way since. A similar sleight of hand is achieved by Charlotte McConaghy in Migrations, a searing and highly accomplished debut novel that takes on the problem ofContinue reading ‘An anger to swallow the world’ [book review]

‘Everyone in their rightful place’ [book review]

A review of Andrea Víctrix by Llorenç Villalonga, translated from the Catalan by P. Louise Johnson The high-rise streets are lit by lurid advertisements and a slogan flashing in neon letters above the constant stream of traffic: ‘PROGRESS CANNOT BE STOPPED.’ This is Turclub – proper name Tourist Club of the Mediterranean – the settingContinue reading ‘Everyone in their rightful place’ [book review]

‘Is the government not humans like us?’ [book review]

A review of How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue There is a question put by one of the main characters – a child – in Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Were:‘how would I have known that rivers were not ordinarily covered with oil and toxic waste?’ It is perhaps the central question of thisContinue reading ‘Is the government not humans like us?’ [book review]

‘Another sort of beauty altogether’ [book review]

A review of A Perfect Cemetery by Federico Falco, translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft Strange things happen in small towns. This seems to be the premise of Federico Falco’s A Perfect Cemetery, a collection of substantial short stories that gleam in Jennifer Croft’s English translation. At the tipping point between realism and itsContinue reading ‘Another sort of beauty altogether’ [book review]

‘A petted, butterfly girl’ [book review]

A review of The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett There is so much fantastic contemporary literature out there that it can be difficult to remember also to look backwards. Thank goodness, then, for publishers like Persephone Books, whose elegant grey covers hold stories by brilliant but often forgotten female writers of the twentieth century toContinue reading ‘A petted, butterfly girl’ [book review]

‘God bless sedation’ [book review]

A review of Permafrost by Eva Baltasar, translated from the Catalan by Julia Sanches A translator’s note is something that really ought to be included in every work of translated literature. Though I have come across more recently, it seems still to be an uncommon practice, yet even the shortest one can offer the readerContinue reading ‘God bless sedation’ [book review]

‘Exercising an unnecessary degree of enthusiasm’ [book review]

A review of There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton I have a friend who writes about work. She writes about team-building strategies and co-working spaces, working from home and how to avoid burnout. About how to strike a good work–life balance, finding waysContinue reading ‘Exercising an unnecessary degree of enthusiasm’ [book review]

‘A complicated journey in small stages’ [book review]

A review of A Long Way From Douala by Max Lobe, translated from the French by Ros Schwartz Lying on the west coast of Africa, surrounded by Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon is a country of 27 million people about which I’m ashamed to say I know almostContinue reading ‘A complicated journey in small stages’ [book review]

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