‘Whether it could be borne’ [book review]

A review of The Bureau of Past Management by Iris Hanika, translated from the German by Abigail Wender The Bureau of Past Management doesn’t exist, but, after reading Iris Hanika’s excellent novel of the same name, I certainly wish it did. This vast institution at the heart of the German capital – nation, even –Continue reading ‘Whether it could be borne’ [book review]

‘I could draw it in writing’ [book review]

A review of Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek, translated from the Arabic by Leri Price ‘A story . . . seems understandable when it’s about a large beast that eats people,’ muses the narrator of Samar Yazbek’s Planet of Clay, a haunting exploration of conflict, trauma and the utter impossibility of using words toContinue reading ‘I could draw it in writing’ [book review]

‘What does memory feed on?’ [book review]

A review of Madgermanes by Birgit Weyhe, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire Sometimes you pick up a book and just know that this one is going to be special. There are a few things to suggest that Madgermanes might be so: the line drawings on its bright-yellow cover, the unusual size and gentleContinue reading ‘What does memory feed on?’ [book review]

‘So desperately temporary’ [book review]

A review of The Song of Youth by Montserrat Roig, translated from the Catalan by Tiago Miller Eva Baltasar, a prominent Catalan poet and author whose novel Permafrost I reviewed earlier this year, describes Montserrat Roig’s work as ‘an array of lagoons in which [her] most extraordinary flowers lay their roots’. It’s certainly an arrestingContinue reading ‘So desperately temporary’ [book review]

‘They’re the heads and we’re the bodies’ [book review]

A review of Here Is A Body by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright Basma Abdel Aziz’s Here Is A Body begins, appropriately enough, with a chapter that is all about the corporeal. In vivid, fast-paced prose focused on immediate sensations – sound and smell in particular – the reader isContinue reading ‘They’re the heads and we’re the bodies’ [book review]

‘A poet, in a time of ashes’ [book review]

A review of Occupation by Julián Fuks, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn Julián Fuks is a man who chooses his words with great care. Fortunately for his English readers, Daniel Hahn is very much the same (anyone wishing for evidence of this might dip into his excellent Translation Diary from earlier this year,Continue reading ‘A poet, in a time of ashes’ [book review]

‘Unassailable in their womanhood’ [book review]

A review of No Touching by Ketty Rouf, translated from the French by Tina Kover ‘Challenging’ is the word that first springs to mind when I think of how to describe No Touching, the award-winning debut novel by Italian-French author Ketty Rouf, which has just been translated into English by Tina Kover. It is aContinue reading ‘Unassailable in their womanhood’ [book review]

‘Something had been brutally obliterated’ [book review]

A review of Black Box by Shiori Ito, translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell Content warnings: rape, sexual assault. In April 2015, Shiori Ito, then a promising young TV journalist, met up in Tokyo with Noriyuki Yamaguchi, an older and highly respected journalist she had met during a stint working in New York.Continue reading ‘Something had been brutally obliterated’ [book review]

‘An explosive, swollen vitality’ [book review]

A review of Waiting for the Waters to Rise by Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Richard Philcox The title of Waiting for the Waters to Rise, the latest novel by Maryse Condé to be translated into English, comes from a conversation between Babakar, the main protagonist, and his good friend Hugo Moreno. OnContinue reading ‘An explosive, swollen vitality’ [book review]

‘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]

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