‘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]

‘Those carefree, glittering summers’ [book review]

A review of The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire and Ayça Türkoğlu Between 1961 and 1973, nearly 900,000 Turkish men and women left their homes to work in West Germany. This constant stream of migration was the result of a deal closed by the two governments; Germany badlyContinue reading ‘Those carefree, glittering summers’ [book review]

‘Peacocks aren’t exactly people’ [book review]

A review of The Peacock by Isabel Bogdan, translated from the German by Annie Rutherford A German novel set in Scotland and translated into English is a somewhat unusual proposition, as Annie Rutherford is quick to point out in her translator’s note at the end of Isabel Bogdan’s The Peacock, which is published next weekContinue reading ‘Peacocks aren’t exactly people’ [book review]

‘A strange, feverish time’ [book review]

A review of Love and Youth: Essential Stories by Ivan Turgenev, translated from the Russian by Nicolas Pasternak Slater A short-story collection full of surprises, Love and Youth charmed and confounded me in almost equal measure. In what publisher Pushkin Press deems the ‘essential’ collection, Ivan Turgenev’s well-known novella First Love is gathered together withContinue reading ‘A strange, feverish time’ [book review]

‘There is too much past’ [book review]

A review of In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated from the Russian by Sasha Dugdale ‘There is nothing more distancing than the documents of a dead person,’ writes Maria Stepanova late in her astonishing book In Memory of Memory. It is a sentence which by this time she has proved to be false,Continue reading ‘There is too much past’ [book review]

‘What matters is the story’ [book review]

A review of The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder So eager was I to finally read Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police in Stephen Snyder’s International Booker-shortlisted translation that I cast aside all other reading plans at the start of this year and practically devoured the book, only toContinue reading ‘What matters is the story’ [book review]

‘We are all just nachos in an enormous bowl’ [book review]

A review of The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison A little piece of my heart broke when I finished reading this book. If I’m honest, I hadn’t expected to become so invested. I’d heard a lot about it, of course, and knew I was interested toContinue reading ‘We are all just nachos in an enormous bowl’ [book review]

‘The real theatre is here’ [book review]

A review of The Book of Jakarta, edited by Maesy Ang and Teddy W. Kusuma Each time I read an anthology from Comma Press’s ‘Reading the City’ series, I am immensely impressed by the ability of the editors – who are always different – to order the stories so skilfully that I feel I’ve beenContinue reading ‘The real theatre is here’ [book review]

‘Absurdity, gratuitousness, and imminent disaster’ [book review]

A review of Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney It was always going to be difficult to read fiction after Hurricane Season. Fortunately for me, there was Ramifications, another cracker from Latin American specialists Charco Press. Daniel Saldaña París’s second novel, vividly translated by Christina MacSweeney, offered me aContinue reading ‘Absurdity, gratuitousness, and imminent disaster’ [book review]

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