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‘It was a beautiful spectacle’ [book review]

A review of The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada, translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews It opens with a level of cool detachment, The Wind That Lays Waste. A mechanic and a car owner, between them a vehicle, above them the sky. The first page is all heat and desultory conversation, wordsContinue reading “‘It was a beautiful spectacle’ [book review]”

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‘Something was unjust and frustrating’ [book review]

A review of Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo, translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang I had read quite a lot about Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 – the third novel by South Korean writer Cho Nam-Joo, which has been taking her own country and the rest of the world by storm – butContinue reading “‘Something was unjust and frustrating’ [book review]”

‘She opened the door to the world for me’. A review of The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated from the Spanish by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre

It has taken me a while to get round to writing this review, largely because I didn’t know what to say. In the face of Gabriela Cabezón Cámara’s torrent of effervescent prose, so striking and vivid it is almost breathing, my own words seem to have failed me completely. The Adventures of China Iron –Continue reading “‘She opened the door to the world for me’. A review of The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, translated from the Spanish by Fiona Mackintosh and Iona Macintyre”

‘The reverse of the world.’ A review of Fate by Jorge Consiglio, translated from the Spanish by Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch

I often wonder what effect the world around me has on my reading. Almost as soon as I opened Fate by Jorge Consiglio, I was blown away by how many timely pieces of sagacity the author had to offer. This started right from the Author’s Note, which opens with the words ‘The key question is:Continue reading “‘The reverse of the world.’ A review of Fate by Jorge Consiglio, translated from the Spanish by Carolina Orloff and Fionn Petch”

‘A room empty but for faint dancing light.’ A review of Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt

There have been many times in my life when I have been grateful for Japanese fiction. Although I have recently discovered the eccentric joys of Haruki Murakami, what I’m thinking of right now is a particular form of Japanese writing: the slender novellas translated into English that often fly under the radar but can haveContinue reading “‘A room empty but for faint dancing light.’ A review of Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt”

‘Reality has a habit of ruining convictions’. A review of It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer

It’s funny how things work out. If I’d known what was going to happen this month, I might not have chosen to read Karina Sainz Borgo’s It Would Be Night in Caracas – a blistering portrayal of life in a society that has gone beyond the brink. Reading about hoarding, looting, indiscriminate violence and theContinue reading “‘Reality has a habit of ruining convictions’. A review of It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo, translated from the Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer”

‘The Path of Metaphor is rife with perils.’ A review of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen

I have come to Haruki Murakami comparatively late in life, a fact that is in itself a cause for great joy. Not only do I think I wouldn’t have appreciated him as completely as I do now had I been younger – I did in fact read Norwegian Wood aged about sixteen and found itContinue reading “‘The Path of Metaphor is rife with perils.’ A review of Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen”

‘Strange things are afoot.’ A review of The Evenings by Gerard Reve, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett

They told me it was strange, and they weren’t wrong. In fact, so unsettling and beyond my usual style of reading did I find The Evenings that I almost gave up on it after fifty pages. In part because of my Dutch reading challenge and in part because I hate not finishing a book onceContinue reading “‘Strange things are afoot.’ A review of The Evenings by Gerard Reve, translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett”

‘I neglected to notice my husband’. A review of Sleepless Night by Margriet de Moor, translated from the Dutch by David Doherty

Dutch novelist Margriet de Moor has a wide following in the German-speaking world, but before I actively went looking for Dutch literature I had never come across a mention of her works in English. Why this is I can’t quite fathom, but with translations making up only around three per cent of the literary marketContinue reading “‘I neglected to notice my husband’. A review of Sleepless Night by Margriet de Moor, translated from the Dutch by David Doherty”

‘This shining land is not ours.’ A review of Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer, translated from the Dutch by Antoinette Fawcett

I found it slightly disconcerting at first. Eva Meijer, the multi-talented author of Bird Cottage (Het vogelhuis in the original Dutch) has such a particular way of articulating her main protagonist’s thoughts on the page that I almost felt like I was inside her head. Although definitely not a stream-of-consciousness novel, the slightly jerky wayContinue reading “‘This shining land is not ours.’ A review of Bird Cottage by Eva Meijer, translated from the Dutch by Antoinette Fawcett”