‘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]

‘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 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]

‘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 forest full of troubles’ [book review]

A review of The Dragons, The Giant, The Women by Wayétu Moore It may only be March, but when it comes to the memoir genre I’ll wager that this year you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more powerful example than Wayétu Moore’s. Combining elements of fantasy with all-too-real experiences of war and racism, The Dragons,Continue reading ‘A forest full of troubles’ [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]

‘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]

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