‘You can almost smell it’ [book review]

A review of English Magic by Uschi Gatward There is a definite kind of magic to Uschi Gatward’s debut collection. Published by the inimitable Galley Beggar Press, English Magic comprises twelve stories of varying length that all seem to radiate outwards from London, where Gatward was born, probing the shadowy spaces of countryside and coastline,Continue reading ‘You can almost smell it’ [book review]

‘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]

‘What makes a person want so much?’ [book review]

A review of The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki Thirteen-year-old Benny Oh is having a tough time. His beloved father, Kenji, a jazz musician, has been killed in an absurd accident to which Benny was witness. His mother, Annabelle, shy and nervous at the best of times, has retreated into herself, neglectingContinue reading ‘What makes a person want so much?’ [book review]

‘Everything’s going backward’ [book review]

A review of Bewilderment by Richard Powers ‘Moving’ is the word I have most often seen describing Richard Powers’s new novel, Bewilderment. The reviewers and blurb writers aren’t wrong: any novel about a widowed father trying to help his fragile son negotiate the horrors of the world we humans have created is – unless somethingContinue reading ‘Everything’s going backward’ [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]

‘We can be so many things’ [book review]

A review of Violeta Among the Stars by Dulce Maria Cardoso, translated from the Portuguese by Ángel Gurría-Quintana Long before there was Ducks, Newburyport, there was Violeta Among the Stars. Originally published in 2005 but only now translated into English by Ángel Gurría-Quintana, Dulce Maria Cardoso’s experimental novel is a masterclass in getting under theContinue reading ‘We can be so many things’ [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]

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