‘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]

‘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]

‘Zero transport. Zero meat. Zero hope.’ [book review]

A review of Havana Year Zero by Karla Suárez, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney Only once in Havana Year Zero is the city ever explicitly given human characteristics. On a balcony in the rain, towards the end of the novel, as her life seems to be falling apart around her, our narrator, Julia,Continue reading ‘Zero transport. Zero meat. Zero hope.’ [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]

‘Each thing carries its opposite within’ [book review]

A review of At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from the French by Anna Moschovakis It is unfair to write this without having read the entire shortlist, but At Night All Blood is Black has serious International Booker Prize-winning potential. David Diop’s novel, in translation by Anna Moschovakis, is a short,Continue reading ‘Each thing carries its opposite within’ [book review]

The Monthly Booking: May 2021

Reading lists have to be practical, as well as sometimes thematic or current, so this month for me is all about trying to clear up my digital bookshelf. Many of these are review copies I am very grateful to have the chance to read, including one of the titles shortlisted for this year’s International BookerContinue reading The Monthly Booking: May 2021

‘Nobody was exactly how you wanted them to be’ [book review]

A review of Love in Five Acts by Daniela Krien, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch The title of Daniela Krien’s latest novel to appear in English is, in the German original, Die Liebe im Ernstfall. While a direct interpretation (Love in Case of Emergency) has indeed been chosen for the US edition ofContinue reading ‘Nobody was exactly how you wanted them to be’ [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]

‘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]

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