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‘Hell was inside me’ [book review]

A review of Other People’s Beds by Anna Punsoda, translated from the Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem With Other People’s Beds, her first work of fiction, Catalan author Anna Punsoda offers us a tale of the body. In the smarting, spiky prose of her first-person narrative voice, she explores what it is to exist physicallyContinue reading ‘Hell was inside me’ [book review]

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‘Debating race and wrong’ [book review]

A review of Identitti by Mithu Sanyal, translated from the German by Alta L. Price ‘Nowadays nobody’s a serious intellectual until they’ve sat in the eye of a shitstorm.’ So says Nivedita, a German-Polish-Indian student and influential blogger who writes about race, identity and post-colonial studies under the name of Identitti in Mithu Sanyal’s novelContinue reading ‘Debating race and wrong’ [book review]

‘Crossing languages and collecting butterflies’ [book review]

Putin’s Postbox by Marcel Beyer, translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire German writer Marcel Beyer is a man of many talents. For the past three decades he has been publishing poetry, fiction and essays, translating poetry by Gertrude Stein and Michael Hofmann, and helping to shape the German-speaking literary scene in his roles asContinue reading ‘Crossing languages and collecting butterflies’ [book review]

‘Translation is amazing’ [book review]

Catching Fire: A Translation Diary by Daniel Hahn Translation is an art quite unlike anything else. For those who work in the field – and probably some who don’t – it is an endless source of fascination, frustration, and a particular kind of delight. Put a group of literary translators together in a room andContinue reading ‘Translation is amazing’ [book review]

‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

Thirsty Sea by Erica Mou, translated by Clarissa Botsford ‘I get lost all the time / But I always know which way / the sea lies’. So reads one of the miniature poems scattered throughout the pages of Thirsty Sea, the restless, visceral and compulsively playful debut novel by Erica Mou. The Italian singer-songwriter’s forayContinue reading ‘We look for the wrong things in the right places’ [book review]

‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

A review of In the Margins by Elena Ferrante, translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein In our world of instant celebrity, Elena Ferrante is something of an anomaly. For three decades, she has been publishing – with wild success – under a pseudonym, her true identity known only to her Italian publisher. Though sheContinue reading ‘Not an elegant, studied gesture but a convulsive act’ [book review]

‘Truth is merely our perception of the truth’ [book review]

A review of The Night Will Be Long by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg Santiago Gamboa’s The Night Will Be Long takes its title from a line by Spanish poet José Ángel Valente. Gamboa has chosen it as one of two epigraphs for his novel – the other is a lineContinue reading ‘Truth is merely our perception of the truth’ [book review]

‘So desperately temporary’ [book review]

A review of The Song of Youth by Montserrat Roig, translated from the Catalan by Tiago Miller Eva Baltasar, a prominent Catalan poet and author whose novel Permafrost I reviewed earlier this year, describes Montserrat Roig’s work as ‘an array of lagoons in which [her] most extraordinary flowers lay their roots’. It’s certainly an arrestingContinue reading ‘So desperately temporary’ [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]

The Monthly Booking: June 2021

Summer is almost upon us, and my birthday is this month – two excellent reasons to finally pick up a rather large book I’ve been looking at but not reading for roughly a year. In all its almost-1000-page glory, The Eighth Life has become something of a legend: longlisted for last year’s International Booker PrizeContinue reading The Monthly Booking: June 2021