‘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

‘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]

‘Both very real and highly abstract’ [book review]

A review of The Border by Erika Fatland, translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson There is a definite sense of journey’s end on reaching the final pages of Erika Fatland’s The Border – for the reader as well as for the author herself. Not only is the book large in size (almost six hundredContinue reading ‘Both very real and highly abstract’ [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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