Sigrún Pálsdóttir’s new novel is an enlightening critique of the constraints and pressures of modern scholarship. The book makes no claim to providing any answers but instead settles comfortably in the personal. In other words, it’s a diagnosis, not a treatment.
Ingeborg Bachmann’s new novel is an agonizing assertion of being, a victory over the forces that conspire to shroud one in silence. As slippery and senseless as language can sometimes be, the book asserts, it’s still the best way of pinioning oneself to the world.
Forty years ago, a little-known British writer published a slim volume that went on, miraculously, to win the Booker Prize. Its lucid, almost stringent prose, coupled with its curious subject matter—the lives of houseboat dwellers living on the Thames—brought the work of Penelope Fitzgerald to wide attention.