Author Archive

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

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Greenwell’s novel feels at once perilously modern and coolly baroque; a Sebaldian melancholy wafts up like a fog through the spaces in his lovingly turned sentences.

The Hills Reply by Tarjei Vesaas

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Vesaas’s language is rich and thickening, replete with extended metaphors that are visionary, haunting, and half-mad, recalling the ebullient, runaway brushwork of Van Gogh.

The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada

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Oyamada’s new novel is a tale of inaction rather than revolt, a story about the warm, velvety embrace of production models. Her characters seem exemplars of a particularly post-millennial brand of jaded helplessness, one that’s the result of living lives in the shadow of exploitative labor systems so all-encompassing

Girl by Edna O’Brien

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Edna O’Brien performs a sort of tight-rope act, strung between the stream-like nature of her prose and the painful shards of her story. Brutality stomps through the pages of her new novel, astonishing in its recurrence and terrifying in the variable justifications that underpin it.

Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

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Danticat doles out prickly investigations of transnational identity that are thickened by circumstance and mucked up by globalization.

History. A Mess. by Sigrún Pálsdóttir

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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.

Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann

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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.

The Innocents Ashore: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Offshore Turns Forty

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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.