Author Archive

Reading The Refugee Summer

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Edward Fenton’s 1982 novel is perhaps one of the better fictional accounts of living at the privileged periphery of a political and then refugee crisis. Importantly, it is also a children’s novel.

The American Dream in The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Lucette Lagnado’s 2007 memoir is a testament to the difficulties that are so inherent to the immigration process that even a family of people who are educated, upper-class, and well-off experience them.

Corelli’s Mandolin and the Patriarchy

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
While the focus of Louis de Bernières’ 1994 book is the love story between a young woman, Pelagia, and Captain Antonio Corelli, one of the many side plots is that of the ruin of Mandras, Pelagia’s first fiancé, at the hands of masculine ideals.

Christos Ikonomou’s Greek Debt Crisis Stories

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The stories of Ikonomou’s new collection revel in ambiguity, illustrating the crisis in a more nuanced way than many of the “crisis lit” works that reach the U.S. Importantly, too, they demonstrate Ikonomou’s gift for Greek in its rawest spoken form.

Grief in Lincoln in the Bardo

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
George Saunders’ most recent book acknowledges that to write a historical novel is to look at bones and imagine them as flesh and spirit.

The Position of English

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Jhumpa Lahiri’s work in Italian is reminiscent of liturgy books with Koine Greek on the left side and English on the other. That she includes the “little brother,” a moniker she’s given Italian, in her 2015 book—and on the left side—is a reversal of the norm.

The Artist’s Journey in What’s Left of the Night

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
“Weak expression Poor artistry,” reads the fictional note in red pencil on Constantine Cavafy’s sheaf of poems sent to the poet Jean Moréas in Ersi Sotiropoulos’s 2015 novel, translated by Karen Emmerich.

The Colonizers

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Claire Messud’s novel intimately considers the legacy and trauma of the pieds-noirs through the story of a family living in Marseilles, France in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Power of a Woman’s Voice

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Lilliet Berne, the orphan turned courtesan turned opera star who serves as the protagonist of Alexander Chee’s 2016 novel, embodies the complicated interchange of power and weakness that accompanies a woman’s silence.

The World of Yesterday’s Documentation of the Great Wars

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Stefan Zweig’s autobiography serves as a poignant warning as the world grapples with the rise of ethno-nationalism.