Tag Archives: summer 2010


L. S. Asekoff Northwestern University Press ($15.95) by Russell Brickey For anyone who has written a poem, the bugaboo of raising language above mere denotation looms large on every page. And then there’s that annoying problem of process—how is a poem supposed to develop in the ether of words? The Gate of Horn by L.S. Asekoff […]


Dan Kaufman/Barbez Tzadik ($16) by Christine Hume Since the new millennium, Paul Celan, often hailed as the major European post-war poet, has enjoyed at least four serious new English translators. Yet if ever a poet made translating or analyzing his work almost impossible, it is Celan. Now comes Dan Kaufman’s Force of LIght to inject the on-going […]


Zachary German Melville House Publishing ($14.95) by Morgan Myers Zachary German’s Eat When You Feel Sad is a novel about a tone—specifically, a tone of total disaffection, of absolute disinterest, maintained through a rigorous objectivity of language that allows not even the flourish of a compound sentence. Nearly any example would be representative: Robert takes a shower. […]


Norman Lock Ellipsis Press ($13) by Monica McFawn When Guntur, the main character of Norman Lock’s Shadowplay, commits himself to the life of a dalang, a Javanese shadow-puppeteer, the narrator spells out his future: "Guntur would be . . . a shadow—a ghost—a teller of stories about shadows and ghosts to people who will be shadows and […]


Nnedi Okorafor DAW Books ($24.95) by Matthew Cheney So much reverberates between the lines of Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death that the greatest marvel among the many here is that the novel succeeds in creating music and not cacophony. Archetypes and clichés jangle against each other to evoke enchanting new sounds, old narratives fall into a harmony […]


Alyssa Knickerbocker  FlatmanCrooked ($10) by Peter Grandbois If Alyssa Knickerbocker’s Your Rightful Home is any indication, publisher FlatmanCrooked’s “New Novella” series walks softly but carries a big stick. It would be simplistic to call Your Rightful Home a loss of innocence story, though it is. More specifically, it’s a moving and elegant exploration of the ways in which we […]


Adania Shibli translated by Paula Haydar Clockroot Books ($13) by M. Lynx Qualey Stories about the past often mislead: in order to create a satisfying whole, most writers carefully arrange history and memory, inventing links and causal connections. Sometimes, this results in good storytelling. But sometimes the task of an author—particularly one who writes about […]


Stefan Zweig translated by Anthea Bell Pushkin Press ($13) by Jesse Freedman At the climax of Joseph Roth’s Flight Without End (1927), the displaced Austrian lieutenant Franz Tunda attributes his sorrowful condition to a “chain of circumstances” beyond his control. Homeless, stateless, a man “without importance,” Tunda experiences the sort of suffering to which Stefan Zweig subjects […]


Ammiel Alcalay City Lights Publishers ($11.95) by Paula Koneazny Islanders opens with a man seated at a table, lost in memory, thinking about writing a story. But as he listens to an older woman reminisce about hearing War of the Worlds on the radio, he considers the ethics of writing anything at all: Two stories he had read […]


Jean-Philippe Toussaint translated by John Lambert Dalkey Archive Press ($12.95) by Salvatore Ruggiero It’s common for American undergraduate liberal arts students to spend a semester abroad, experiencing new cultures and putting their diverse education to use in unfamiliar lands. But unless the student has family out there, is completely fluent in the host country’s language, […]