Don Quixote in the Sahara
In Moving the Palace Charif Majdalani’s richly textured prose matches the landscape of Northern Africa and the Arab Peninsula.
Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2017
An Argentinean Masterpiece
Antonio Di Benedetto’s Zama is a pre-modern Metamorphosis, historical fiction in the now.
Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2016
This collection of intimate eulogies, by Stefany Anne Goldberg and Morgan Meis, examines the way 20th century intellectuals and artists confronted and transformed reality.
The Rumpus, July 21, 2016
The Rubble of Beirut
The latest novel from Elias Khoury, Broken Mirrors, is a maddening reflection of the Lebanese civil war.
Public Books, April 15, 2015
Confining Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 to the Stage
Adapted for theater, Popkin finds the masterpiece novel 2666 thrilling and exhausting.
The Millions, March 2, 2016
State of the Union
Austrian-German author Jakob Wassermann’s last novel, published in English for the first time, is a modern marriage tragedy—his own.
Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2016
Escaping from History
Novelist Édouard Levé’s dream of an objective prose, in Newspaper, is as impossible as the exiled novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya’s Dream of My Return.
Kenyon Review, January 6, 2016
The Unfulfilled Now: On Jean-Phillipe Blondel’s The 6.41 to Paris
With Graham Greene’s End of the Affair in mind, this French novelist produces a work of literary inversion.
The Millions, November 9, 2015
Vanishing into the Veldt
Afrikaans master Karel Schoeman hides a woman’s secrets in the endless plain in this end-of-life novel of regret.
Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2015
Past and Future Both Color the Present
Ali Smith’s time warp novel How to Be Both, which takes place now and in the 15th century, is “bound and endless all at once.”
Public Books, April 15, 2015
We Tell Ourselves Stories: Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams
In this searching book of essays, Leslie Jamison reveals that she is a “translator of human pain.”
Kenyon Review, November 12, 2014
The Restless Dead: On Hadrien LaRouche’s Orphans
This French conceptualist, a playful and meticulous prober of contemporary life, cuts close to the bare heart in this novel of exile, just translated to English.
The Millions, October 30, 2014
The Professor and the Siren by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
In these delightful new translations of other writings of the Sicilian Lampedusa, the reader gets to revisit themes of The Leopard.
Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2014
My Own Saint: A Review of Letters from James Agee to Father Flye
James Agee is a literary saint of catholic imperfection, revealed in a lifelong correspondence with a teacher and old friend.
Fanzine, June 11, 2014
A Paradise Lost
The Alp, a novel by Swiss writer Arno Camenisch, is an evocative lament for a quest to preserve a paradise that never really was.
Fanzine, April 17, 2014
Writing on the Margins
The novels of Polish exiled writer Marek Hlasko’s are hardboiled but empathetic testaments of deceit and deprivation.
Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2014
Growing up Mid-Century
Childhood is the subject of two novels, Joan Chase’s During the Reign of the Queen of Persia, published in a new edition, and Dennis Must’s The World’s Smallest Bible. In both the authors present a lush world to breathe in instead of merely to read about.
Cleaver Magazine, March 20, 2014
Review of Baghdad: City in Verse and The New York Nobody Knows
The layers of two cities, Baghdad and New York, are revealed in books of poetry and sociology.
Cleaver Magazine, January 22, 2014