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Michal Ajvaz: The Other City

To my knowledge, the only Czech literature I’ve read is from that fairly famous author who has his own adjective.  It was to expand my range, more than anything then, that led me to open Michal Ajvaz’s The Other City (Druhé mesto, 1993; tr. by Gerald Turner 2009), lauded as…

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César Aira: How I Became a Nun

I’m rocketing through César Aira’s books available in English (others reviewed here and here).  Which is not hard since they are incredibly short, and there are only three readily available (The Hare, published in the U.S.  in 1997 is cheapest used on Amazon at a mere $363, so I don’t count…

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Hugo Wilcken: Colony

A few weeks ago John Self highly recommended Hugo Wilcken’s Colony (2007), a book that, through no fault of its own, passed quickly into obscurity upon its release.  Indeed, word is that the book “wasn’t so much published as dropped from a height.”  I’ll take any recommendation from John, but…

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Javier Marías: Your Face Tomorrow, Volume I: Fever and Spear

Javier Marías’s name pops up frequently in the high altitudes of literary discussion.  Several Nobel laureates and those deserving of the Nobel consider him a master (and also deserving of the Nobel).  All of his books look incredibly interesting to me, but I hadn’t read any.  Later this year the…

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P.G. Wodehouse: Leave It to Psmith

I had never read P.G. Wodehouse before finally picking up Leave It to Psmith (1923).  A few months ago (crikey!  I mean six months ago—time flies!), John Self posted a picture of one (of many, I’m assuming) of his book shelves; on it were several Wodehouse titles (in the wonderful hardback collector’s edition available from Overlook…

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IMPAC Winner

Michael Thomas’s Man Gone Down won this year’s IMPAC award. I remember the New York Times picked it as one of their five best books of fiction a couple of years ago, but when I picked it up on their recommendation I didn’t see any other reason to buy it….

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Gilbert Sorrentino: Splendide-Hôtel

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the very short Splendide-Hôtel (1973).  I run into Gilbert Sorrentino’s name only sometimes, but when I do it’s like the person I hear it from is keeping a treasured secret.  I get the feeling I should already know about Sorrentino, and if I…

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Roberto Bolaño: Nazi Literature in the Americas

Over the Christmas holiday last year I read Roberto Bolaño’s 2666.  I wrote a review that balances on the negative side because it just didn’t come together for me—at all.  The over-the-top praise surely didn’t help me going in to the book.  That said, taking 2666 by its pieces, I loved it.  The writing was…

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Orange Prize Winner

Marilynee Robinson’s Home won the 2009 Orange Prize. Over the past six months, I read Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Gilead all in an attempt to catch up so I could read Home.  I enjoyed those two books so much I have been putting off reading Home.  Soon.  Soon.

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Interview with Jayne Anne Phillips

I am thrilled today to post an interview with Jayne Anne Phillips, whose novel Lark and Termite I enjoyed thoroughly and reviewed earlier this year here.  I mention all of the critical acclaim the novel has received.  It has since been featured in several places, including the New York Review…