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Jacques Poulin: Translation Is a Love Affair

This will be a short review.  I have two excuses: 1) the book that is the subject is very short; 2) this review is almost a follow-up to one of my recent reviews. A few weeks ago I posted about Jacques Poulin’s Spring Tides .  I actually first read Translation Is a Love Affair (La…

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Jonathan Tel: The Beijing of Possibilities

When I got this book in the mail I was actually turned off by the cover.  However, I’d seen a couple of blurbs (probably citing one source) lining The Beijing Possibilities (2009) with W.G. Sebald and Italo Calvino.  That is about the highest praise I can imagine, so even if…

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Jacques Poulin: Spring Tides

Though I haven’t posted my review of it yet, I have read Jacque Poulin’s novel Translation Is a Love Affair, forthcoming from Archipelago Books.  For some reason, I don’t think I penetrated a layer with that book; something just didn’t click even though I was enjoying it the whole time.  Rather…

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Giller Prize Shadow Jury

Check out KevinfromCanada’s blog for a post about the Giller Prize Shadow Jury.  I have the great privilege to be one of the three members of the panel this year!  Exciting!

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Herman Melville: Moby-Dick

This review is divided into two parts:  Part I is a look at the vastness of Moby-Dick and at the majestic style Melville employed in this philosophical novel.  That Part is more like one of my typical reviews.  Part II is a look at one particular chapter and idea that highlights…

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Roberto Bolaño: The Skating Rink

After experiencing a wonderful connection with Bolaño in By Night in Chile I was excited to receive a copy of his next book to be translated into English: The Skating Rink (La Pista de Hielo, 1993; tr. from the Spanish by Chris Andrews, 2009).  And now that I’ve finished that, though…

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J.M. Coetzee: Foe

Before this, I’d read three other books by J.M. Coetzee: Waiting for the Barbarians, Life and Times of Michael K, and Disgrace.  I enjoyed all three — very much.  His style is so wonderfully simple and yet precise and still poetic.  Despite never having read Robinson Crusoe, for some time I…

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Samuel Johnson: Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia

Some books I expect to enjoy merely because I consider them classic in terms of being influential or historical, not because I expect them to have a pleasing aesthetic or narrative.  I read them because they appeal to my sense of completeness or because you want to see what people were reading two- or…

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Colm Tóibín: Brooklyn

I must preface this post with a disclosure:  I have never read Tóibín’s The Master.  I’ve had it for a while now and it sits there like a present.  From what I’ve read elsewhere, particularly on the Man Booker Prize forum, The Master is so good that reading Brooklyn (2009)…

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Yoel Hoffmann: Curriculum Vitae

When I got this title in the mail I had no idea what to expect, but it sure looked intriguing.  I know nothing about Hebrew literature, though earlier this year there was an excellent short story translated from Hebrew published in the New Yorker.  The cover of Curriculum Vitae (2007;…