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Karen Russell: Swamplandia!

I’m a Karen Russell fan.  I love the way she dips into the fantastic to examine the quotidian.  When I look back at The New Yorker‘s “20 Under 40″ project (now seven months in the past), her short story, “The Dredgeman’s Revelation,” comes out as my favorite of the bunch.  There are so many shades in…

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2011 Best Translated Book Award Longlist

I’ve been looking forward to this for days! The Literary Conference by César Aira, tr. from the Spanish by Katherine Silver (New Directions) The Golden Age by Michal Ajvaz, tr. from the Czech by Andrew Oakland (Dalkey Archive) The Rest Is Jungle & Other Stories by Mario Benedetti, tr. from…

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Hannah Pittard: The Fates Will Find Their Way

Let me start this review with a warning: apparently I’m particularly long-winded when I’m writing a grumpy review because I feel a great need to explain myself, and I was very grumpy when I finished this book.  To me, it exemplifies the type of literary book that I abhor: the novel with a pretense to depth…

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Alice Munro: “Axis”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Alice Munro’s “Axis” was first published in The New Yorker‘s January 31, 2011, issue. It’s always nice to see that the weekly story is by Alice Munro.  “Axis,”…

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2011 NBCC Award Finalists

The National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its 2011 award.  The winners of each category will be announced on March 10. Fiction Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad Jonathan Franzen: Freedom David Grossman: To the End of the Land Hans Keilson: Comedy in a Minor Key…

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Heinrich Böll: The Clown

Melville House is publishing “The Essential Heinrich Böll” over the next year.  This month they have published The Safety Net, Billiards at Half-Past Nine, and The Clown (Ansichten eines Clowns, 1963; tr. from the German by Leila Vennewitz, 2010).  In April, we will see The Train Was on Time, Irish…

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Hisham Matar: “Naima”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Hisham Matar’s “Naima” was first published in The New Yorker‘s January 24, 2011, issue. Hisham Matar’s new book Anatomy of a Disappearance comes out in the UK in…

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Alexandros Papadiamantis: The Murderess

Well, here we go with the second NYRB Classic in a row.  Because they are always refreshing and always interesting, I often crave NYRB Classics, and neither this one nor the last one have disappointed (though, be careful, they only make the craving stronger).  I’m always shocked because I cannot believe the…

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Vivant Denon: No Tomorrow

I kept holding out on buying Vivant Denon’s only literary work, a novella — no, a short story — because it didn’t seem sensible to pay full price for something that will only last 30 pages.  But when a few of my favorite book bloggers praise it, and it’s published by one of my favorite publishers,…

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Amos Oz: “The King of Norway”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Amos Oz’s “The King of Norway” was first published in The New Yorker‘s January 17, 2011, issue.  It was translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston. For the…