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Gyula Krúdy: The Adventures of Sindbad

I knew nothing about Gyula Krúdy or about this book before picking it up — what does this Hungarian have to do with the more famous Persian sailor? – but with NYRB Classics one doesn’t have to worry too much about such things.  One can just pick up a book and begin.  And when I opened…

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Albert Cossery: The Colors of Infamy

Last year I reviewed Albert Cossery’s 1975 novel A Splendid Conspiracy (my review here).  It was one of the Cossery books that sparked a bit of a Cossery rival (at least, among the blogs I follow, if not among the general public).  It was published by New Directions at about the same time NYRB Classics published Cossery’s The…

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César Aira: “The Musical Brain”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  César Aira’s “The Musical Brain” (tr. from the Spanish by Chris Andrews) was originally published in the December 5, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. This is fantastic!  I never…

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Alice Munro: “Leaving Maverley”

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 “Leaving Maverley” was originally published in the November 28, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. Even in retirement, Alice Munro remains prolific.  This is her third short story…

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Joan Didion: Blue Nights

After the success of Joan Didion’s 2005 book The Year of Magical Thinking, it is unlikely people don’t know the tragic event that became the cause of writing that book: the death of Didion’s husband on the evening of December 30, 2003, after the couple had visited their adopted daughter, Quintana, who, days before the death, was…

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Sam Lipsyte: “The Climber Room”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Sam Lipsyte’s “The Climber Room” was originally published in the November 21, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. I’m just not becoming a fan of Sam Lipsyte’s work.  I have not…

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2011 National Book Awards Winners

Tonight the winners of the 2011 National Book Awards were announced. Fiction: Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward Nonfiction: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt Poetry: Head Off and Split, by Nikky Finney Young Peoples’ Literature: Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai Despite the fact that…

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Steven Millhauser: “Miracle Polish”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  Steven Millhauser’s “Miracle Polish” was originally published in the November 14, 2011 issue of The New Yorker. It’s always a good week when Steven Millhauser is in The New Yorker.  I actually read this piece on Monday but…

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2011 Giller Prize Winner

Tonight Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan, won the 2011 Giller Prize! I did really like that book, which was also shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize. Here is a list of the shortlisted books, as well as links to the reviews the Shadow Giller cooked up for them. The Free World,…

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Lynn Coady: The Antagonist

Tonight the 2011 Giller Prize will be announced.  You already know that we on the Shadow Jury already picked David Bezmozgis’s The Free World (my review here), but it wasn’t the easiest choice to make.  I liked five books on the shortlist, four of them very much indeed, including this one, The Antagonist (2011), which is…