Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, 2016)

A duel between Caravaggio and Quevedo, or how a tennis match connects worlds. Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue, Natasha Wimmer (Translator), Hardcover, 272 pages, Published February 9th 2016 by Riverhead Books (first published November 2013) Since when did people actually play tennis? And since when have tennis shoes been around, today the most socially acceptable and most… Continue reading Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, 2016)

The decollage we live in

It’s hard to explain, even to myself, why an artwork from more than fifty years ago can speak to our time without resorting to clichéd notions of the timelessness and universality of artistic language. I try to think of concrete experiences that can constitute a right mindset to write about Jacques Villegle, a Parisian artist… Continue reading The decollage we live in

Outlaws (Javier Cercas, 2014)

The fifty-eight-year-old Javier Cercas made his latest breakthrough outside of Spain with his novel "Anatomy of a Moment", which the most important Spanish daily newspaper "El Pais" named Book of the Year in 2009. The well-known Argentinian author Albert Manguel had praised this novel, which revolves around the failed military coup in 1981. It received… Continue reading Outlaws (Javier Cercas, 2014)

A romance in the provinces (Kornel Filipowicz, 2017)

I just read A romance of provinces (1960), by the Polish poet, novelist and screenwriter Kornel Filipowicz (1913-1990), who was for more than twenty years, and until his death, life partner (each one, in his house) by the poet Wislawa Szymborska (1923-2012), Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. The affinity of worlds and tones is… Continue reading A romance in the provinces (Kornel Filipowicz, 2017)

Throw Away Day

A new documentary on the life and work of abstract expressionism's invisible man, Clyfford Still and the quest to reclaim one of his paintings in an auction at the Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Sale A few minutes after four and the day slipped into darkness, signalling stagehands at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale to finalize… Continue reading Throw Away Day

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (2015)

Viet Thanh Nguyen's novel begins The Sympathizer with a riddle “I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man with two faces”. What is he? Might we ask. The line was spoken by a double agent working for the North Vietnamese Communists as well as for the United States during and shortly after the… Continue reading Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer (2015)

Tales for winter nights

Reading some of Olga Tokarczuk greatest hits Polish author Olga Tokarczuk once compared her books to music videos. This analogy applies both to her collection of short stories and novels: They are self-contained, and the narratives are dense and short, so there is not even a moment of digression. The narratives vividly construct imaginative vignettes of ordinary… Continue reading Tales for winter nights

Elena Ferrante’s Naples Tetralogy

From the chaos of history (n) and of life, literature extracts its own world - a formed, an ordered world? And what does this world have to do with that life? An old question that has always been answered, weighted and interpreted again and again. In Elena Ferrante's "saga" about the narrator Elena Greco, who… Continue reading Elena Ferrante’s Naples Tetralogy

The Buru Quartet (Pramoedya Ananta Toer 1980-1988)

The Buru Quartet refers to the the volumes Bumi Manusia ("This Earth of Mankind", 1980) , Anak Semua Bangsa ("Child of All Nations", 1980), Jejak Langkah ("Footsteps", 1985) and Rumah Kaca ("Glass House ", 1988). The books were banned by the regime of long time Indonesian president Suharto and his successor B.J. Habibie. The ban… Continue reading The Buru Quartet (Pramoedya Ananta Toer 1980-1988)

Literate Gangsters

"BY NIGHT IN CHILE" is another novel discovery by the great Chilean author Roberto Bolaño A mediocre Chilean poet, far more famous as a literary critic and priest, is dying. All his life he had been alone, Sebastián Urrutia Lacroix writes. He then proceeds to a monolithic paragraph of his laborious justification, in which it… Continue reading Literate Gangsters

Beauty is a wound (Eka Kurniawan, 2015)

Hi style is reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquéz and William Faulkner, says the New York Times Book Review. "Beauty is a Wound" by Eka Kurniawan is a wild and rousing nightmare about Indonesia's recent history. Eka Kurniawan, born 1975 in West Java, is not only novelist, screenwriter and blogger, but also comic artist. And you… Continue reading Beauty is a wound (Eka Kurniawan, 2015)

The Kingdom of this World (Alejo Carpentier, 2007)

The Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980) tells of the slave revolts in the Antilles during the French Revolution. Led by Macandal, a black man who can take the form of various animals, the slaves, headed by the bird-man Ti Noel, fight for their freedom; they pit their their belief on miracles and magic against the… Continue reading The Kingdom of this World (Alejo Carpentier, 2007)

Culture of Death in Yukio Mishima’s Novels

Portrait of a Japanese eccentric and poet and suicide victim, Yukio Mishima In the morning of November 25, 1970, dressed in a theatrical fantasy uniform and accompanied by four cadets of his theatrical fantasy private army, he captured the Commander of Japanese Civil Defense. He ordered that the soldiers of the 32nd Regiment should sit in… Continue reading Culture of Death in Yukio Mishima’s Novels

Ilaw Sa Hilaga (Lazaro Francisco, 1980)

The novel, Ilaw sa Hilaga (Northern Lights) was originally published  as "Bayang Nagpatiwakal" in 1931. It depicts the 1920s, during the American colonial period in the Philippines. By this time, the war for independence which started in 1896 had already subsided and the colony had entered into a delicate period of peace time. There is… Continue reading Ilaw Sa Hilaga (Lazaro Francisco, 1980)

No more love (Javier Marias, 2016)

"The older I get, the less certainty I have," said Spanish writer Javier Marías in a recent interview. Almost exactly twenty years ago, after the publication of the translation of his novel My Heart So White, he had been discovered by more English-speaking countries. More than six million copies of his novels, stories and essays translated into 34… Continue reading No more love (Javier Marias, 2016)

The Enchantress of Florence (Salman Rushdie, 2008)

The female figure in the cover of Salman Rushdie's eighth novel, the "Enchantress of Florence"  hints on the action that will unfold in the text. But before any of the action occurs, Rushdie loses himself in meandering narrative streams and meticulous details. The story begins at the end of the fifteenth century where we meet… Continue reading The Enchantress of Florence (Salman Rushdie, 2008)