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)