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Iran's Book of the Year Awards

On the one hand: yay, translation ! on the other: you have to wonder about a report on a national literary award headlined: Turkish translation of Shahnameh wins Iran's Book of the Year Award, as the Tehran Times has it, slightly misleadingly,...Show More Summary

Nocilla Experience review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Agustín Fernández Mallo's Nocilla Experience, the second in his 'Nocilla'-trilogy, recently out in English from Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Václav Havel’s Lessons on How to Create a “Parallel Polis”

The recent political earthquakes have found us intellectually and emotionally underprepared, even helpless. None of our usual categories (left, right, liberal, conservative, progressive, reactionary) and perspectives (class, race, gender) seem able to explain how a compulsive liar and serial groper became the world’s most powerful man. Show More Summary

Six Questions for Shelley Frisch on Reiner Stach and Franz Kafka

If you are a Kafka fan (or just a fan of great literary biographies), the translation of Reiner Stach’s enormous, three-part biography is something not to miss. Now that it has been translated into English by Shelley Frisch, the book offered English-language readers unparalleled insight into Kafka’s life, his world, his colleagues, his lovers, his Continue Reading

An interview with Natalie Diaz

What seems urgent to you right now in your writing life? And as a Mojave and Pima American, how do you handle, balance, or negotiate expectations that you are always… Continue reading ?

The world's most ridiculous library ?

??????? ???????, newly opened in St. Petersburg, is certainly an...impressive-looking private library, a cathedral (of some sorts) of books. It's also one that charges an entrance fee: '????????? ???????? ????????? — 7 000 ??????'. Yes,...Show More Summary

Tzvetan Todorov (1939-2017)

Tzvetan Todorov has passed away; see, for example, Sewell Chan's obituary in The New York Times. None of his work is under review at the complete review yet, but The Conquest of America (get your copy at Amazon.com) certainly impressed...Show More Summary

Stella Prize longlist

They've announced the longlist for the 2017 Stella Prize -- the A$50,000 "literary award that celebrates Australian women's writing". I haven't seen any of these, and most don't seem to have been published in the US yet; one hopes this...Show More Summary

On Poetry and Politics

Despite American poetry’s grand political past, such as Whitman’s hymns to democracy and human variety, and its ongoing achievements, some strains of American critical thought suffer from isolationism, at least… Continue reading ?

Citizenship (Part One)

I’m writing this post on Super Bowl Sunday, a semi-holiday (or day of observance, literally) that’s wholly American. And I’m thinking about what it means to be an American in… Continue reading ?

Eileen Huang wins Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

We’re pleased to announce that Eileen Huang, a junior at High Technology High School (Lincroft, NJ), took first place in this year’s Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers presented… Continue reading ?

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

They've announced the 2017 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants -- for 15 projects, in 13 different languages, each one subsidized to the tune of US$3,870. Quite a few of these don't have publishers yet, but one hopes this will help a few...Show More Summary

(More) Murakami in Korean

An interesting piece by Colin Marshall at the Los Angeles Review of Books' BLARB weblog, noting that Haruki Murakami Has More Books Out In Korean Than He Ever Will In English. The main reason for the disparity ? "Murakami Industries"...Show More Summary

The Executioner Weeps review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of another dark Frédéric Dard novel, The Executioner Weeps, forthcoming from Pushkin Press (and bless them for bringing these Dards out at a steady clip !). One of the recent...Show More Summary

Why We Chose It

“He Comes to Feed the Horses,” by Mary Terrier, appears in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of the Kenyon Review. Like every magazine that publishes short stories, we get a few dozen stories… Continue reading ?

On “Chen [No Middle Name] Chen”: Identity in Form

When I first encountered Chen Chen’s poem “Chen [No Middle Name] Chen,” another example of a poet engaged with the anagram as a formal construct (I have considered, in varying… Continue reading ?

When It’s Too Late to Stop Fascism, According to Stefan Zweig

The Austrian émigré writer Stefan Zweig composed the first draft of his memoir, “The World of Yesterday,” in a feverish rapture during the summer of 1941, as headlines gave every indication that civilization was being swallowed in darkness. Show More Summary

The Vatican’s Jude Law

  These days my Sunday ritual includes attending a small, intimate, contemplatively-inflected evening Mass and then getting home in time to watch the HBO series The Young Pope, created by… Continue reading ?

Refugees in America

Consider the distinctions between the words “expat,” “immigrant,” “refugee.” “Expat” suggests a cosmopolitan spirit and resources that allow mobility; to be an “immigrant” suggests some measure of need. A “refugee” is, by definition, desperate: he has been displaced from his home, has been rendered stateless, has few or no resources. Show More Summary

George Saunders Gets Inside Lincoln’s Head

Seekers of Presidential frisson cherish the synchronous deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, on July 4, 1826, a temporal thrill doubled by the date’s being the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Show More Summary

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