Magazine article World Literature Today

Nota Bene

Magazine article World Literature Today

Nota Bene

Article excerpt

Bernardo Atxaga

Seven Houses in France

Margaret Jul I Costa, tr.

Graywolf Press

A diversion from Basque subject matter, the latest novel of Bernardo Atxaga depicts the spiritual darkness of the colonial Belgian Congo. A military captain pursues his poetic ambitions, and his fellow soldiers exploit the locals until the arrival of a new officer breaks the twisted mold. Translator Margaret Jull Costa recently won the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize.

Celeste Augé

Fireproof and Other Stories

Doire Press

In her debut collection of short fiction, Augé creates poignant and accurate outlines of women and their places in the world. Against the background of modern Ireland, she tells the stories of adolescents and mothers who must negotiate their identities while they aim for the elusive goal of happiness. Her writing is highly personal and rich in dialogue that animates her characters.

Alessandro Baricco

Emmaus

Ann Goldstein, tr.

McSweeney's Books

In frank and gripping language, Baricco reveals the lives and psychologies of four young men from declining families who desperately desire the same woman. As his characters progress toward adulthood, he illustrates the ambiguities, failures, and pitfalls of maturity with engaging style. Ann Goldstein's translation from Italian aptly captures the story's message and manner.

Pat Bo ra η

The Next Life

Dedalus Press

Boran surveys death, childhood, and the plentiful literary resources of his own backyard in his latest collection of poems. His language is simple and apt, easing the reader into vivid images of his Irish setting and outlining the roles of father and child with charming wit. Boran treats subjects as grave as mortality and faith with calm, musical elegance.

André Brink

Philida

Vintage International

Brink's latest novel, a finalist for the Man Booker Prize, recalls his role as a commentator on the racial dynamics that have characterized the dark history of South Africa. He tells the story of a female slave, connected to her owners by family ties, who protests against mistreatment and abandons her position of subservience just as the tides begin to turn.

The Chalk Circle: Intercultural

Prizewinning Essays

Tara L. Masih, ed.

Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

The essays of The Chalk Circle explore what it means to be intercultural both externally and internally-a particularly important consideration in a connected world full of increasingly intercultural individuals. The contributors illuminate themes of war, culture, racism, and "the other" from various vantage points, and their amalgamated vision is educational and resonant.

Michelle Cohen Corasanti

The Almond Tree

Garnet Publishing

The Almond Tree presents an insightful perspective on the questions of Palestinian exile and survival that haunt the Middle East. Through a captivating narrative, Corasanti conjures up the struggles of a Palestinian family and the disrupted youth of a gifted adolescent. Although only her first novel, this offering promises a bright future for Corasanti as a modern Jewish American storyteller.

Martin Egblewogbe

Mr Happy and the Hammer of God

& Other Stories

Ayebia Clarke Publishing

Egblewogbe's punchy language ushers readers through a hazily African landscape in which they encounter religion, sex, and the psyche from original perspectives. Produced by an author who also teaches physics, this collection spreads out beyond African themes to become truly universal. The stories are often surreal and always indicative of their author's joy in writing.

Annie Ernaux

A Man's Place

Tanya Leslie, tr.

Seven Stories Press

Ernaux's brief autobiography appeals to familial sentiment and poignant nostalgia as its author explores her changing relationship with her father. She follows his evolution from peasant to shopkeeper and the pitfalls of status, education, and language that accompany his supposed growth. …

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