"Pity,” said Stephen Dedalus, one of the twentieth century’s original sad young literary men, is “the feeling which arrests the mind in the presence of whatsoever is grave and constant in human sufferings and unites it with the human sufferer.” Three such sufferers are featured in Keith
The Confessions of Max Tivoli, Andrew Sean Greer’s ornate, allegorical, and nearly universally praised second novel, proves a difficult act to follow, though The Story of a Marriage makes a sincere effort to do so. Like its predecessor, Greer’s third effort is an intelligent and generous expression
Usually, it’s pretty easy to ignore the glass wall that separates America’s rich and poor. Through an elaborate system of etiquette and authority, the division of the classes remains at once observed and discounted, with people of all stripes trudging through the same cities, even the same rooms,
The setup is almost a cliché. Thirty years after the love of his life left him for a wealthy, more promising man, Erneste finally receives the letter he has waited for in quiet desperation. Although he can think of nothing else, he resists opening it for two days. When he eventually reads it, it
In 1911, five members—father, mother, two sons, teenage daughter—of a family of six are murdered in their North Dakota home. Only a baby girl, whose crib is hidden from sight, survives the massacre. Four Indians selling handmade willow baskets stumble on the carnage; they are accused of the
In Yalo, published in Arabic in 2002, Elias Khoury combs the world of an imprisoned rapist during the violent forced confession of his crimes and of “the story of his life.” Yalo is a young man from Beirut’s Syriac Quarter who left the area as a teenager when the civil war escalated in 1976.
In her splendid debut novel, Blood Kin, Ceridwen Dovey offers a tale about the revolutionary overthrow of a dictatorship in an unnamed country. The exchange of power she describes isn’t specific to the totalitarian governments of, say, Latin America or Africa, nor is it a critique of the sad play
Yoko Ogawa has long been recognized as one of Japan’s best writers of the postwar generation. Yet this prolific author has never received a major English translation of her work, despite an oeuvre that includes more than twenty volumes of fiction and nonfiction. Stephen Snyder has finally undertaken
Turns out, it took a while for God to die. He lingered, barely coherent, through the first years of the last century, until He understood that modern poetry would happen. Then He seemed at peace and let go, knowing the universe would soon fill with imaginative new forms as poets reinvented the divine.
Tony D’Souza’s Whiteman, published in 2006, was widely praised for its treatment of, in Norman Rush’s words, “the paradoxes of Western aid-giving.” The book, D’Souza’s first, recounted the adventures and foibles of a white American man, Jack Diaz, in Ivory Coast during its recent civil war.