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.
Maybe all small towns have it: the myth of the golden boy (or girl), the one with irresistible flair and hard-nosed ambition, the kid everyone knows will go on to succeed—or, at the very least, manage to move out of the county. For the little town of Monarch, New York, the setting of Eli Gottlieb
Historical fiction is the bastard child of the literary world. Too often the marriage of vivid characters, colorful locales, and actual events produces bodice rippers, romantic fodder dressed up in a well-researched package. It’s no doubt hard to pen a historical novel that doesn’t succumb to
Ronan Bennett’s fifth novel, Zugzwang, is populated by double agents, doppelgängers, counterpropagandists, agents provocateurs, and assassination conspirators so numerous and mutually entangled that you can’t tell them apart without two scorecards—one for their real identities, another for
The power of flies; they win battles, hinder our soul from acting, consume our body.” Blaise Pascal proposed this notion in Pensées, his seventeenth-century postconversion writings, which provide the intertext for Lydie Salvayre’s The Power of Flies, originally published in 1995 as La Puissance des