What does it mean to make an accounting of a past you can't fully remember? This elegiac dilemma is one of Karl Ove Knausgaard's primary subjects—the difference between how we think about life and its actual moment-by-moment reality. Time changes our perspective: The terrifying tyrant becomes the shrunken Lear; the large, animated rooms of our childhood become small and plain.
The narrator of Every Day Is for the Thief is a young Nigerian American on a trip home to Lagos. In this reissue of Teju Cole's first novel, originally published in Nigeria in 2007, the backdrop often feels like the foreground.
Near the outset of The Skin, Curzio Malaparte’s novel about Naples following its occupation by Allied forces in October 1943, the author drily notes that it is harder to lose a war than to win it: “While everyone is good at winning a war, not all are capable of losing one.” Three hundred and
Marcos Giralt Torrente’s short-story collection The End of Love is haunted by an ellipsis. There it is in the first story, “We Were Surrounded by Palm Trees,” right where the eye rests, intervening with a pause before we’ve even read the opening lines: “. . . I remember when it started. There
By now, chances are good you’ve read a thing or two about Dave Eggers’s The Circle. There’s been some controversy about plagiarism (as if there’s no way two writers could happen on the idea that social media is bad); there’s been Eggers’s admission that he did no research for the novel; there
Historical fiction has always served as a partial exception to the widely accepted notion that a clear line divides literary fiction from its associates across the aisle in crime, science fiction and fantasy, romance, and so forth. Many of the canonically anointed authors of the European realist
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901–1962) endured one of the most thoroughgoing modernization drives of the twentieth century—Kemal Atatürk’s revolution in Turkey, which left few areas of cultural life untouched. Over several years in the 1920s, Atatürk completed an aggressive Westernizing campaign
An Arabic poem about Baghdad, like a Hebrew poem about Jerusalem, inevitably evokes the collective memory that binds the place, the language, and its people together. Iraq’s 1,251-year-old capital was built by a Muslim empire that held the torch of civilization in the eighth and ninth centuries.
This is not a book I would normally read; I rarely read mysteries, and the title, Gone Girl, is irritating on its face. I bought it anyway because two friends recommended it with enormous enthusiasm, and because I was curious about its enormous popularity: the millions of copies sold, the impending