REVIEW: NAONDEL, BY MARIA TURTSCHANINOFF, TRANSLATED BY A.A. PRIME (2017)

TW: rape. From the very first page, we know how Naondel ends: seven women escape a life of imprisonment and oppression by sailing away on the eponymous boat; they live the rest of their lives on a magical island; on the island they create a feminist utopia where women and girls from across the world find … Continue reading REVIEW: NAONDEL, BY MARIA TURTSCHANINOFF, TRANSLATED BY A.A. PRIME (2017)

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DOUBLE REVIEW: THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN AND THE READ THREADS OF FORTUNE, BY JY YANG (2017)

Mokoya and Akeha are twins, children of the Full Lands' ruthless ruler, Lady Sanao Hekate. Mokoya is the incandescent core burning beneath the earth, Akeha the lightning splitting open the sky. Mokoya can see the future, Akeha can stop the heart of flying leviathans. Mokoya becomes her mother's official Prophet, an unwilling instrument of dictatorial … Continue reading DOUBLE REVIEW: THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN AND THE READ THREADS OF FORTUNE, BY JY YANG (2017)

REVIEW: UNDER THE TRIPOLI SKY, BY KAMAL BEN HAMEDA, TRANSLATED BY ADRIANA HUNTER (2014)

For the majority of my existence, I have preferred the company of women to that of other men. I'm not going to speculate or philosophise about the reasons behind this, as it's difficult not to fall into generalisations, and this is a book review blog, not an exercise in armchair self-psychologising. It's just, this is … Continue reading REVIEW: UNDER THE TRIPOLI SKY, BY KAMAL BEN HAMEDA, TRANSLATED BY ADRIANA HUNTER (2014)

REVIEW: STEPHEN FLORIDA, BY GABE HABASH (2017)

Stephen Florida is a genuinely good book. It's funny, and strange, and compelling. It looks at the obscure world of North Dakota college wrestling. Perhaps the author's greatest achievement is the way he describes wrestling matches: not by showing off all the research he did on the correct terminology, not by tediously compiling a list … Continue reading REVIEW: STEPHEN FLORIDA, BY GABE HABASH (2017)

REVIEW: MARESI, BY MARIA TURTSCHANINOFF, TRANSLATED BY ANNIE PRIME (2016)

From the start, we know not everything will be alright. Maresi, the novel's eponymous young narrator, tells us that she does not want to bring it all up again--the smell of blood, the sound of crunching bone--and that it is difficult to talk about death. Nevertheless, she must write, so that the events she witnessed, … Continue reading REVIEW: MARESI, BY MARIA TURTSCHANINOFF, TRANSLATED BY ANNIE PRIME (2016)

REVIEW: MCGLUE, BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH (2014)

Ottessa Moshfegh does not seem to have a very high opinion of human beings. And she's also very much interested in bodily functions. Her stories are peopled with horrible people doing disgusting things. And McGlue is no exception. The titular character is a sailor who may or may not have murdered his best friend, another sailor … Continue reading REVIEW: MCGLUE, BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH (2014)

DOUBLE REVIEW: GHACHAR GHOCHAR AND THE MUSSEL FEAST

A family whirring away like clockwork, day in day out, everybody with their specified roles and functions, everybody more or less happy to be a smaller part within a collective--until an unexpected interruption of their normal rhythms exposes the sinister nature of what keeps the machinery going. This description could apply both to Vivek Shanbhag's … Continue reading DOUBLE REVIEW: GHACHAR GHOCHAR AND THE MUSSEL FEAST

#WITMONTH UNTRANSLATED: TROTULA, BY PAOLA PRESCIUTTINI (2014)

Though it's been going on since 2014, this August has been my first time celebrating Women in Translation Month (#witmonth), both as a blogger and as a human being. I've done this by exclusively reading and reviewing works by women in translation, and it's been great. I've read a love story where the lovers' gender … Continue reading #WITMONTH UNTRANSLATED: TROTULA, BY PAOLA PRESCIUTTINI (2014)

#WITMONTH REVIEW: JAGANNATH, BY KARIN TIDBECK, TRANSLATED BY KARIN TIDBECK (2012)

August is Women in Translation Month (#WITMonth), so I'm only reviewing books by women in translation. In Jagannath's title story, Karin Tidbeck imagines a postapocalyptic future where humans have forged a symbiotic alliance with gigantic caterpillars. The caterpillars constantly roam the earth in search of sustenance, and the humans live inside them: men--who have become … Continue reading #WITMONTH REVIEW: JAGANNATH, BY KARIN TIDBECK, TRANSLATED BY KARIN TIDBECK (2012)