Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Donna Leon's "The Girl of His Dreams" review

"Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries have won legions of fans for their evocative portraits of Venetian life. In her novels, food, family, art, history, and local politics play as central a role as an unsolved crime." - Powells

The Girl of His Dreams finds Brunetti in a particularly contemplative mood following the death of his mother. So, when the body of a young Gypsy girl floats to the surface of a canal, Brunetti cannot help but reflect upon his own maturing daughter. As the case becomes more complex and mired in the prejudices and short-sightedness of contemporary bureaucracy, Brunetti fears that nothing hopeful will ever happen. This outing from Leon offers the depth and sensitivity which make her a must-read.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gonzalo Celorio's "And Let the Earth Tremble at Its Centers"

Mexican author Gonzalo Celorio makes his English-language debut with this translation of his widely-recognized contemporary masterpiece. And Let the Earth Tremble at Its Centers is a ghost walk through the forgotten center of Mexico City. Harking back to the flanĂȘurs of yore, Professor Juan Manuel tours the bars of the city center that are threatening to disappear before his eyes as Mexico City prepares for another millennial flux. This bawdy and boozy read should inspire your own nostalgia; don’t be caught without a drink.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yoko Ogawa's "The Housekeeper and the Professor" Review

I was actually astonished by the difference between The Housekeeper and the Professor and Yoko Ogawa’s English-language debut, The Diving Pool. Where the earlier work masterfully created a malevolent world out of a penetrating and precise vision of human discomfiture, Housekeeper displays an equally acute sense of human potential for love and connection in the face of remarkable odds. To describe this novel as sweet somehow seems to rob of it of its considerable tension, but it is certainly graceful.

- LaTissia

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Javier Calvo's "Wonderful World" book review

Spanish literary sensation Javier Calvo’s English-language debut Wonderful World ricochets between genres like a pinball machine: noir, horror movies, comic books and psychedelic rock. Citing Stephen King as an influence, Calvo possesses the same easy manner of storytelling and the same ability to keep the reader enthralled. Given the amount of El Topo-like violence, perhaps it’s better to think of Wonderful World as a midnight movie in book-form.