Book Review: The Druggist of Auschwitz by Dieter Schlesak

“A human being, like a dog, can get used to anything!”

So says Adam Salmen, a fictional narrator in Dieter Schlesak’s The Druggist of Auschwitz: A Documentary Novel. But what Salmen and others imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II got “used to” is staggering, so much so that it continues to […]

Book Review: My Friend Jesus Christ by Lars Husum

Seeking redemption, let alone finding it, can be a long and tortuous path. But what happens if Jesus Christ — or at least a man claiming to be Jesus Christ — is making suggestions here and there? That’s the road on which Nikolaj Jensen is set in Danish writer Lars Husum’s first novel, My Friend […]

Book Review: Cain by José Saramago

In an Oxford lecture earlier this year, literary critic James Wood suggested that the “New Atheists” might be well served by looking to the modern novel. He says atheists — and some Christian fundamentalists — insist too much on polemic literalism. Novels, he said, are a vehicle to explore theological arguments and make real the […]

Book Review: After Midnight by Irmgard Keun

It is difficult to conceive of coming of age in a society where politics permeates and controls all aspects of life, from relationships to what you say or do. Even firsthand accounts of life in places like Nazi Germany are limited because they can largely reflect only the perspective of the author. As a result, […]

Book Review: Pereira Maintains by Antonio Tabucchi

First-rate literature needs to succeed on more than one level. Regardless of the issues or themes a book may explore, they are irrelevant if the author doesn’t draw in and keep the reader with the story, characters or writing. Italian author Antonia Tabucchi’s Pereira Maintains, set in Portugal in the summer of 1938, succeeds on […]

Book Review: The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz by Jules Verne

You’re likely to get an odd look when someone asks what you’re reading and you tell them it’s the “new” Jules Verne novel. After all, Verne died 106 years ago and all of his work has been published. Yet therein is a tale itself.

The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz is a novel Verne hoped would […]