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 […]

My Best in Books 2010

As usual, I’m posting my favorite books of the year at year-end. Given that I tend to do a lot of reading over the holidays, I fear that if I do it too early there’s a chance I’ll miss THE book. That didn’t happen this year. In fact, I wasn’t really overwhelmed by anything this […]

Book Review: Death as a Side Effect by Ana María Shua

Dystopian literature stems from no particular geographic boundaries. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell were British, Margaret Atwood is Canadian, Philip K. Dick and Kurt Vonnegut were American. Thus, while Ana María Shua sets Death as a Side Effect in her native Argentina, the conditions that beset that future society are perhaps universally possible.

Survival is […]

Translated lit good, Amazon evil?

As I noted last weekend, Amazon is now helping fund the Best Translated Book Awards. That, however, has led to a bit of a tempest involving a couple of my favorite organizations.

Melville House announced this week that it is going to withdraw from any future involvement with the awards. Dennis Johnson says it is […]