Book Review: The Road by Vasily Grossman

Given American popular literature today, perhaps a person first seeing Vasily Grossman’s The Road on the bookshelves could be excused if they first wonder if it is vampire or zombie-laden mashup of Cormac McCarthy’s award-winning novel of the same name. Yet readers who actually pick up the book and explore it will discern that this […]

Book Review: Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo

Scandinavian crime fiction is the hot new wave, a new niche of bestsellers combining mystery, thrillers and, occasionally, social themes and history. Despite the buzz around fiction from Northern Europe, Red April, the first book by Peruvian author Santiago Roncagliolo to be translated into English, can stand its own in any comparison.

Red April is […]

Book Review: Brief Lives: Leo Tolstoy by Anthony Briggs

There is an art to researching and writing biographies — at least good biographies. Although a work’s length and the amount of independent or original research may suggest how deeply a biographer delves into his subject, it certainly isn’t determinative of quality. At the same time, it is a field where the shorter the book, […]

Book Review: The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

If someone mentions South America and Nazis, what comes to mind? For many, it’s the seemingly ubiquitous idea of Nazis escaping there after the war. While the concept has at least a few kernels of truth, it ignores or pushes aside events that swept up Latin America during the war.

South American writers, though, recognize […]

Book Review: Wolf Among Wolves by Hans Fallada

In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire distinguished between history and fable. The former, he said, is “the recital of facts represented as true” whereas fable is “the recital of facts of facts represented as fiction.” In terms of historiography, that is a fair distinction. In terms of grasping history, though, fiction may be as effective as […]