Posts

Adolfo Couve - Camondo, a painter, wakes up one morning in his studio with his head missing, it having been yanked from his body the night before. The cloudy jumps from one scene to another in decadent descriptive language are exhilarating, and it is never entirely clear what is really happening and what is fantasy

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Adolfo Couve, When I Think of My Missing Head, Trans. by Jessica Sequeira, Snuggly Books, 2018.


Camondo, a painter, wakes up one morning in his studio with his head missing, it having been yanked from his body the night before by Marieta, a model. This is a punishment from the gods, who have already taken away his artistic talent. Now, mysteriously resurrected but not quite intact, Camondo wanders about a seaside town wearing a Franciscan habit stolen from church in an attempt to disguise himself.
Published posthumously, When I Think of My Missing Head, by the Chilean painter and novelist Adolfo Couve, here translated for the first time into English by Jessica Sequeira, is a phantasmagorical literary experiment, an existential puzzle with pieces that fit together by secret logic. With tones that are gothic and surrealist, symbolist and magical, this is a highly original work of terror and fantasia.




This posthumous final work by Couve (1940–1998), a Chilean author and painter, is both …

Theresa Smith - 'L' reads like one woman’s desperate deconstruction of the world around her—tearing away assumptions, preferring a cosmic vantage point—all in order to better understand the very desperation that has inspired her deconstruction

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Theresa Smith, L, Expat Press, 2018.


An archaeological conclave stumbles on a possible skeleton key to unlocking space and time. The Biblical crucifixion is gleefully reimagined as a carnival of mistaken identities and archetypes. A nodal literary figure is resurrected and interrogated on the salacious subtext of his novel as canonical concordance is thrown into carnal upheaval. A chance encounter on public transit becomes a fulcrum of entropic derangement. A species of arcade-style games conceal a vicious intent. The mysteries of a fictional planet are explored. Faith, science, and all manner of human constructs and earthly intuition are tested by Theresa Smith’s otherworldly imagination. The human condition is laid bare through inversion and surgical inquiry. Curiosity is the engine that drives Theresa Smith, the quintessential voice in science fiction you can’t afford to sleep on, and the thrum of her electric heart the compass. Tune in to her signature madcap, boundary-defying inn…

János Pilinszky - A landscape like the bed of a wrinkled pit, with glowing scars, a darkness which dazzles. Dusk thickens. I stand numb with brightness blinded by the sun. This summer will not leave me

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János Pilinszky, The Desert of Love: Selected Poems, Trans. by Ted Hughes and János Csokits, Anvil Press Poetry; Revised & enlarged ed., 1989.






János Pilinszky (1921-1981) was a unique and compelling voice among the generation of European poets whose work bore first-hand witness to the horrors of war. The distinction of his poetry, as Ted Hughes argues, is both spiritual and artistic: `the desolation of [his] vision is equalled by its radiance'. The depth and power of Pilinszky's poetry are forcefully recreated in these memorable versions by János Csokits and Ted Hughes.
`The Desert of Love' is a revised edition of their earlier selection of his magnetic, intense and haunting poems. The added memoir by Pilinszky's close friend and associate Ágnes Nemes Nagy gives a major living Hungarian poet's view of his achievement.



The Desert of Love A bridge, and a hot concrete road -
the day is emptying its pockets,
laying out, one by one, all its possessions.
You are qui…

Aura Xilonen - It’s a crazy read. The language is wild, there are no chapters and the narrative is fragmented. Sometimes, in italics, there are flashbacks to Liborio’s childhood in Mexico and his swim across the Rio Grande into the US. In the ‘present’ Liborio lives a perilous existence threatened by street gangs, immigration cops, imminent starvation and worms

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Aura Xilonen, The Gringo Champion, Trans. by Andrea Rosenberg,  Europa Editions; Reprint edition, 2017.


Read an excerpt here at Words without Borders






The award-winning debut novel by young Mexican author Aura Xilonen, The Gringo Champion is a thrillingly inventive story about crossing borders that the Los Angeles Review of Books called "one of the must-read books of 2017."


Liborio has to leave Mexico, a land that has taught him little more than a keen instinct for survival. He crosses the Rio Bravo, like so many others, to reach "the promised land." And in a barrio like any other, in some gringo city, this illegal immigrant tells his story.
As Liborio narrates his memories we discover a childhood scarred by malnutrition and abandonment, an adolescence lived with a sense of having nothing to lose. In his new home, he finds a job at a bookstore. He falls in love with a woman so intensely that his fantasies of her verge on obsession. And, finally, he finds himself on …