Posts

Showing posts from October, 2015

Nadja Spiegel - Constructing virtuoso depictions of life in a style that lets them get right under your skin, Spiegel's precise, brittle, seemingly straightforward prose paints a vibrant picture of human compromise and cooperation with both humor and restraint

Image
Nadja Spiegel, Sometimes I Lie and Sometimes I Don't, Trans. by Rachel McNicholl, Dalkey Archive Press, 2015.


Love, injury, deception, uncertainty, and self-sacrifice: debut author Nadja Spiegel is hardly the first person to write about these things, but the way she has written about them is incomparable. Constructing virtuoso depictions of life in a style that lets them get right under your skin, Spiegel's precise, brittle, seemingly straightforward prose paints a vibrant picture of human compromise and cooperation with both humor and restraint. Bittersweet, made up of just a few simple strokes, these stories herald the arrival of an important new voice in European literature.


Austrian author Nadja Spiegel’s debut collection of experimental short stories, Sometimes I Lie and Sometimes I Don’t, describes individuals struggling to retain their senses of individuality. In the coy story, “lisa and elias and me,” Ines involves herself in a casual sexual relationship with the same …

Fran Ross - a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist, immersed in seventies pop culture, and mixing standard English, black vernacular, and Yiddish with wisecracking aplomb

Image
Fran Ross, Oreo, New Directions; Reprint ed, 2015.[1974.]


read it at Google Books


A pioneering, dazzling satire about a biracial black girl from Philadelphia searching for her Jewish father in New York City
Oreo is raised by her maternal grandparents in Philadelphia. Her black mother tours with a theatrical troupe, and her Jewish deadbeat dad disappeared when she was an infant, leaving behind a mysterious note that triggers her quest to find him. What ensues is a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist, immersed in seventies pop culture, and mixing standard English, black vernacular, and Yiddish with wisecracking aplomb. Oreo, our young hero, navigates the labyrinth of sound studios and brothels and subway tunnels in Manhattan, seeking to claim her birthright while unwittingly experiencing and triggering a mythic journey of self-discovery like no other.


The first time I read Fran Ross’s hilarious, badass novel, “Oreo,” I was living on Fort G…

Driss ben Hamed Charhadi - He was an illiterate shepherd and petty drug trafficker in Tangier. The book relates the story of Charhadi’s life in a fatalistic and unsentimental manner.

Image
Driss ben Hamed Charhadi, ALife full of Holes:A Novel Recorded and Translated by Paul Bowles, Harper Perennial, 2008.


One of the most unusual literary innovations ever produced, A Life Full of Holes is the result of a singular collaboration between two remarkable individuals: Driss ben Hamed Charhadi, an illiterate North African servant and street vendor, and legendary American novelist and essayist Paul Bowles. The powerful story of a shepherd and petty trafficker struggling to maintain hope as he wrestles with the grim realities of daily life, it is the first novel ever written in the Arabic dialect Moghrebi, faithfully recorded and translated into English by Bowles. Straightforward yet rich in complex emotions, it is a fascinating inside look at an unfamiliar culture—harsh and startling, yet interwoven with a poignant, poetic beauty.


The author of this book, Driss ben Hamed Charhadi, is an illiterate house servant in Tangier, Morocco. Despite his qualifications for the "Most …

Elena Poniatowska "reports"" the life story falling somewhere between fact and fiction, and based on a series of interviews of a poverty-stricken but amazingly independent woman

Image
Elena Poniatowska,Here's to You, Jesusa!, Trans. by Deanna Heikkinen,Penguin Books, 2002. [1969.]
Chapter One

A remarkable novel that uniquely melds journalism with fiction, by Elena Poniatowska, the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Cervantes Prize

Jesusa is a tough, fiery character based on a real working-class Mexican woman whose life spanned some of the seminal events of early twentieth-century Mexican history. Having joined a cavalry unit during the Mexican Revolution, she finds herself at the Revolution's end in Mexico City, far from her native Oaxaca, abandoned by her husband and working menial jobs. So begins Jesusa's long history of encounters with the police and struggles against authority. Mystical yet practical, undaunted by hardship, Jesusa faces the obstacles in her path with gritty determination.
Here in its first English translation, Elena Poniatowska's rich, sensitive, and compelling blend of documentary and fiction provides a unique perspective on history…