“Forgotten Reflections” tells two stories: one of feisty village girl Iseul, trying to survive during the Korean War, and the other of her granddaughter Jia, who goes on a quest to find out about her dying grandmother’s past instead of studying for her end-of-school exams like the dutiful, obedient girl her mother wants her to […]Read more "“Forgotten Reflections” by Young-Im Lee"
What a fabulous find! I’d never read any Estonian literature before encountering this book, so naturally I jumped at the chance. It’s the late 1690s, and Laurentius Hylas, accompanied only by his parakeet Clodia, has come from Lieden, where he ran into trouble at the university there for his unusual views, to the University of […]Read more "“The Willow King” by Meelis Friedenthal, trans. Matthew Hyde"
In “The Hideout,” a Czech engineer writes letters to his wife, Hanichka, from his hiding place in occupied France. In them, he describes how he went to Paris in 1939 without her knowledge in order to chase after another woman, only to be trapped there when the Nazis, who have taken Czechoslovakia, declare him a […]Read more "“The Hideout” by Egon Hostovsky"
“The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” followed the life of Chye Hoon, a strong-willed Nyonya girl who becomes the matriarch of her mixed-heritage family in early 20th-century Malaysia. “When the Future Comes Too Soon” picks up shortly after where “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” left off, with the death of Chye Hoon. Now the […]Read more "“When the Future Comes Too Soon” by Selina Siak Chin Yoke"
Impoverished laborer Ombima steals from his employer’s garden in order to put food on his family’s table. This action leads to his involvement in a forbidden affair, and a downward spiral into greed, jealousy, and backstabbing. That synopsis notwithstanding, “Forbidden Fruit” is less a tightly plotted tale of lust and revenge, and more a brief […]Read more "“Forbidden Fruit” by Stanley Gazemba"
Iceland is one of those romantic destinations that you hear a lot about, but how often do you actually get to experience Icelandic culture? For all its popularity as a tourist spot, there’s very little Icelandic literature available to the average reader; so little, in fact, that I went into this collection, my first foray […]Read more "“Out of the Blue: New Short Fiction from Iceland”"
Zakhar Prilepin represents much of what is confusing and contradictory about contemporary Russia. And on the other hand, it’s all absolutely simple. He’s a pro-Stalinist member of the anti-Putin opposition, a writer who exposes the dark side of modern Russian life while volunteering in the army of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic. Western readers […]Read more "“Sin” by Zakhar Prilepin"