November 15, 2011 For the first time, Witold Gombrowicz's 1967 Polish novel Cosmos has been translated directly into English. Wordplay and aphorisms don't get lost in the translation of this feathery existential crisis — in which two men obsessively hunt down the person responsible for the death of a sparrow.
November 10, 2011 With siblings like William and Henry James, it's easy to be forgotten. But Alice James, the sickly younger sister of two famously brilliant minds, has proved herself unforgettable. In Jean Strouse's biography Alice James, the author revisits a woman who had a salty wit, but a chronic cold.
October 9, 2011 Paule Constant's novel, first published in France in 1981, has finally been translated into English. Nine-year-old Tiffany is alone in the world; her parents, French colonialists living in Africa, have sent her back to France alone to live and be schooled at the aptly named Convent for Slaughterhouse Ladies.
September 15, 2011 The small town Magdalena Tulli imagines in her quirky new novel is inhabited by strapping young soldiers, fair maidens, oligarchs and one notable insomniac — all of whom behave in the most unexpected ways.
June 30, 2011 Andrzej Stasiuk brings wise eyes and an immense curiosity to the forgotten corners of Europe in On the Road to Babadag.
June 27, 2011 Jesse Ball's latest novel follows an "epitaphorist" who writes copy for gravestones in an ominous police state. Reviewer Jessa Crispin says that while Ball's prose is skillful, the details he slyly omits are even more compelling.
May 31, 2011 Originally published in 1937, Irmgard Keun's novel After Midnight chronicles the German citizenry's obliviousness to a nation's plunge into madness.
May 18, 2011 Do powerful women tend to be failures at love? South American novelist Luisa Valenzuela reflects on this and other mysteries in a sometimes raunchy, but always candid, new memoir.
May 4, 2011 David Albahari's Leeches is a full-steam-ahead, 300-page run-on paragraph told energetically by a nameless narrator. Set in Belgrade in the late 1990s, the novel peers into the dark currents flowing just beneath the surface of human experience.
April 22, 2011 A year before Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique made way for a change in how women viewed their lives, The Pumpkin Eater gave a searing glimpse of unhappy married domesticity. Wickedly funny, it said many things that women were told to keep quiet about in that era.
April 11, 2011 In an ancient Greek tale, Clytemnestra kills her husband, Agamemnon, after he sacrifices their daughter, Iphigenia. New Yorker journalist Janet Malcolm spots parallels in a case from a Forest Hills, N.Y., courtroom. Her telling of the case shakes and disturbs you like the smartest nonfiction can.
March 29, 2011 Marjorie Garber says books are labeled as dangerous "precisely because [they] can enrich the mind, challenge, disturb, and change one's thinking." In her new book, she traces the historical tendency to label new literary phenomena as 'trash', only to later see it become a revered classic.
February 24, 2011 Kornel Esti, by the late Hungarian author Dezso Kosztolanyi, tells the story of a man's epic life in the words of his doppelganger — from night train rides through Bulgaria to Central Europe ravaged by World War II.
January 20, 2011 A writer's chance encounter with Vyacheslav Molotov's personal library leads to an encompassing, poetic and creative portrait of Russia's history and present.
November 16, 2010 During the Nuremberg trials, a collection of key witnesses — including former Nazis and resistance fighters — lived together in a single house. In The Witness House, Christiane Kohl turns a potentially melodramatic historical moment into a moving and suspenseful portrait of reconciliation.