This Week's PW Reviews

Couple interesting books reviewed in this week’s “Publishers Weekly,” including the latest Lydie Salvayre book, Power of Flies.

Salvayre’s fifth novel to be translated into English is a tightly introspective series of first-person confessions by an arrogant murder convict whose life was transformed by reading Blaise Pascal. [. . .] The novel seethes in a classically dark, French way.

“A classically dark, French way”—nice. This is a book we’d love to review if anyone from Dalkey Archive happens to be reading this blog.

(In the issue of full disclosure, this was another Dalkey book I helped acquire while I was there. I’m a big fan of Salvayre’s—especially The Company of Ghosts and The Award.)

Another Dalkey book reviewed this week is Place Names by Jean Ricardou, translated by Jordan Stump, and which sounds wild and promising.

A little bit Borges and a little bit Calvino, French postmodernist Ricardou’s newly translated 1969 novel proves a circuitous trek through a fictive landscape of eight metaphorically named places. Bannière, Beaufort, Belarbre, Belcroix, Cendrier, Chaumont, Hautbois and Monteaux—each gets its own chapter, and each serves as a source from which language springs, along with the whimsically opaque plot.

The only other fiction translation reviewed in PW this week is Elling by Norwegian author Ingvar Ambjørnsen, which is called a “heartening work.” And for that, I’ll leave this book to someone else to get excited about.

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