The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Daniela Hurezanu about Alex Epstein’s Lunar Savings Time, which is translated from the Hebrew by Becka Mara McKay and available from Clockroot Books.
Daniela Hurezanu has reviewed for us several times in the past, and here’s her official bio, courtesy of Words Without Borders:
Daniela Hurezanu has a Ph.D. in Romance languages and literatures and taught French for ten years at several universities in the United States. She has authored a book of literary criticism and scholarly articles in magazines such as The Romanic Review, Post-Scriptum.ORG, Orbis Litterarum, and Phréatique. She has published translations in Metamorphoses, Manoa, Field, Exquisite Corpse, New Orleans Review, and Circumference, and her original work has appeared or is forthcoming in LittéRéalité, Pacific Review and Prairie Schooner. In 2004 she received a Francophone award for short stories.
Even if we weren’t interested in Alex Epstein’s work (we are!), we’d review this based solely on our respect and admiration for Clockroot Books (stellar press) and Becka McKay (one of the friendliest and funniest and most talented of all contemporary translators). Here’s the opening of Daniela’s review:
Becka Mara McKay is slowly becoming one of our most reliable translators from the Hebrew. Her most recent translation, Lunar Savings Time (2011) comes as a counterpart to Blue Has no South (2010), both by Alex Epstein, and available from Clockroot Books. The two books complement each other not only physically, but also because they could be part of the same book. Published as “stories,” they would be probably categorized as prose poem or flash fiction collections by most American readers and writers.
The fact that, as in his previous book, the pieces in Epstein’s Lunar Savings Time are framed as “stories” is not unimportant because the framing forces the reader to adopt a certain position by focusing on the narrative thread. Indeed, with very few exceptions, all the pieces in this collection, no matter how short, “tell a story.” Even the exceptions could be called, technically speaking, “stories,” because there is something happening in them: “The last man in the world wrote the last haiku in the world;” or: “The ghost was still breastfeeding.”
There are two major influences that are obvious in this collection: Borges and Kafka. The references to Borges are indirect, and can be detected in a structure many of the pieces have, in which a story and its main protagonist become a tangent to another story with another protagonist, so that each story appears as the fragment of another, bigger story. On the other hand, Kafka’s name appears many times, as well as those of other famous real people, such as Heidegger, Stephen Hawking, Yuri Gagarin, Emily Dickinson, or mythological Greek heroes, which are appropriated in made-up contexts.
Click here to read the entire review.
Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .
The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .