I’m Sarah Winstein-Hibbs – nicknamed “quantum Sarah” by Chad, who thinks my weird hyphenated last name sounds like some kind of subatomic particle – and I’m an English Literature major at University of Rochester. I’m interning at Open Letter this summer, so I’ll be posting on threepercent throughout June, July, and August. I had the great opportunity to write an upcoming review Liliana Heker’s The End of the Story, a shocking novel on the atrocity of the Argentinian Dirty War. Also watch for a joint review I’m writing with with super awesome co-star Sarah Young, on Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco’s haunting and lyrical new work, Emmaus.
A little bit about me: I love the arts, I love learning about different cultures, I love reading and writing and playing flute. I got interested in Open Letter when I took International Fiction last semester and read Kafka, Borges, Marquez, Nabokov, and Calvino. I’ve also studied Spanish literature and language, so Open Letter speaks to my interests in that regard, as well. Speaking of which, my big summer project will be reading and reviewing a forthcoming anthology of Spanish literature, featuring both renowned and newly-acclaimed authors. In the music realm, I’m a performer and avid fan of classical music. I also serve as co-artistic director for an exciting new project called Sound ExChange Orchestra, an innovative ensemble dedicated to the proliferation of classical music in contemporary American society (click here to read more!) I’m super excited to be involved in Open Letter this summer and am looking forward to sharing lots of good reads and good conversation with you all!
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .
While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry.
Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see. . .
The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the. . .
Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days.
It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then. . .