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“The Bottom of the Jar” by Abdellatif Laâbi

The Bottom of the Jar by Abdellatif Laâbi translated from the French by André Naffis-Sahely 220 pgs. | pb |9781935744603 | $17.00  Archipelago Books Reviewed by Brendan Riley   For English language readers, like this reviewer, whose literary sense of North Africa is delimited by periodic forays into the ...

“Island of Point Nemo” by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès

The Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès translated from the French by Hannah Chute 450 pgs. | pb | 9781940953625 | $17.95 Open Letter Books Reviewed by Katherine Rucker   The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can ...

The Hatred of Music

Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by the intersections Quignard unearths between the mind and the world of ...

“Twenty-One Cardinals” by Jocelyne Saucier

Twenty-One Cardinals by Jocelyne Saucier translated from the French by Rhonda Mullins 176 pgs. | pb |9781552453070 | $19.95 Coach House Books Reviewed by Natalya Tausanovitch   Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in ...

Bye Bye Blondie

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure of a trashy popular novel. The writing is straightforward, not overly literary, ...

Thérèse and Isabelle

I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side of the conversation through my office door, and never know what Tom’s ...

A Dilemma

In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the shell of a tortoise. The tortoise, of course, is ...