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“Melville: A Novel” by Jean Giono

Melville by Jean Giono Translated from the French by Paul Eprile 108 pgs. | pb | 9781681371375 | $14.00 NYRB Review by Brendan Riley   In The Books in My Life (1952), Henry Miller, devoting an entire chapter to French writer Jean Giono (1895-1970), boasts about spending “several years. . . . preaching the ...

“Odd Jobs” by Tony Duvert

Odd Jobs by Tony Duvert Translated from the French by S. C. Delaney & Agnés Potier 56 pgs. | pb | 9781939663290 | $11.95 Wakefield Press Review by Kaija Straumanis   I've long been a fan of Wakefield Press, ever since I first read Pataphysical Essays by René Daumal, though I don't get to read nearly as ...

“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, ...