21 July 15 | Kaija Straumanis

The latest addition to our Reviews section is by J. T. Mahany on The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura, translated by Gerald Gillespie, and published by University of Chicago Press.

J. T. is a graduate of the University of Rochester’s MALTS program, and is currently in the MFA program at Arkansas. He’s also the translator of two of “Open Letter’s Volodine books”:http://www.openletterbooks.org/collections/antoine-volodine—_Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons_ (May 2015) and Bardo or Not Bardo (forthcoming April 2016).

Here’s the beginning of J. T.‘s review:

Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt soliloquies in miasmic graveyards, a pregnant nun is entombed alive for her sins of the flesh. These events, and a cornucopia more like them, are all delivered to us through the eyes of the watchman Kruezgang as he makes his rounds in a nineteenth-century German town. The sixteen chapters, each comprising a separate nightwatch, and labeled as such (i.e., “Nightwatch 1. The Freethinker,” etc.), were originally published in 1804, to little public fanfare.

For the rest of the review, go here.


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