bythefirelight

Tenth of December by George Saunders – A Review

Tenth of December George Saunders Random House, 2013, pg 251 It has been some time since I’ve read a book of short stories from an American writer and enjoyed them. For some reason I’ve had some back luck-that and I’m tired of reading about middle class problems, or, at least, the ones that I find […]

Jorge Volpi Has a New Book

The Mexican author Jorge Volpi has a new novel, Memorial del engaño (The Memorial of a Fraud). It is a political-economic novel with various narrative games, including the use of an alternate J. Volpi as narrator. Así, la novela no la escribe él, sino un tal J. Volpi, nacido en Nueva York en 1953 y […]

April Words Without Borders: Writing from South Korea Out Now

The April Words Without Borders: Writing from South Korea is out now: This month we’re spotlighting South Korea. Although the country is among the ten largest book markets in the world, relatively few of its writers have been translated into English, and many emerging writers were largely unknown outside South Korea. Kyung-sook Shin’s Man Asian […]

Going to the Emerald City Comic Con

I read comics as a kid, mostly war. As an adult I read graphic novels from authors like Joe Sacco. Sure, I know who most of the big name super heroes are and I’ve seen more than my share of Star Trek, but superheros, sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming are not really my thing. Superheroes have […]

The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War – A Review

The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War Peter Englund Peter Englund’s The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War is the history of World War I told from the perspective of 20 average participants. Combing the diaries, letters, and published memoirs of soldiers and […]

The Future of the Novel: Spanish Language Writers Interviewed

El Pais has an article that asks Spanish Writers what the future of the Novel is: Uno de los escritores que hace seis años señaló al horizonte fue el mexicano Jorge Volpi. Él empieza a despejar ese territorio al decir que “hoy los escritores de América Latina ya no parecen obligados a tocar ciertos temas […]

A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918 Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front – A Review

A Storm in Flanders: The Ypres Salient, 1914-1918 Tragedy and Triumph on the Western Front Winston Groom I never imagined I would read a book by the author of Forest Gump, let alone liking it, but Winston Groom’s history of the Ypres Salient in World War I is a good readable account of the battles […]

Técnicas de iluminación (Illumination Techniques) by Eloy Tizón

Técnicas de iluminación (Illumination Techniques) Eloy Tizón Páginas de Espuma, 2013, pg 163 Spanish author Eloy Tizón’s Técnicas de iluminación (Illumination Techniques) is the most aptly name collection of short stories I have read for some time, one that not only describes what he is trying to do as a writer, but also what the […]

The End of Love by Marcos Giralt Torrente – A Review

The End of Love Marcos Giralt Torrente Tran: Kathline Silver McSweeny’s, 2013, 163 pg The End of Love is Marcos Giralt Torrente’s winning entry in the 2012 Ribera del Duero prize for the short story competition. Handily translated by Kathline Silver, it is simply one of the better collections I have read in sometime. I […]

New Words Without Borders: March 2014 – Writing from Venezuela

March 2014 Words Without Borders featuring writing from Venezuela is out now. This month we present fiction and poetry from Venezuela. The current crisis has thrown this often-overlooked country into the spotlight; the writers included here put the protests in context and demonstrate the richness of Venezuelan literature. Alberto Barrera Tyszka brings the curtain down […]

La Puerta Entreabierta (The Half-Open Door) by Fernanda Kubbs aka Cristina Fernandez Cubas – A Review

La Puerta Entreabierta (The Half-Open Door) Fernanda Kubbs (Cristina Fernandez Cubas) Tusquets, 2013, 221 pg La Puerta Entreabierta (The Half-Open Door) is Cristina Fernandez Cubas’ latest book and finds her assuming a pen name, Fernanda Kubbs, to create a much more fantastical novel that celebrates famous stories of mystery while creating her own. Cubas’s work […]

The Velocipedist Social Club by Norberto Luis Romero At Contemporary Argentine Writers

Contemporary Argentine Writers has published a translation of The Velocipedist Social Club by Norberto Luis Romero. You should give it a read. Along the town’s main street, there were no more than 400 meters from his home to the fledgling Velocipedist Social Club and Mr. Garcia walked them with his head held high and his […]

Words Without Borders Featuring International Graphic Novels Out Now

My favorite yearly issue of Words Without Borders is out now featuring International Graphic Novels: February brings our annual showcase of the international graphic novel. On topics ranging from Korean genocide to an inside view of French bloviation, love and intrigue in Mexico to mistaken identity in Israel, these artists delineate character and plot in […]

Latino Authors in the United States – an Overview from El Pais

El Pais had an article this week about Latino authors in the United States. I’m familiar with some of the names Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Cisneros, Anaya, José Antonio Villarreal, among others. It is an interesting article, more list than anything else and a good place to start if you are interested in Latino authors. Many of […]

José Emilio Pacheco, Mexican Writer, Has Died

The Mexican poet and novelist José Emilio Pacheco has died after a fall. He was 74. He might be best known as the writer of The Battles in the Desert. You can read the notice from El Pais: El poeta mexicano José Emilio Pacheco ha muerto este domingo en la Ciudad de México según ha […]

My Review of On Leave by Daniel Anselme is up at Three Percent

My review of Daniel Anselme’s On Leave is up at Three Percent. The book is a lost novel from the 1950′s that takes on France’s war with Algeria: In 1957, Daniel Anselme published On Leave, a novel about three soldiers on leave from the Algerian War. At that point during the war, only two of […]

Interview with Carlos Yushimito at el Pais

El Pais has an interesting interview with Carlos Yushimito over his new book of short stories, Los bosques tienen sus propias puertas (Demipage), and his writing process in general. R. Exacto, ya no tenía ese pudor de la cercanía. Me da autosuficiencia para escribir y estar en ese borde de lo que puede ser verdad y […]

The Short Story The Contest by Liliana Heker at Contemporary Argentine Writers

Contemporary Argentine Writers has published a new short story from Liliana Heker. She is an Argentine writer that I am quite unfamiliar. The contest, said the woman from the bank, would be open only to local bank employees and their families; he would certainly discover, she assured him, some shoo-ins among them. Remus’ mind lingered […]

Carmen Amoraga Wins the Nadal Prize

Carmen Amoraga has won the Nadal Prize for her book La vida era eso. The book is about a woman who loses her husband and finds solace in becoming friends with her late husband’s internet friends. En la novela de Amoraga, la pérdida, tras una larga enfermedad del marido, deja sola a una mujer en […]

The Best Spanish Language Books of 2013

Lists of the best Spanish language books have been starting to appear in the Spanish press and blogs. The hands down winner is En la orilla’ by Chirbes and has appeared on the three lists I mention here. It is the big novel of the economic crises and special currency in Spain. You can read […]