Patricia Highsmith is a literary wildcard. Her work may be considered amateurish by book snobs whose primary concern is high art, and too fully-formed for genre fans whose primary concern is entertainment. But I’ve gotten the impression that neither of these phenomena is the norm. Rather, it seems like readers generally love her for having […]

I discovered manga author Inio Asano years ago through one of the inter-language accidents of fate I love: I picked up Volume One of What a Wonderful World! in a used bookstore, translated from Japanese into French, in an edition that I can today not even find on At the time, I didn’t know anything about […]

Last year at the Milwaukee Festival of Films in French, I saw Tom à la ferme (Tom on the Farm), the new Xavier Dolan flick at the time. I enjoy the sharp visual appeal and colorful, intimate light of Dolan’s directorial style, and this was no exception. The previews made the movie look like something akin to Louis […]

Writing a novel is easy. That’s not my opinion. In fact, it goes against my own now-educated opinion, but it’s the impression you might come away with after reading Her Father’s Daughter by Marie Sizun. To be precise, I’m talking about the translation of Sizun’s novel by Adriana Hunter (who I’ve figured to the best of my […]

Whatever your opinion of Paul Auster, he’s an interesting guy. His translations, his autobiographical writings (like the endearingly funny Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure) and his novels (including The New York Trilogy, a surrealistic take on noir thrillers) all offer different pieces of what may not even be a single puzzle. While I […]

Recently, I had a dream that I believe was brought on, at least in part, by the recent English-language release of the novel Voroshilovgrad by Ukrainian lit superstar Serhiy Zhadan, translated by Riley-Costigan Humes and Isaac Wheeler for Deep Vellum Publishing. In this dream, I was working at a job I had years ago, only it wasn’t years ago, […]

You may have heard that a lot of English words come from French. That’s interesting in theory, but what would it actually look like if you could see it? What if you could see linguistic influences in colors, like an etymologist with synaesthesia? I started to wonder about this and also wondered what would happen […]

Every so often, an interesting book comes out of nowhere. In much the same way, the two main characters in PTG Man’s A Very Human Place are apt—or perhaps more accurately, doomed—to appear unannounced in town after town and sow their own weird brand of destruction. Samil and Lilit (otherwise known as Sam and Lil) […]

Edith Wharton was a brilliant writer whose work remains relevant today. House of Mirth explored the constraints of economic and social structures in her own branch of New York high society in a believable and intriguing way. However, to tell it like it is, she had a tendency to put her characters through arguably unnecessary shit. […]

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer is dead, and all I can think about is how stupid it is to feel sure someone is dead when you see their name trending on social media and think, “the ONLY explanation for that trending would be…” And to be right. I’m also considering the irony of this being my […]


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