Category Stories About Stories

More Twisted: Percival Everett’s Assumption Is Yours to Make

I may be developing a knack for reading books I can’t summarize. Sasha Sokolov’s Between Dog and Wolf was difficult to sum up because it lacks a linear plot. Percival Everett’s Assumption, on the other hand, has inspired personal reviews saying, in so many words, “Stop right here and go read the book! Everything is a spoiler!” […]

Nabokov’s Exploding Book: The Criminal Romp “Despair”

I tend to have problems with Nabokov books. I mean the actual, physical books. Years ago, I bought a copy of Bend Sinister and never got a chance to read the damned thing because this particular edition was bound by a barely flexible plastic cover. When I tried to open the novel more than 90°, the […]

“The Bridesmaid” On-page and On-Screen: Rendell Begets Chabrol in a Filthy Basement

Today, I’d like to talk to you about The Bridesmaid. No, not Bridesmaids. Not Revenge of the Bridesmaids. La demoiselle d’honneur. Of course, I’m referring to two versions of a story here: The original suspense novel in English by British author Ruth Rendell and its 2004 film adaptation by French New Wave director Claude Chabrol. For a certain period, Chabrol’s […]

Inio Asano’s Tokyo On-screen: E-reading “Solanin” and “What a Wonderful World!”

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 […]

Bilingual Theatrics of Identity and Grief in “Tom à la Ferme” by Michel Marc Bouchard

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 […]

A Fairy Tale Day with “Her Father’s Daughter” by Marie Sizun

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 […]

Going Off the Rails with Serhiy Zhadan’s “Voroshilovgrad”

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, […]