Category: Reviews

Reviews

A Singular Translation: Papi by Rita Indiana

Plenty of musicians write memoirs. A few publish poetry collections. But not many write novels aside from Rita Indiana, lead singer of the Dominican Republic’s Rita Indiana y Los Misterios. Fusing traditional merengue music with alternative rock, Indiana’s band is as fresh and original as her newly translated novel, Papi. Originally published in Spanish in 2005, the University of Chicago Press’s English release was translated by Achy Objeas, who also translated Junot Díaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Reviews

Robert Morgan Invokes the Slave Narrative in Chasing the North Star

Robert Morgan—the North Carolina poet and author of Gap Creek—adds “slave narrative” to his sub-genre toolkit with Chasing the North Star, his new historical novel from Algonquin Books. While his depiction of slavery isn’t grounded in the same realism as, say, 12 Years a Slave, and he too-often commits the narrative sin of convenience, it’s still a gorgeous book full of lush prose, compelling characters, and an epic journey across America ten years before the Civil War.

Reviews

Searching for the Souls of Cities: Githa Hariharan’s Almost Home

On a visit to India, award-winning novelist and editor Githa Hariharan met a local man who, despite living his entire life in the village of Hampi, didn’t know any of the traditional stories immortalized by local statues and shrines to Ganesha, Narasimha, or any of the other gods. He didn’t know about the 16th-century warrior king, Rama Raya, or how the village was built on the site of the ancient city of Vijayanagar. Hariharan did.

Reviews

Stork Mountain Excavates Balkan History and Myth

At first glance, Stork Mountain sounds like a typical, coming-of-age immigrant narrative, when a young Bulgarian in America returns to his homeland to escape student loan debt. But Miroslav Penkov—author of the acclaimed short story collection, East of the West—uses classic narrative forms as a springboard for a dark, dreamlike debut novel steeped in Balkan history and legend.

Reviews

Maria Konnikova Exposes the Science of Con Artists in The Confidence Game

The Confidence Game is a revealing and engrossing primer on how con artists work and why we’re such suckers. But for all the insights Konnikova offers, fraudsters will continue to separate fools from their money (she refers to the confidence game as “the (real) oldest profession”) because our ingrained trust and gullibility make us easy prey for the right scam.