Reviewing a book that has been banned in its author’s native country presents certain challenges as well as certain obligations as in the case of celebrated Chinese novelist Yan Lianke’s The Day the Sun Died, his latest book to appear in English translation (the Chinese original was published in 2015). In his translator’s introduction, Carlos Rojas sees in Joyce’s Ulysses a literary antecedent to Yan’s novel based on their contested reception histories, shared thematic content, and similar narrative strategies.
Behind the somewhat unprepossessing title, The Watermelon Boys is the story of several several interlocking destinies playing out in what is now Iraq during and immediately after World War I.
When Jeet Thayil writes a book about chocolate saints, one knows it will not be the kind populated with Easter eggs and Willy Wonkaian characters. Rather, think Umberto Eco acid-tripping on a couch punctured with cigarette burns in a moldy basement.
Immigration is much in the news. Here is a selection of books we have reviewed, mostly recently, a few from farther back, on the subject: non-fiction, fiction and even some children’s books. Although many discuss Asian immigration to the West, this list is a reminder that the various diasporas are not limited to West; there is even intra-Asia migration.
The newest English translation of Lōa Hô’s fiction in Scales of Injustice: The Complete Fiction of Lōa Hô is a fascinating reminder that Taiwan’s literary history began well before the Nationalist Chinese retreat to the island in 1949.
Given the present ubiquity of reviews and commentary on “Crazy Rich Asians”, it’s worth remembering that the hit film was once a (hit) book, and the first of a trilogy. Here are our reviews, plus a review of a book by an entirely different author that preceded Crazy Rich Asians and presciently hinted at what was to come.
An updated compilation of reviews for Women in Translation month (August 2018). Please click on the title for the review, translator and publisher information.