Reading in Tongues: Peter Stamm’s Seven Years

Note: “Reading in Tongues” is a very occasional feature on the experience of reading in a foreign language.
The longlist for the Best Translated Book Award was announced today, and I was pleased to see Seven Years by Peter Stamm—which I’d just read at a sloth-like crawl in the German—among the contenders.  I’d been curious about [...] play olg slots online

This Is The Way a World Ends: Joseph Roth’s Letters

In the back-page essay in this week’s New York Times Book Review, I take stock of Joseph Roth’s letters—and what they can and can’t tell us about their author:
The final message from the Austrian novelist ­Joseph Roth in Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters is short and desperate. “Dear friend,” he writes to his French translator, [...]

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Irmgard Keun Comes Back to Life

There is no shortage of literature about World War II, about Nazis, about the Holocaust, but German novels overtly critical of Nazism written in the 1930s are—for obvious reasons—hard to come by.  Until I recently read After Midnight by Irmgard Keun, I’d have been hard-pressed to come up with an example.
After Midnight is a slender [...]

Heinrich Böll, Postwar Penitent

I have a piece on Heinrich Böll up at the Barnes & Noble Review, prompted by Melville House’s re-release of his “essential” works.  If you have to pick one, read The Clown.
The German Nobel Laureate Heinrich Böll, for whatever reason, has never enjoyed wide recognition on American shores. No less political than Grass, no less [...]

Günter Grass and the Magical Metaphor

I have a shortish piece up over at the Barnes & Noble Review on Günter Grass’s newest book, The Box, a slippery mix of fiction and memoir.  I wasn’t especially taken with it, but the assignment did have the fortunate side effect of getting me to finally read The Tin Drum, which I heartily recommend.
There’s a [...]

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Franz Messerschmidt’s Busted Heads

Another trip to New York, another visit to the Neue Galerie.  I first encountered Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, the subject of the Neue Galerie’s current show, when the Met acquired “A Hypocrite and a Slanderer,” one of his “character heads,” earlier this year.  When not on loan to the Neue, “A Hypocrite and a Slanderer” stands [...] video poker casino games online

The Twisted Tenderness of Otto Dix

The first image I faced at the Neue Galerie’s Otto Dix show was a wan, watercolor portrait of a man with a half-maimed face.  I recoiled before turning back to study it more closely.  Dix’s work often does not reward extended viewing—the longer you stare, the more horror emerges. In this case, I found myself [...] popular gambling games

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