RaveWall Street JournalMr. Guez has been praised in the French press for his meticulous research, and rightly so. His Mengele takes his place in a vividly detailed tableau of South American society, ensconced in a circle of fugitive Nazis that includes Adolf Eichmann. Mr. Guez illustrates over the course of the novel that the past doesn’t disappear, but it does have a half-life ... The work of this novel is to remind us of things we know but may lose sight of ... a work that underscores not the banality of evil but its brazenness ... Mr. Guez’s own propensity for the florid only heightens the effect. His is a book that keeps the reader in a state of outrage at both Mengele’s unrepentance and the moral poverty of his backers ... not really about remembering the horrors of Nazi atrocities. It is, rather, about the quotidian but crucial work of understanding the tenacious allure of Nazism to an ambitious, self-deluded man with few defenses against it ... Mr. Guez means to \'keep us on our guard\' against the Mengeles of the world, those susceptible, malleable, advantage seekers who will always be among us.
Fleur Jaeggy, trans. by Minna Zallman Proctor
RaveFinancial Times[These Possible Lives] demonstrate[s] her ongoing nihilistic streak, her penchant for nothing ... Jaeggy is a master of the short form; her essays are charged with a nearly combustible vitality ... Long after the pleasure of reading is over, their little hooks tug ... vibrant and unforced, shimmering with the complexity of reality. As in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, the juxtaposition of the biographies accentuates their common characteristics, and from this triptych a survey of genius, mysticism and intoxication emerges.
Alfred Döblin, Trans. by Michael Hofmann
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalBerlin Alexanderplatz is a lumbering leviathan, all rough edges, and the translator’s challenge is to master its crude, prodigious energies. There are many passages in Mr. Hofmann’s translation that I do not like, but few that I can truly call wrong. The translator has instincts all his own, and it’s a good thing, too. His excesses are appropriate to Döblin’s own. Even attempting to translate Berlin Alexanderplatz took something whose vocabulary seems increasingly antiquated to us: gusto, chutzpah, guts ... Now we have another chance in English to contemplate the largeness of Franz’s small fate. Döblin made a world, and the point of a good translation is to let us begin to understand what it all means.
Fleur Jaeggy, Trans. by Gini Alhadeff
RaveThe Financial TimesJaeggy is a master of the short form; her essays are charged with a nearly combustible vitality, her stories without fail are compact and devastating. Long after the pleasure of reading is over, their little hooks tug at — what is it, the heart or the mind ... Most importantly, Jaeggy’s prose is superb (and as superbly translated) as ever, her characteristic desolation as self-possessed as it is recherché,