PositiveThe SpectatorIt’s tempting to see the book as a remake of Nineteen Eighty-Four although here the regime is more humane: there are no betrayals or torture, and brainwashing is not entirely the fault of the police ... In Stephen Snyder’s fluid translation, the names of vanished things are sometimes italicised, sometimes put in quotation marks. The things themselves are sometimes completely forgotten, sometimes not ... When it comes to human memory, it seems, no one — not even those trying to police it — can ever remember everything.
Jean Frémon, Trans. by Cole Swensen
PositiveThe Times Literary Supplement... [a] perfectly pitched medley of fact and fiction ... It is this distinctive voice that Cole Swensen’s whimsical translation emulates, leaving the occasional phrase untouched, all the better to get inside the head of someone living between two worlds.
Norah Lange Trans. by, Charlotte Whittle
PositiveThe Guardian...darkly irresistible ... Read on another level, the book, first published in 1950, anticipates the nouveau roman, an \'anti-novel\' style where the narrator is given full control over the plot and characters ... As for its literary precedents, they can be traced to Jorge Luis Borges’ 1940s short stories ... When mere observation is no longer enough, the dose of magic realism has to be boosted, and the girl’s fantasies grow more feverish ... There are moments when this unceasing hallucinatory state resembles someone else’s dreams, compulsively recounted, but the sheer drive of imagery compels you to listen.
RaveThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)... filled with prose so intense it manages to paint a comprehensive picture of our times in six short stories. There are personal histories and universal themes here, but also urgent subjects such as migration and climate change, corporate greed and the dangers of the internet, all outlined in the subtlest of tones yet vividly recognizable, even – or not least – when told as parables ... Eisenberg impresses on many levels, especially when portraying her characters by proxy.
MixedThe Financial TimesThese photographs in the lavishly produced Blind Spot feel far removed from the blurry pictures that feature in books by WG Sebald, a constant influence on the work of Teju Cole. The accompanying texts are another matter. Each pair — a short piece and a photo — is dedicated to a particular place, and the links that [Cole] discovers between them can be as unexpected as those found in Sebald’s writings … This volume confirms that photography as a genre doesn’t serve as a simple illustration to literature … There are few people in Cole’s works, and even fewer faces. His own persona, however, is prominent. Occasionally he recounts his dreams, in one of which he has lunch with Diana (presumably the Princess of Wales) and fails to take a selfie with her. His confessions can smack of oversharing … Whatever all this personal stuff might signify, the book gives you a chance to glimpse things that might have slipped your attention otherwise.
PositiveThe Financial TimesThis gripping account is a re-enactment of the Russian Revolution, month by month, by an author who has used the fantasy genre to convey political messages ... The book’s conception is in line with its dramatic (occasionally melodramatic) style: Miéville confesses to have done no original research here, instead distilling his sources into an informative page-turner. If he occasionally gets his facts wrong (the new-style date of the October Revolution, for instance, is November 7, not November 5 as mentioned), that feels unavoidable in such an enterprise. Revolutions rarely go without a hitch.