RaveLos Angeles Review of Books...a collection of intimate and authentic personal essays, with each piece telling its own heartfelt story of silence ... Each essay is a complete experience in itself, with its own arc and epiphany. Even though many essays share the same theme, they are written by authors from different worlds, and each deserves our full attention ... Filgate has done a magnificent job of gathering pieces written with love and passion ... what remains is the astonishment of unimaginable emotions.
Négar Djavadi, Trans. by Tina Kover
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksDisoriental, a stylistically fragmented novel by the French-Iranian Négar Djavadi, reads like a multilayered pastiche of unrelated themes, yet all connected to Kimiâ Sadr’s troubled life ... Djavadi’s writing paints the most complex human emotions with ease and depth. The reader cannot remain indifferent to Kimiâ’s rawness and vulnerability. Like Scheherazade, Djavadi’s protagonist is a storyteller, but unlike her, she doesn’t use storytelling as a device to please or feel loved. Neither is she motivated by her struggle as an immigrant, nor by her confusion over her sexual orientation. She writes to define and engrave the meaning of her father’s life — to glorify him — and not to let his family’s story vanish in the ruins of passing time ... The novel, originally written in French and translated by Tina Kover, leaves a different impression in English. The French language, by nature, uses a more complex sentence structure. Djavadi’s prose is rich, deep, lyrical, with cinematographic quality, and the structure of her sentences adds more elegance to the flow of narration. But as this prose is translated, faithfully, into English, the well-crafted French sentence sometimes becomes the long English paragraph, where the subject and verb have lost each other. In spite of the novel’s heavy themes, Djavadi, by smart use of humor at tragic moments, lifts her reader’s spirit and alleviates the atmosphere. On the other hand, it could be perceived as Kimiâ’s weakness, as she hides her sorrow behind a facade, acting as if everything is fine.
Annie Ernaux, Trans. by Alison L. Strayer
PositiveThe Los Angeles Review of Books\"The book is placed somewhere on the edges of literature, history, and sociology … The process of reading The Years is similar to a treasure box discovery, filled with old family photo albums, some having a few words in the back, yellowish and falling apart … The Years is not an easy read, having no plot, climax, moral lesson, or humor. These are the intimate details of a French life that might go over the heads of many. It is not a fast read either … Translating Ernaux, with her particular ‘unpoetic’ voice, doesn’t seem to be an easy task. But Alison L. Strayer, faithful to Ernaux’s intention, has kept the book’s authentic color and rhythm, the un-poetry of the text, but also its poetic undertone.\
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of Books...[an] intimate and thought-provoking novel ... Crystalline, vivid, moving, and without pretensions, Nayeri’s writing is fluid and spare. The narrative jumps back and forth in time, and even if you are claustrophobic, don’t be afraid of submerging into the spellbinding world of Refuge. Her prose doesn’t have the heaviness of the subjects she writes about, and this is a true gift. In magical ways, she creates poetry ... Refuge is a timely novel, about a theme that touches and moves so many, no matter where you are from ... While this all seem like a solemn portrait of a broken family, Nayeri is actually very funny, and the book is full of color and flavor.