RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksThe range of stories detailed here is extraordinary. Finch has clearly made concerted efforts to seek out contributions from across ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexualities, as well as texts by writers whose abortion experiences are rarely spoken about, such as those by disabled women ... from household names like Amy Tan, Audre Lorde, Gloria Steinem, Joyce Carol Oates, Kathy Acker, Langston Hughes, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Ursula K. Le Guin, the volume’s most valuable, revealing, and often powerful contributions are those from beyond the shores of the United States. They remind us that in some parts of the world reproductive rights are as much to do with the freedom not to have an abortion as the freedom to have one ... In these disturbing times, an open conversation about abortion in all its forms is of the utmost importance. Choice Words brings that conversation into the cultural sphere, reaching, as Finch puts it, \'beyond argument, into the realm of experience.\'
Veronica Raimo Trans. by Stash Luczkiw
PositiveThe Literary Review (UK)... a nuanced examination of the politics of power in sexual relationships, and a novel that refuses to offer easy answers ... although she narrates half the novel, we never really learn how the girlfriend feels about the rape accusation. (We learn nothing, either, about the victim herself, who is given no voice after the initial scene) ... While The Girl at the Door is most obviously a book about the abuse of power in relationships, it is also a window onto an ailing, post-crisis generation ... A meditation on the sheer loneliness of contemporary society, Raimo’s novel is undoubtedly a story for our times.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of Books...Sea Monsters is a surreal, captivating tale about the power of a youthful imagination, the lure of teenage transgression, and its inevitable disappointments ... Plot has very little role to play in Sea Monsters; Aridjis allows her narrative to swell and recede like the sea, along with Luisa’s capacious imagination. Episodes from the beach and the city are woven together, not so much to advance a narrative arc, as to build rich evocations of place and to sketch out the inner world of a fickle teenager who is both restless and apathetic, self-absorbed and self-aware ... The violent rains, the traffic, the perennial security threat—these scenes wonderfully evoke the city’s ability to make its inhabitants feel claustrophobic ... But the novel is just as powerful when depicting the capital’s opposite, the tiny Oaxacan beach town of Zipolite, which turns out to be no idyll either. Here Aridjis evokes the eerie, interminable crashing of waves on the shore; the eccentric mix of nudists, beachcombers, and European tourists ... Aridjis’s protagonist is so rich and interesting because she is full of contradiction. For all that she is image conscious and desirous of new experiences, her fragile sensibility is quietly revealed ... Sea Monsters is a contemplative, meandering novel—there are no unexpected plot twists, no great climactic resolution. But, Aridjis excels at writing a life lived in the borderlands between reality and fantasy, conveying the imagination of a 17-year-old with whims and fancies that are intriguing rather than exasperating or laughable.
Rita Indiana, Trans. by Achy Obejas
MixedLos Angeles Review of BooksThe English in Tentacle is dynamic and colorful, peppered with Spanish, Yoruba, and occasionally French ... Tentacle is a little book with big ambitions. It tells a wild story that takes on environmental disaster, contemporary art, queer politics, religious syncretism, race relations, and the legacy of empire, all the while showcasing speculative fiction’s capacity for sharp socio-political commentary. But like many time-travel narratives, its plot is convoluted and complicated, and requires frequent leaps of imagination. For all its big ideas, it sometimes struggles to stay coherent. It may have been better to lessen the speed, just for a moment, and give readers a chance to catch up.
Samanta Schweblin, Trans. by Megan McDowell
PositiveThe Irish TimesAnyone who read and was captivated by Schweblin’s eerie novella Fever Dream, published last year, will relish this earlier volume, which has many of the same strange, disturbing preoccupations ... While at least four or five of the stories in Mouthful of Birds are utterly compelling, a few are so economical with words that they end up falling flat ... That said, the writing, in Megan McDowell’s practised hands, is for the most part urgent and suspenseful, and will no doubt send a shiver up your spine as you next contemplate your domestic relationships, both human and non-human.