RavePopMattersThe author taps into a basic truth: the emotional valence of moments that mean the most to us can be indecipherable without an understanding of the broader sweep of lived experience ... A World Between is Hashimoto\'s remarkable debut novel, a finely constructed, impassioned, and touching love story between two women ... The book\'s early pages are misleading. Eleanor, from whose perspective the first section is told, is a complex character, both engaging and frustrating ... The reader can\'t help but shake their head and roll their eyes, screaming inwardly at her childishness and naïveté as we watch the inevitable train wreck of a relationship unfold from miles away ... What the reader eventually realizes is this is no fault of the writer. Hashimoto has done a superb job of replicating the shifting emotional and psychological states of her protagonists over the nearly 15-year span of her story ... The social and political backdrop to the narrative is finely constructed as well ... a superb, captivating read, and a remarkable accomplishment for a first novel. It\'s fun, provocative, and doesn\'t shy away from cultural complexity.
RavePopMattersElliott\'s essays...[are] elegantly written, constructed with a fine attention to style while remaining rooted in a profoundly honest, unalloyed anger ... Elliott also delivers stand-out critiques of racism and tokenism in literature, and the narrow and stereotypical caricatures which colonial literary circuits produce ... While her personal essays are profoundly moving and deeply important, Elliott is at her best in these critical essays, drawing on Indigenous and anti-colonial analysis to pry open innovative insights on creative endeavors like literature and photography, and the ways in which they aid and abet the political operations of colonialism when allowed to operate unchallenged ... Innovative and insightful, Elliott\'s work reveals an important dedication not just to content but to style, an often neglected element in today\'s burgeoning marketplace of personal essay collections.
Pauline Delabroy-Allard, Trans. by Adriana Hunter
RavePopMattersTo read They Say Sarah is to understand what it means for a novel to be \'breathtaking\' ... French writer Pauline Delabroy-Allard has created, in her literary debut, a deeply impressionistic novel which thrusts the reader from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. The impact is stunning; from the opening chapter the momentum doesn\'t let up ... Delabroy-Allard\'s use of language is magnificent (and Adriana Hunter\'s translation does a superb job of maintaining the effect). The accelerated sense of momentum is conveyed by an unfettered use of present tense. Long run-on sentences are coupled with staccato-like short, repetitive clauses. Time is condensed; seconds stretch into paragraphs and days merge in mere sentences. The sweeping emotional effect is a reminder of the potency of language ... the beauty of They Say Sarah is that it lashes its vividly erotic prose to a thoughtfully constructed literary framework, producing by the end of its scant 160 pages an elevated statement on the human condition ... The book\'s vivid emotional lure masks a deeper statement on our collective inability to achieve—let alone balance—love in a contemporary world where most of us just struggle along plagued by a faintly numb sense of always desiring more.
Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
RavePopMattersThe genius of Miss Iceland is that it uses an elegant fictional narrative to establish in literary form a continuity between the sexist \'60s and the present day ... Those who might think the author chose the easy way out—setting her novel in the \'60s, so as not to disturb the sensibilities of contemporary \'woke\' men—would be mistaken. The book\'s setting does more to reveal how little we\'ve in fact progressed over the past half century ... The sparse prose of the book is one of its best qualities. The uniquely constructed narrative flows quickly, lightly. It may seem trite to forever be comparing modern Icelandic literature to Viking sagas, but there is an epic saga-like quality to the prose. Although a linear, coherent narrative emerges, the text is sub-divided into short passages with pompous headings. Characters speak in declamations of poetic profundity, sparse as the landscape yet potent with meaning. Despite the book\'s quick pace and light touch, its characters are fully formed and richly portrayed ... Miss Iceland is a beautiful book. It is at once a poetic, light-hearted narrative filled with endearing characters; and yet also a sharply edged social critique that is caustic and righteous in its portrayal of the enduring nature of sexism, misogyny and homophobia.
RavePopMattersThat trajectory alone says a lot about the significance of his subject matter. Sacco goes where important conflicts rage, and where the muddy politics of identity exacerbate the conflicting intersections of politics, cultures, and ideologies. We are lucky he ventures into these spaces, because the insights he shares in his books offer important lessons in understanding and compassion to readers around the world. They also offer an important model of good journalism for reporters. It\'s common for reporters covering struggles in colonized spaces – from the Middle East to North America – to retrench colonial perspectives and attitudes in their work. Sacco offers a superb model of how journalism ought to be done in the modern era ... One of the immediate benefits of a work like Sacco\'s Paying the Land is that it renders its subject matter deeply engaging for settler audiences that have probably never been exposed to an authentic and compelling version of Indigenous history (especially if they were educated in the past decade or earlier). It\'s a history that not only disentangles the complex politics of treaty negotiations and land claims, but conveys a sense of the urgency underlying the fraught political present. It\'s that sense of urgency that\'s often lacking in settler coverage of Indigenous issues ... Sacco, as a world-renowned journalist and comics author, brings a unique range of insight to his topic, along with a broad international following ... More than just a comics artist, Sacco is among an emerging movement of comics reporters whose methodology and techniques are reinventing journalism, for the better ... the comics format allows for a more complex introduction to a character. When an informant is given a full page or two-page spread to start telling their story, the reader is able to take in with a single glance more of the complex and intersecting elements that make up that person, all visually presented on the page ... In television or film it takes time to construct such a complex and well-rounded image of an individual; Sacco achieves a similar effect in just a few pages. Of course, it\'s perhaps not as thorough as the effect that can ultimately be achieved through other media such as film, but its value lies in anchoring this multi-dimensional portrayal of an individual in the reader\'s head before proceeding with their story. And where a documentary might only be able to present two or three individuals in such depth, Sacco\'s use of the technique enables him to inject literally dozens of informants in one book ... superbly translates the politics and history of the North into real human terms ... readers and conscientious journalists alike will find an outstanding example of how good journalism can, and should, be done.
Yoshiharu Tsuge, Trans. by Ryan Holmberg
PositivePopMattersThere are layered parables here: the contradictory nature of capitalism and its pointless entrepreneurial drives; the tension between success as a matter of respect and dignity versus success as reflected in material wealth. Tsuge is relentless in his exposition of these themes ... There is a bleakness to the art that mirrors the narrative\'s underlying sense of despair. The black and white pencil sketches add a sense of barren cold to the landscape: trees bow under the relentless wind and dark crows gaze on forebodingly. Superficially similar to other manga art, Yoshiharu tweaks his panels with shading and deft use of darkness to add a layer of foreboding. There\'s a sense of buried promise in the backdrops ... Dialogue is sparse, yet this makes the characters\' misogyny all the more disturbing. If the comic wasn\'t intended as an ironic parable, the protagonists\' misogyny would rapidly become too much to handle ... The story balances a complex moral line. Outwardly, it\'s full of bleak despair, yet there is something intangibly warm and touching to the tale as well.
Tian Veasna, Trans. by Helge Dasche
RavePopMatters... a stunning and comprehensive graphic novel ... The graphic novel takes full advantage of...visual techniques to offer a glimpse into the paranoia and panoptical fear invoked by daily life under the Khmer Rouge ... The book\'s almost 400 pages are necessary to do justice to this horrific tale; anything shorter would have done the narrative a terrible disservice. Yet it\'s a fast-paced read. Dialogue is sparse (words, after all, could be used against you) and the small panels lend themselves well to an even more effective visual storytelling. The loosely stylized, broadly realistic and schematic bande dessinée art makes the book easily accessible to readers, even if the content itself is harrowing ... Footnotes and the explanatory prefaces to each chapter also contribute to the book\'s accessibility, ensuring it\'s possible to follow without the use of supplemental reference aids ... Year of the Rabbit is as much a vital moral lesson as it is a superb historical graphic narrative.
RavePopMattersThe book coheres remarkably well. The five women\'s lives overlapped in fascinating ways ... a fascinating glimpse into the interwoven nature of intellectual and creative life in that period. But more importantly, it offers a look at the author\'s theme...from the vantage of five very different women at different stages in their lives ... In doing so, it provides a cleverly holistic look at women\'s lives and the varied ways in which their struggles against patriarchy took form at different stages of their lives and careers ... an immensely pleasurable, yet wisely insightful book, carried both by the author\'s smart treatment of her theme as well as her engaging narrative style. Whether one chooses to read it for the delightful sketches of the five fascinating women who are its subjects, or whether one is more interested in the broader theme of understanding how misogyny and patriarchy constricted intellectual and public life in the period, it\'s a superb achievement, which will hopefully generate renewed interest in all five of these women and their remarkable lives and accomplishments.
Zülfü Livaneli, Trans. by Brendan Freely
RavePopMatters... evocative of the best thrillers, which are so attractive because they incorporate elements of a variety of literary genres ... manages to incorporate elements of mystery, political thriller, as well as a hefty dose of Turkish and world history. These elements help make it a riveting page-turner, but it\'s the emotional aspect of the novel which renders it so endearing. Livaneli is remarkably attentive to the challenges faced by women in contemporary Turkey ... In the hands of a less talented author such an attempt might turn into a didactic mess, but Livaneli manages to make it all flow in a coherent and compelling narrative ... offers a fascinating insight into that tumultuous moment when the country was teetering on the brink of change ... a beautifully wrought story and a riveting page-turner at the same time. It contains stories within stories, and the reader will quickly lose themselves in the intersecting plot threads and the rich histories upon which they draw. At the same time, it offers a moving and evocative depiction of modern Turkey, with all the sights, tastes, smells, and diverse cultural components that make that country so magical, even as it suffers under Erdogan\'s brutal and corrupt dictatorship ... a paean to everything that makes Turkey beautiful, as well as a tribute to the suffering its people have faced and the complex challenges they face in coming to terms with their past and building a viable future. That so much can be packed into a single book is a tribute to Livaneli\'s profound skill as an author and observer of his country\'s troubled present.
Lewis Raven Wallace
RavePopMattersWallace\'s book...is an exceptional study in the history and development of the concept of journalistic objectivity—and all the problems associated with it ... Wallace\'s book is important from two angles: historical and theoretical ... Wallace covers a lot of ground in his study, examining cases of journalists who fell afoul of conservative journalism\'s norms by challenging the deeply-vested interests that hide behind the veil of \'objectivity\' ... The View from Somewhere is an outstanding and urgently needed critique of journalistic orthodoxy. It questions who is served best by claims of \'objectivity\' and \'balance\' and exposes the hidden biases they disguise. Offering some new directions for journalism, it also offers important food for thought for anyone who aspires to practice the trade, and ought to be required reading in journalism schools everywhere.
RavePopMattersIt\'s not the first time white America has been charged with genocide, but rarely has the case been made so clearly and succinctly ... a harrowing read, but readers who feel overwhelmed by the barrage of documented injustice and cases of white police officers literally getting away with murder – over and over again – will hopefully bear in mind that reading about it is surely less harrowing than what living it must be like for many Black Americans ... Crump\'s study is a comprehensive one; after discussing individual cases which exemplify forms of legalized genocide against colored people, the later half of the book provides a broad scan of systemic forms of racism and genocide ... a grim read, but an essential one ... White readers wishing to educate themselves as to the scale of the problem would do well to read Crump\'s harrowing yet superb study.
RavePopMatters... [a] rich historical novel ... beautiful, moving ... Truong\'s superb novel provides a powerful feminist retelling of this saga ... It\'s not the suspense of \'what will happen next?\' that drives this tale, but rather the author\'s skilled and sympathetic presentation of the three women, whose rich interior dialogue and powerful, resilient personalities keep the reader glued to the page ... Hearn is still highly regarded as an early writer and researcher on Japan (his books are considered classics), but Truong\'s novel does an excellent (if somewhat speculative) job of putting him in his place, and reconsidering his legacy from the perspective of the women whose lives were affected by him ... Truong deserves considerable praise for the beautiful, complex story she has wrought in this novel (for which she conducted extensive historical research, spending time in each of the locales that feature in the tale). As a moving, poignant novel it is magnificent; as a recontextualization of malestream history, it is long overdue.
George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, Illus. by Harmony Becker
RavePop Matters... lively and compelling ... beautifully illustrated ... Takei\'s autobiographical comic concentrates on the period of his family\'s internment, but also reveals the impact it had on his future life and career ... Takei\'s tale, superbly articulated in this powerful and moving graphic novel, reminds us that while material compensation for past wrongs is important, what\'s more important is the ability to learn from those mistakes and not to repeat them. Even now, after a lifetime of working not just to entertain but also to improve life for his fellow human beings, George Takei continues to offer wisdom, wit, and words from which we all may learn.
RavePop Matters... there\'s a tremendous amount of emotional wisdom packed into each chapter. [Habib\'s] life has all the fodder of a riveting tale, but it is Habib\'s narration of these events that renders her memoir so powerful ... If it is the book\'s aspect as a queer Muslim memoir that distinguishes it for marketing purposes, it is Habib\'s engagement with a range of oppressions that provides its powerful moral compass ... Habib\'s childhood memories are both sweet and heartwarming, yet don\'t shy away from the repressive cruelties she\'s experienced ... Habib\'s style is compelling and intimate, thoughtful, and reflexive. She achieves an affective immediacy, which not only expresses her developing and shifting sense of self but helps the reader share a sense of what she\'s feeling at these different stages of her life ... what\'s most striking about Habib\'s memoir is the sense of compassion with which she writes ... a work of tremendous beauty and wisdom ... Habib\'s journey through life is riveting, rendered even more compelling by a masterly balance of tone and pacing. The book moves quickly, propelled by a well-structured narrative and light and fluid prose. The narrative flows like honey, pooling and building tension around the difficult moments in her life, and then pouring forward once again in a burst of forgiveness, a moment of self-realization or a recognition of the need to move on ... a masterpiece of memoir that operates on many levels – political, emotional, spiritual. Harrowing at times, it is also heartwarming and inspirational. It\'s a book that urgently needs to be read in the present moment, for as eye-opening as many readers will probably find it, it\'s work such as this that has the greatest potential to open readers\' hearts.
RavePop MattersA stirring manifesto for immigrant rights, it\'s also much more. The book is an invaluable reference aid, compiling rich data and statistics on every angle of the refugee crisis – from the crime rates of undocumented migrants to the dollar value of their contribution to the economy. What\'s the price-tag of reparations? What\'s the cost of colonialism? The book is a relentless source of data which unpacks and refutes the thoroughly untrue arguments driving white panic about refugees ... an unapologetic, angry manifesto supporting the rights of migrants to move ... The unapologetic firmness of Mehta\'s articulate arguments is refreshing ... among the most comprehensive, clearest, lucid and persuasive arguments in favour of immigrant rights yet written. It\'s vital reading for anyone looking for arguments and data to unmuddy the rhetorics of white panic, and indeed vital reading or anyone who cares about the future of our world.
Philippe Besson, trans. by Molly Ringwald
RavePopMatters... equal parts poignant tribute and glaring warning ... it\'s unclear just how much of the narrative is novel and how much fact. As with all good literature, it doesn\'t really matter ... both banal and deeply thrilling ... It\'s a tribute – to first love, especially those first loves which prove immutable and enduring. It will resonate with anyone who has felt love, which is to say all of us. And it\'s a tribute to the 1980s, which this autobiographical novel conjures in all their awkward, awful innocence ... Despite the emotional restraint, the narrator is full of deeply felt and well-articulated feelings, and these emerge in his many reflective musings and asides. This glimpse at a character\'s interiority helped mitigate the repellent silence of their cool and tough exteriors. Indeed, it is those sparse spaces of deepest feeling that provide the story\'s most powerful and beautiful moments ... achieves a respectful balance, reminding us of the powerful and destructive impact of such attitudes, while implicitly hinting at the beauty of a better, more open way ... ultimately, it\'s simply a beautiful and poignant love story, a short and very French tale whose sparse, delicate prose is gorgeously translated by Molly Ringwald, retaining all of its heart-stopping power. If one can look past the tough-guy facades of the main characters – and Besson\'s vivid first-person narration does wonders at revealing the churning thoughts and repressed feelings hiding behind such exteriors – one can easily lose oneself in this gorgeously resurrected memory of \'80s love, with all its awkward beauty and lost innocence.
PositivePopMatters... makes worthwhile reading, even though it\'s not really a manifesto per se ... Sunkara\'s imaginary journey is a bit too short and densely detailed to fully achieve its aims; efforts to inject pop culture references to make it hip don\'t really succeed either, but it deserves credit for imagination and ambition ... Sunkara hits his stride in these chapters – he\'s a first-rate storyteller, and at his best when spinning out an engaging narrative, with smart yet accessible political analysis – but the goal of this section is less clear. The stories all share pessimistic outcomes. It\'s difficult to tell what lesson is meant to be learned here, especially if the book aspires to be a manifesto ... It\'s here that Sunkara\'s manifesto coheres as a whole: the histories of part two informing his road map in part three, with the goal of achieving the socialist future imagined in part one. It\'s not exactly a manifesto, but The Socialist Manifesto is important reading for our tumultuous and transformative present.
RavePopMatters... a masterful combination of archival research and prose elegance ... Herbert\'s book is a triumph: an eloquent testament not only to the hundreds of Chinese who were tragically slaughtered during those three days, but also a passionate, remarkable intellectual study in the psychology of racism. His research is complemented by a literary style which at times assumes near poetic qualities ... Significantly, Herbert does not contain his study to the experience of the single generation of Chinese who lived and died in the slaughter. His book offers equal balance to Mexican and Chinese history alike, and explores the historical and intellectual developments in China which spurred mass migration to the Americas, as well as the rich political debates which flourished within the expatriate community. As a result, the Chinese protagonists in The House of the Pain of Others come alive not merely as victims but as active agents in the construction of the Mexican nation ... Just as significant is what Herbert\'s book says about the role of elite discourse in creating and maintaining spaces and opportunities for racist violence ... not for readers who want simple, straightforward reporting. It\'s a more complex, yet ultimately more rewarding journey; Herbert\'s stylistic literary technique and Christina MacSweeney\'s masterful translation provide an intellectually provocative study that unfolds with elegant, narrative grace. The result is a brilliant, breakthrough study which reminds us that the lessons of history are essential to learn and re-learn, if we are to steer our troubled present toward a more hopeful future.
PositivePopMattersBrown offers a visually appealing crash course in this process, highlighting the key moments and events in this sad history. He adopts a narrative, instructional graphic novel style, with consistent square-panelled pencil sketches mostly narrated by the author (with the exception of a few dramatized instances). The author\'s use of grim black and white coloring is an appropriate choice for a subject which has been treated in overly reductionist, black and white style by law enforcement and government policy for so many years ... an important reminder of how racism fuels moral panics, and how the so-called evidence used to justify both is often, predictably, falsified ... offers a superb study both in the nefarious process by which cannabis was rendered illegal, as well as the broader hope that in the long run, reason and tolerance will prevail.
Tanguy Viel Trans. by William Rodarmor
RavePopMattersViel offers a masterful analysis of the banality of the evil which drives today\'s world ... In many ways, the book reads like a political novel, with its critique of neoliberal capitalism ... unfolds as a psychologically brilliant, politically charged cri de coeur against the villainy of neoliberal capitalism. The book itself hovers between the inward gaze of a first-person psychological thriller and the outward gaze of a trenchant political novel. Although we know the outcome, the narrative still draws us in: we need to know the twists and turns of this sordid tale ... There\'s a reason the term \'noir\' is applied to darkly atmospheric books like this one ... Viel\'s work speaks to a certain innocence in all of us, an all-too-frequent bewilderment at the state of the world and the way things work ... replete with suffering and shattered hopes, but in the end, innocence -- and the primitive justice through which it expresses itself – achieve a surprising reprieve.
Scholastique Mukasonga, Trans. by Jordan Stump
PositivePopMatters\"The narrative has a gentle, peaceful cadence despite the persistent underlying menace of ethnic violence. The reader is able to catch glimpses of what life must have been like before violence became an everyday reality; glimpses of the sort of peaceful life Stefania and the other villagers aspired to ... Mukasonga offers a stirring tribute to her mother, and to her mother\'s difficult task of trying to offer her children a safe and comforting childhood, and all above a hopeful future amid the oppression and repeated rounds of violence ... The Barefoot Woman is an important complement to Mukasonga\'s body of work on Rwanda, and shows how literature has the power not just to hold violence and brutality to account, but also to give tangible shape to those whom history would otherwise deprive of identity. Where there is identity, where there is humanity, there is hope.\
Haruki Murakami, Trans. by Jay Rubin
RavePop MattersThe Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, selected, edited and sparingly annotated by Jay Rubin, collects 34 short stories from across the literary spectrum and spanning nearly 150 years of modern Japanese literature. This superb collection differs from others of its ilk in that it\'s organized not according to chronological period, but rather according to a set of broad theme ... The result is not merely another college lit anthology, but a fascinating collection of short stories from all periods and from several authors who all too rarely make it into English translation.
Edited by June Eric-Udorie
RavePopMattersThis is an anti-colonial, anti-racist feminism, that is informed by the need for intersectionality ... It\'s perhaps that very concept—the struggle against privilege—which most clearly defines the collection in Can We All Be Feminists?—It\'s the thread which runs through each of the contributions, whose contributors are as varied in their identities as they are in their individual understandings of feminism ... their focus on the problem with privilege offers an optimistic approach. Above all, the book is a call for awareness of one\'s own privilege, both as individuals and as members of whatever broader movement we consider ourselves part of ... The authors don\'t shy away from incisively honest personal reflections on the contradictions they\'ve experienced in their own relationships with feminism, and the ways in which they see their own past behavior in different lights. The book\'s gentle emphasis lies in learning from, not guilting over, the mistakes we make in our relationships with others, and not shying away from the many contradictions we sometimes feel and express between our ideals and aspirations and the way we live in the real world. Contradictions are at the heart of this collection, which bravely puts them in central focus ... Can We All Be Feminists? is a superb collection, and a stirring call for an intersectional feminism at a time when it is more urgently needed than ever before.
Sergey and Marina Dyachenko, Trans. by Julia Meitov Hersey
RavePopMattersThe outstanding quality of the novel lies in its authors\'...ability to maintain a deep layer of suspense and mystery throughout ... suspense is maintained until nearly the end; a prodigious and impressive feat on behalf of the authors. They manage to maintain an equilibrium of suspense and plausibility while giving away only the slightest glimpse ... fundamentally, what the novel grapples with is the broad question of what makes us human ... Vita Nostra is a mysterious sort of novel. The narrative is engaging and a pleasure to follow; the sense of slowly unfolding mystery and suspense is riveting and the book is hard to put down ... the Dyachenkos have produced a remarkable novel and one that will linger long afterward in the reader\'s thoughts.
Hideo Yokoyama, Trans. by Louise Heal Kawai
RavePop MattersRemarkable ... What Yokoyama has produced is an astonishing innovation: a journalism procedural that reads with the thrilling immediacy of a crime novel ... what makes this book a compelling page-turner is the sincere front-line authenticity with which he depicts reporters struggling to get their story out and do their job well ... It might sound like a flimsy premise for a thrilling page-turner, but Yokoyama turns it into a masterpiece ... Moral and logistical dilemmas faced by the reporters turn into nail-biting page-turners ... a thrilling, thought-provoking, and important book, and one for anyone who cares about the state of journalism.
Lars Petter Sveen, Trans. Guy Puzey
MixedPopMatters\"The defining quality of the book is its dark, sparse prose. This makes it hard to like the book in any intimate way ... Children of God is an imperfectly crafted novel, but an impressively ambitious one, and it comes to exert a strange pull on the reader. If the novel reads in a disjointed fashion, it\'s perhaps cleverly intentioned that way. The story leaps around chronologically, offering bits and pieces of stories (rarely whole stories) which the reader gradually links together. Yet toward the conclusion, as the final narrator reflects back on Jesus\' life, he reflects on the episodic nature of the stories people have passed on about Jesus, and the increasingly dogmatic and militant fashion in which some disciples are trying to force those stories into a coherent, chronological narrative ... Children of God struggles to offer more hope than despair in its telling, and only barely succeeds. But perhaps its bestseller status in Norway can attest to the appeal of a tale which offers even a tiny bit of hope in these dark times.\
RavePopMatters\"In a remarkable series of panels, [Krug] depicts the various alternate choices he could have made in response to the difficult challenge he faced ... Krug\'s inquiry is relentless, and driven by a profound sense of mission ... Further to her credit, Krug\'s technique of spanning multiple generations allows her a usefully broad vantage ... Belonging impacts along two registers. On the one hand it produces a heart-wrenching sadness at the plight of the Europeans – Jewish and non-Jewish alike - whose lives were twisted and destroyed by fascism ... On the other hand, it generates a complex reckoning with the present, and with the question of historical responsibility and accountability. Krug achieves both these things through the intense subjectivity of her approach. Unlike works like last year\'s over-hyped Sabrina, which try to say clever things about the present through a sort of detached irony, Krug grabs the reader with both hands and bares her soul. The impact is far more visceral, intelligent and long-lasting, and leaves the reader with a far deeper and more troubled reflection on the intersection of past and present.\
Yuri Herrera, trans. by Lisa Dillman
RavePopMatters...modestly unassuming ... In this thin paperback with a simple black and white cover, he’s packed a dense and colourful world. Woven into a fast-paced narrative adventure is a powerful and poignant depiction of that complicated world-in-becoming whose bloody and fertile veins run through the US-Mexican border ... It’s remarkable what Herrera has accomplished in a short novel of just over 100 pages ... Herrera accomplishes a lot more than just an exciting short novel, however. He casts bare the essence of the border zone where the action takes place ... Herrera portrays this complex terrain with expansive and evocative depth ... Herrera’s ability to weave together intersecting injustices and identities is profound ... Easily readable in a single sitting, it’s hard to put down simply because it propels the reader along, picking up pace and accelerating with each twist of plot. The reader feels, at the end, as though they’re catching their breath. It’s unusual for a novel so full of evocative symbolism and imagery to also possess such a fast-paced plot; Herrera manages both most capably ... a profoundly important book, and one of the few such works to also have the distinction of being a profoundly enjoyable book.
Eric Vuillard, Trans. by, Mark Polizzotti
RavePopMattersÉric Vuillard\'s The Order of the Day covers this moment in Austrian history, and reveals it as more than just an Austrian moment. Buried in this event are all the elements which led to the spread of fascism in Europe: greed, ambition, obsequiousness. The elitism and greed of corporate capitalists, eager to hedge all their bets and finance any rising star, however odious; the servile deference of public figures who preferred to follow the rising (Nazi) political stars rather than confront them in the name of decency, integrity or democracy; the fawning and genteel ignorance of Western governments, who didn\'t know how to respond to the brutish idiocy of Hitler and the opportunistic goons he surrounded himself with ... It\'s short, scathing, and the highly stylized literary narrative achieves near-poetic heights of form. Still, it\'s well-researched and defiantly concrete as well.
MixedPopMatters\"Unfortunately like most warnings, Albright\'s Fascism: A Warning is full of reflections but short on concrete answers ... What Fascism: A Warning does well is present a colourful and entertaining overview of key people and places in the history of 20th century fascism ... The other problem with Albright\'s Fascism: A Warning is that it offers a dismal alternate vision. At times it\'s not even clear what inspires Albright about democracy. The system she seems to champion is a Cold War artifact; one in which the rich are rich, the poor are poor, a handful or even just a couple of nearly indistinguishable political parties take turns with each other in office, and everyone more or less accepts their lot in life. If you think that sounds less than inspiring, you wouldn\'t be the only one ... It\'s good to see elder, prestigious statespersons like Albright add their voice to the chorus singing out in defense of democracy, and Fascism: A Warning offers some interesting insights and anecdotes from her long career in international politics. But in many ways, the most useful thing about the book is its bold cover with those three stark words burning a reminder at all those who pass it by in the bookshop windows.\