RaveThe Guardian... packs a devastating punch: it is the work of an accomplished novelist. The book expands and complicates Statovci’s central theme of youthful revolt – against conventional belonging, pre-determined identities, nationalities, families, origins, against life as a tyranny foretold ... The book is alive with such wonderful gothic scenes, a visceral sense of alienation and desire. With considerable literary panache, Statovci treads a line between raw tragedy and a more formal aesthetic of abjection bordering on existential horror, in the best European literary-philosophical tradition from Camus to Kafka, Kadare to Kristeva. The sensitivity and poetry of David Hackston’s translation match the original ... Statovci’s brilliance is primarily as an intuitive storyteller, though there is the occasional overdose of narcissistic misery ... finds new ways of bringing the question of who belongs, and who is cast out, to an exquisitely painful point ... The brutal beauty of Crossing comes from its almost cellular understanding of belonging and exclusion, love and cruelty. It is a powerful phoenix of a book that rises from the ashes of the previous century. It speaks to the sins of the fathers, which the children must transcend by crossing to the other side – or perish.
Olga Tokarczuk, Trans. by Jennifer Croft
RaveThe GuardianIt is a novel of intuitions as much as ideas, a cacophony of voices and stories seemingly unconnected across time and space, which meander between the profound and the facetious, the mysterious and the ordinary, and whose true register remains one of glorious ambiguity ... Flights has echoes of WG Sebald, Milan Kundera, Danilo Kiš and Dubravka Ugrešić, but Tokarczuk inhabits a rebellious, playful register very much her own ... Flights is a passionate and enchantingly discursive plea for meaningful connectedness.
Wioletta Greg, Trans. by Eliza Marciniak
RaveThe Guardian\"Thanks to Eliza Marciniak’s crisp translation, it brings freshness even to the crowded genre of the novella-sized bildungsroman, and can be devoured alongside the best coming-of-age translations of recent years … Swallowing Mercury is a richly textured portrait of a culture now lost: rural life under one of the milder communist regimes. Though the translator’s contextualising note at the end is useful, Greg straightaway plunges us into a deftly signposted world where jarring elements coexist almost magically … Greg moves back and forth across time with a poet’s panache. It is refreshing to find a fiction writer so free of stylistic pomp, so and finely attuned to the truth of her material, a novel so sensually saturated. The full cumulative power of Greg’s prose is felt towards the end, as it accelerates alongside Wiola’s adolescence – until we are swept into the unknown.\
MixedThe Guardian\"The brilliant black comedy and matryoshka-style narrative are among the novel\'s great joys. But they are also one of the problems: after meeting innumerable exotic characters, it dawned on me that the back-stories stand in for a story, and style stands in for emotion ... But there is a sorrow that sometimes undercuts the flights of fancy, and this saves The Tiger\'s Wife from being a freak show. Obreht\'s – and Natalia\'s – real journey is back in time, and the real investigation here is of the difficult times, violent death and crippled afterlife of that mythical place once called Yugoslavia ... The Tiger\'s Wife is a frisky tiger cub chasing its tail – it covers a lot of ground, growls a lot, and never quite gets there, but we have fun along the way. What the novel lacks in emotional depth, it makes up for in personality and sheer wackiness.\
PositiveThe GuardianNovi? follows the lurch into total nightmare all the way to the event that terminates the first section, and Ana’s childhood. This is tough territory for any novelist, and it takes guts to go there. This key scene is written with chilling restraint: in the unspeakable moment, that crisp voice is devastating ... The young perspective is the novel’s principal charm, but the tone is disrupted with too many overstretched exchanges anxious to tell us things we already know ... Novi? excels at distilling visual poetry from action scenes, and there is one section in the middle that steals the show, when the shellshocked young Ana drifts into a twilight community and becomes an accidental combatant.