PositiveChicago Review of BooksInvisible Ink is one of those books you must read twice:the first time to hear about Jean Eyben’s search for Noëlle and the second time to see how Modiano plays with Eyben’s memory—how he leaves breadcrumbs that lead Eyben to epiphanies. There is also a beautiful refrain that connects Noëlle’s life in Paris with her new life in Rome—but instead of Proust’s Vinteuil Sonata, this time, it is a verse by Paul Verlaine. Modiano’s novellas tend to have an orchestral vibe when read together. This translation of Invisible Ink could be a perfect opportunity to follow, albeit in reverse, a brilliant odyssey in the mysteries of memory.
Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, trans. by Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson
RaveChicago Review of BooksWhen first published in 1881, the book breathed new life into Brazilian literature. The new translation feels even fresher ... Brás Cubas narrates the events of his anticlimactic life with a humor that makes it hard to suppress a laugh ... plots and subplots have the kind of farce and wit one expects from a modern sitcom ... It is a distinctly realist writing that scrutinizes social relationships through the perspective of an egotistic, spoiled protagonist and is unencumbered by political movements of the time ... expansive and erudite references not only demonstrate the literary prowess of Machado de Assis but also, strangely enough, add to the lightheartedness of the book ... The most a reader can ask for is that the translation brings out the irony, wit, and playfulness of Machado de Assis’s prose. In that respect, this new translation by the duo is sure to impress ... With 160 short chapters in only 256 pages, the book may be a quick read but, when it ends, the reader is left yearning for more.
PositiveCleveland Review of BooksMost stories in the collection are told with a voice of a first-person witness, making palpable the anxiety and agony of the narrator ... The title of the book, Tales of Two Planets, ought to not be taken literally. Some of the ‘tales’ included aren’t tales at all—interspersed between stories and personal anecdotes are poems, including one from Margaret Atwood. More importantly, there isn’t a clear split that divides the planet into two narratives. Instead, we have a myriad of narratives, each about a unique adversity. However, the point of the book seems to be that despite seemingly different appearances, environmental problems around the world can be traced to a common root—that of thoughtless pollution and relentless pillaging of precious resources ... the book manages to take the reader on an evocative stroll through a wounded and scarred landscape that wraps around the world.
PositiveOrion MagazineIn the book, she documents the evolution of our understanding of migration. The scale of migration among animals, birds, and plants is so vast that it continues to mystify scientists. Shah discusses how early European explorers were shocked by the diversity of humans they encountered, and naturalists of the time developed taxonomies reinforcing the idea of the superiority of the European race. The first wedge between familiar and foreign was forged with science.