Bohumil Hrabal: Too Loud a Solitude

Czechoslovakian writer Bohumil Hrabal comes out of a long tradition of wicked satirists. Think of Rabelais, Swift, Voltaire, and, in our era, Günter Grass (The Tin Drum), Raymond Coover (The Public Burning), and Terry Southern (The Magic Christian). Or, even more...

Eileen Chang: Love in a Fallen City

Eileen Chang is, for me, a problematic writer. She is a very good writer, and I want to like her writing more than I do. The reasons are complicated. But first, let’s establish some facts on the ground. Chang was born in Shanghai, 1920, and raised bilingually, Chinese...

Italo Calvino: Invisible Cities

“It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear.”  One thing that helped me decide when I contemplated doing a series of blog posts based on PowellsBooks Blog, “25 Books to Read Before You Die, World Edition, 2016,” was seeing on the list a book by Italo...

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