Review: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson In 2004, David Mitchell impressed readers and critics alike with Cloud Atlas, his genre-defying (and Booker-Prize-shortlisted) novel with a structure more akin to a set of Russian nesting dolls than a typical novel. In his most recent novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Mitchell skips the literary fireworks in favor of the more conventional form …

Twisted Spoon Press on “Trickle-Up Publishing”

In Growth Markets by Amanda DeMarco

By Amanda DeMarco PRAGUE: In an April 15th New York Times Op-Ed piece, Olga Tokarczuk ruminated on Polish public response to the recent plane crash that had killed the Polish president and 95 other people: “…sometimes I fear that the people of my country can unite only beside victims’ bodies, over coffins and in cemeteries…I dream of Poland becoming a …

Review: The Most Beautiful Book in the World by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson Although labeled “novellas” in the subtitle, these eight pieces are true short stories; each one contains only a few key characters and spans roughly twenty pages.  In the broadest sense, these stories uncover the hidden sources of humanity’s best qualities:  happiness, forgiveness, love, and generosity.  Schmitt’s tormented characters stumble upon these redemptive qualities in the unlikeliest of places, often despite …

Anchee Min Offers a Chinese Look at Pearl S. Buck

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Ed Nawotka Anchee Min’s new novel Pearl of China re-imagines the life of Nobel Prize-winner Pearl S. Buck (The Good Earth) from a Chinese perspective for what is perhaps the first time. She spoke about the book, which is told from the point of view of a contemporary of Buck, at a recent event at the Asia Society in New York. …

Review: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson Physicist Paolo Giordano’s debut novel, The Solitude of Prime Numbers, won Italy’s premier literary award, the Premio Strega, in 2008. Now available in the U.S. in an English translation, The Solitude of Prime Numbers explores the poignant relationship that develops between two misfits, Alice and Mattia. Alice, an anorexic with a limp left over from a childhood skiing accident, resists …

Are There Still Topics Too Taboo for Fiction?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Today’s lead story by Chip Rossetti discusses the popularity of Essam Youssef’s heroin-fueled novel 1/4 Gram, which is set in the world Cairo’s high society. Some of the popularity of the novel is that it portrays a world — a taboo world — little seen by readers in the Arab world. The same could be said for …

Review: Solar by Ian McEwan

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

Reviewed by Gwendolyn Dawson Solar, Ian McEwan’s eleventh novel, follows the troubled career and love life of 53-year-old physicist Michael Beard. Beard won the Nobel Prize in physics for work he completed as a young man but, after five failed marriages, is now trapped in a decades-long slump of “no new ideas.” Living the life of an aimless bureaucrat saddled with speech …

Review: The Boy with the Cuckoo Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson Jack, the first-person narrator of Mathias Malzieu’s most recent novel, is born in Edinburgh on an uncommonly cold day in April 1874. A clever midwife saves the newborn from certain death by surgically implanting a cuckoo clock in his chest to regulate his weak heart. Abandoned by his mother and sporting a loudly ticking clock for a heart, Jack …

Using Fiction to Tell the Truth

In Feature Articles by Erin L. Cox

Portuguese journalist and novelist José Rodrigues dos Santos discusses how fiction can be a better way to tell a true story. By José Rodrigues dos Santos LISBON, PORTUGAL:  The American Super Stallion helicopters landed in the Kuwaiti desert amongst much dust and panache, and the US Marines took position in the sandy grounds in full combat gear, pointing their guns …