Book Review: On Elegance While Sleeping by Viscount Emilio Tegui

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson Emilio Lascano Tegui (1887-1966) was, at various times during his eventful life, an Argentinean, a Parisian, a self-labeled viscount, a translator, a journalist, a curator, a painter, a decorator, a diplomat, a mechanic, an orator, a dentist, and, fortunately for us, a writer. Tegui’s 1925 novel On Elegance While Sleeping, a cult classic in Argentina, Tegui’s home country, …

Book Review: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson As might be guessed from its title, one of the primary characters (14-year-old Skippy) dies within this novel’s first few pages. After that unexpected death, which interrupts a doughnut-eating contest between roommates, the narrative jumps backwards in time to cover the events leading up to that fateful event. Along the way, Skippy Dies touches on every imaginable component of …

Book Review: Enough About Love by Hervé Le Tellier

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

Reviewed by Gwendolyn Dawson In true Oulipo fashion, Hervé Le Tellier’s latest novel, Enough About Love, is a constraint-filled endeavor. With a structure inspired by a game of Abkhazian dominoes, Le Tellier’s six protagonists combine and recombine in every possible two-person configuration in short chapters titled according to their major players (e.g., Yves and Anna, Thomas and Louise). The chapters …

Book Review: Rose Tremain’s Trespass

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson Beginning with the very first chapter, in which a young girl makes a shocking discovery in a creek while on a school field trip, Trespass overflows with foreboding and suspense.  The novel progresses in two alternating  story lines.  In one, an alcoholic man living in the Cévennes region of southern France is seduced by the money he …

Book Review: The Elephant’s Journey by José Saramago

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson José Saramago’s novel The Elephant’s Journey, published after his death earlier this year, borrows its action from an actual historical event: the gift of an elephant by the king of Portugal to the Archduke of Austria in 1551 and the elephant’s subsequent journey to its new home. Filled with charm and whimsy, it reads like an adult …