Fernanda Melchor – Hurricane Season

In 1950 Octavio Paz wrote about “a magical word” with “innumerable meanings” in Mexican culture. This was chingar, for which the English verb “to fuck” provides a dull shadow of a translation. “Who is the Chingada [the fucked one]?” Paz asked rhetorically. “Above all, she is the Mother.” Carlos Fuentes’s The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962) contains a long […]

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Tony Horwitz – Spying on The South

In the early 1850s, as America slid towards civil war, a young reporter for what was then the New-York Daily Times journeyed through the slave states. He hoped to gain a “reliable understanding of the sentiments and hopes & fears” among their people, and “promote the mutual acquaintance of the North and South”. What he saw of […]

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Sergio de la Pava – Lost Empress

American mass-incarceration is the most overt object of the ‘protest’ of this novel’s subtitle. The author, Sergio De La Pava, works as a public defender in New York City, and calls on an intimate secondhand knowledge of the many different sorrows to be found in the ripples of a single criminal case. But Lost Empress is also […]

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Cynthia Ozick – Letters of Intent

Ozick was born in 1928, when the milk in her native Bronx was still delivered by horse and cart. Her father owned a drugstore, which “seemed one of the world’s permanent institutions. Who could have imagined that it would one day vanish into an aisle in the supermarket. . .?” The twenty-first century is largely absent […]

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