Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘lit and politics’

Reviews |

A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism, by Peter Mountford

A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism is not your grandfather’s expat novel. In this smart debut, Peter Mountford rolls up his sleeves and delivers a crash course in Latin American history, contemporary economics, and international politics—all within a page-turning story about the dreams and gaffes of a twenty-something American working for an unscrupulous hedge fund in Bolivia.


Interviews |

That Tar-Black Taste: An Interview with Vladislav Todorov

Where do film noir, post-communist Bulgarian fiction, and black comedy intersect? In Vladislav Todorov’s searing noir-meets-social-commentary novel, Zift. Contributing Editor Steven Wingate and Todorov discuss poisonings, the resurgence of narrative fiction in post-communist Eastern Europe, the idea that “many people enjoyed spying on their neighbors” for the state, and much more.


Shop Talk |

Haiti: Remembering Her Stories

Jaunary 12, 2011 marked the 1-year anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake that rocked Haiti. The news this past week has been filled with scenes of the temporary camps set up to house the one million Haitians left homeless by the quake – largely unchanged a year later. Just yesterday, police arrested Jean-Claude Duvalier – the controversial Haitian politician who fled Haiti in 1986 – from a Port-Au-Prince hotel. Duvalier has lived in self-imposed exile for nearly a quarter century, after a popular uprising overthrew his regime. Haitian Literature Is a Living Art: Jeffrey Brown of the PBS NewsHour and Thomas […]


Essays |

The Seamless Skin: Translation’s Halting Flow

Jennifer Solheim weaves the story of her decade-long translation of Yolaine Simha’s I Saw You on the Street into a meditation on the nature of the translator’s labor. Solheim looks at history, politics, time and rereading to parse how “translation can become a snake biting its own tail: the translator as writer and reader is simultaneously subsumed and resurrected by the text in the original.”


Shop Talk |

What's your Governor reading?

Just in time for the election yesterday, David Kipen went on The Madeleine Brand show on KPCC with a list of what he though would be good required reading for the new California Governor. His list included theory, biography and classics of political writing – and some fiction. Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince, All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren, and The Art of the Impossible: Politics as Morality in Practice by Czech playwright, essayist and former President Václav Havel are just a few of the books Kipen selected. You can find his full list here. So now that the […]


Shop Talk |

Who owns the library?

In an article about the growing trend of private takeovers of public library systems, David Streitfeld of the New York Times poses the question: Can a municipal service like a library hold so central a place that it should be entrusted to a profit-driven contractor only as a last resort — and maybe not even then? With vigorous debate on both sides of the issue, and many towns – and some states – on the brink of bankruptcy, what are your thoughts on the issue? For library systems that do go private, who decides which books are added to collections? […]


Interviews |

Sabotage and Subversion: An Interview with Joshua Furst

Joshua Furst grapples with the human condition by creating characters on the edge. They inhabit the fringes of society, sanity and cultural norms, but remain incredibly grounded in a common American experience, with all its oddball rituals and quirks.


Shop Talk |

Mr. President, tell us a story

One year after President Obama’s inauguration, everyone seems to have either criticism or advice for his administration–for pushing health care reform; for not yet passing health care reform; for not waving his magic wand to fix the economy, eradicate H1N1, and end both wars; for not leaping tall buildings in a single bound. But author Junot Diaz points out a different problem in an an essay in the New Yorker: President Obama’s lack of storytelling since his election. All year I’ve been waiting for Obama to flex his narrative muscles, to tell the story of his presidency, of his Administration, […]


Reviews |

Secret Son, by Laila Lalami

Few places are more evocative of mystery and the exotic than Casablanca. And anyone who has ever imagined its fragrances or color will recognize the setting of Laila Lalami’s second novel. But those who imagine Casablanca merely as a city of romance and North African charm may find themselves at a loss to reconcile the spices of their imagination with the brutal realities of poverty and the political and religious corruption Lalami portrays in Secret Son (Algonquin Books, April 2009).




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