Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘language’

Essays |

In Other Words

Raised in Greece during its period of intensive Westernization, Giota Tachtara lived all her life among things that had two names, two qualities, two associations, and two accents: one in Greek and one in English. Now, as an American resident, she roots through her bilingual bookcase and writes about the narrator in her head who’s caught in the middle.

Shop Talk |

Loss for words? Borrow some.

A few weeks back, Michael sent me a pretty sweet list of “Words That Don’t Exist in English” from Matt Griswold’s blog. They include: Waldeinsamkeit (German): The feeling of being alone in the woods. Esprit de l’escalier (French): The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Literally translated: “the spirit of the staircase.” Laced with Love has a round-up of words that don’t exist in English as well#151;some overlap, but one I particularly enjoyed was: Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): To borrow objects one by one from a […]

Reviews |

The Oracle of Stamboul, by Michael David Lukas

Lee Thomas calls Michael David Lukas’s debut novel, The Oracle of Stamboul, an antidote to mid-winter malaise with “sun-drenched marble, the heat and clamor of the bazaar, and a warm, salt breeze off the Sea of Marmara.” The book features a precocious prodigy, eight-year-old Eleonora Cohen, as a guide through Lukas’s tale of political intrigue in late 19th-century Stamboul.

Shop Talk |

Save Time to Save Words

During the holidays, everyone seems to be rushing to get something or other done. If it’s not buying presents or attending parties, many of us are traveling to visit friends and family. And at least here in Michigan, where winter has set in, people are hurrying everywhere, trying to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. But getting there is half the fun, right? Earlier this year, the Oxford English Dictionary launched its “Save the Words” campaign. It promises to make getting around (alas, only conversationally) more fun while saving words that are falling out of […]

Interviews |

Talking with the Dead: An Interview with Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li (Gold Boy, Emerald Girl) discusses with Angela Watrous what it means to be an American writer; the elusive process of revision; the art of transforming stories into screenplays; and the act of talking aloud to famous dead writers.

Reviews |

A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan

In a generation of “Pointers,” the relationship between and among songs on an album—its narrative—is all but lost in favor of hit single after single. But in Jennifer Egan’s new book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, an array of stories mix into a cohesive novel, each chapter self-contained yet fluid as the grooves of an LP.

Reviews |

Sarah/Sara, by Jacob Paul

Jacob Paul’s debut, Sarah/Sara, is not a joyful read, but it is a deeply moving one. The novel unfolds as the journal of Sarah Frankel, an American-born Jew who, shortly after finishing college, moved to Israel, where she took the Hebrew version of her name (“Sara,” pronounced Sah-rah) and became far more ritually observant than she was raised to be. After her visiting parents are killed in a suicide bombing in the café below her Jerusalem apartment, Sara embarks on a six-week, solo kayaking trip through the Arctic. Throughout the beautiful yet dangerous trek, Sarah’s thoughts turn not only to her past—memories—but also to an imagined future, one that challenges her faith.