Review of “The Gods of Tango”

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In a mean era for the tango — in the days of papal condemnation, of Queen Mary’s censure — De Robertis sets her potboiler of a novel, “The Gods of Tango.” And it is into the overcrowded conventillos of turn-of-the-century Buenos Aires, those squalid slums filled with luckless immigrants and the stench of plonk, sweat and foul […]

Bolaño’s “A Little Lumpen Novelita”

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Book review: ‘A Little Lumpen Novelita,’ by Roberto Bolaño By Marie Arana November 17, 2014 The irony of Latin American letters is that the torch has not passed to the living. It has gone from dead giants of the boom — Paz, García Márquez, Cortázar, Borges — to a fresher voice, a voice that speaks to millennials […]

Ishiguro’s “Buried Giant” Defies Easy Categorization

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There are authors who write in tidy, classifiable, immediately recognizable genres — Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, to name a few — and then there are those who adamantly do not. These others can surprise us with story lines and settings that are guises to be worn and shucked after the […]

Marie’s review of José Saramago’s “Skylight”

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Saramago’s just published and long-neglected novel is a sketchbook for the superb work that Saramago would ultimately produce. And yet, there is no shortage of wonders to be found in it. More . . .  “Skylight” By José Saramago Review by Marie Arana “The journey never ends,” José Saramago once wrote. “Only travelers end.” We […]

The extraordinary life of Cabeza de Vaca, Marie’s review

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Almost 500 years ago, the newly formed Empire of Spain — forged by the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, blessed by the pope, and unified by the eviction of Moors and the forcible conversion of Jews — issued a declaration that would forever define the Americas. It was called the Requerimiento, and it stated unequivocally […]

Marie reviews Amy Bloom’s “Lucky Us”

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If America has a Victor Hugo, it is Amy Bloom, whose picaresque novels roam the world, plumb the human heart and send characters into wild roulettes of kismet and calamity. Her best known work, “Away,” was an epic adventure set in the early 20th century. In it, a Jewish mother survives a devastating Russian pogrom, comes to America, becomes […]

Marie reviews Sebastian Barry’s “The Temporary Gentleman”

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It is a measure of our distraction that Sebastian Barry — one of the best writers in the English language — is not better known in this country. His soul-wrenching narratives and incantatory prose rival those of British novelists who are far more famous on these shores: Ian McEwan, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro. But whereas those artists write […]

Review of William Easterly’s “Tyranny of Experts”

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Can a whole global development community be wrong? Can it be that it’s been wrong since the beginning? That the glittering palaces dedicated to fighting poverty — the World Bank, the United Nations, the Gates and Rockefeller foundations, not to mention the aid agencies, think tanks, and well-meaning initiatives by policy experts and Hollywood stars […]

Marie reviews Richard Russo’s memoir

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“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art,” William Faulkner once remarked, and the phrase became good as law. A writer, he said, was “driven by demons.” If he was any good, it was because he was ruthless, willing to sacrifice whatever it took to tell his story. Forget pride, honor, decency: If a writer […]

 
 

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