Gerbrand Bakker: The Detour

Gerbrand Bakker’s “The Detour“, translated from Dutch into English by David Colmer: This is a story about a woman with a debilitating illness who has escaped from her former life in Amsterdam and retreated into a rural farmhouse, complete with an unused pigsty, geese and roaming sheep, in northern Wales. Narrated from a third-person perspective, the…

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John Williams: Stoner

Stoner was in the bag as I waited for the train at Brussels’ Gare Centrale to bring me to Amsterdam. If I didn’t know that the book is named after the protagonist, William Stoner, I might have cast it aside as being a novel about someone who is constantly stoned. While the title seems a…

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Peter Stamm: Seven Years

Last May, I was waiting to pay for the pile of books that I had picked up at Waterstones at Piccadilly Street, London. On the counter was a book bearing a soft-focused photo of a bedroom with an unclothed woman in the background. Printed over it in large white font: SEVEN YEARS – PETER STAMM.…

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Antal Szerb: Journey by Moonlight

I just finished reading Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb – first published in Hungarian in 1937, translated into English by Len Rix in 2000. What an intriguing journey! I was drawn into the story from the beginning as I followed the protagonist, Mihaly on a spontaneous escapade from his bourgeois life, as well as his newly-wed…

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