Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some new books we like.

"The question What Ever Happened to Modernism? is not one that Gabriel Josipovici is asking to academics or critics. He's asking us - those who look to art and, in this case, especially literature - what kind of art we feel is vital. Do we want the sentimental and easy or complex and possibly 'difficult'? To give us his answer, Josipovici extends Modernism back in time and also makes it current. By doing this, he demonstrates that Modernism will always be relevant as long as it holds true to its initial ambition to deal honestly with our place in a world largely unmoored from its traditional foundation. His argument is persuasive, passionate, and convincing." - Stephen

"Don't be dissuaded by its size, or by the fact that its protagonists are 10 years old, or by the fact that a few pages in you will realize you are in a world that resembles the one you know but whose inhabitants speak what is practically a foreign language. Rather, these are all reasons why you should read this book.

"In a debut novel that manages to be unique without ever being gimmicky, occasionally funny but never cute, page-turning yet narratively complex, Adam Levin has truly accomplished something of greatness in the story of Gurion Macabee. It's a story about belief, love, social uprising, war, and friendship that you won't want to end - and when it does, it will leave you breathless." - Molly

"If I had written this book, I'd be so purged of all the vile filth festering in my mind that I'd bake wondrous pastries for strangers out of pure saintly impulse. That's how satisfyingly sadistic Castel-Bloom's little masterpiece is. Gratuitously violent isn't a sufficient tag, as the story is also a finely crafted satire of statehood (Israel) and the art of mothering (f*cking up) a child. Orly, you're my new favorite matriarch and I'd light your cigar for you anytime." - Nina

"I've been trying to come up with sufficient praise for Daniel Robberechts novel, but each time I think I find an expression worthy of my feeling, I reconsider, worrying that I'm not getting it right. Despite this inability to properly convey my admiration (in itself a form of praise), I can unequivocally say that Arriving in Avignon is a revelation: parts memoir, novel, travel guide, and history (of a feeling as much as a place), that is not reducible to its parts. To me, this is a certain sign that what we have here is a masterpiece, a book well-deserving of its resurrection, and one that deserves to last." - Stephen

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