TAROKO GORGE, Jacob Ritari: picked this one up half because of twitter (what else is new) and half because i had been meaning to read it since before it was publicly available. and a good thing i finally got to it! well worth a read. it’s a murder mystery (kinda sorta), a meditation on Buddhism (kinda sorta) and tourism and cultural clashes, and also a high school drama (kinda sorta). in other words, i am bad at summarizing books and this one is a doozy. Ritari writes evocatively and well, with a few lines so sharp you’ll want to quote them to people. tense, surprising, and satisfying.
STALEMATE, Icchokas Meras: when a publisher gives a push to a book that’s been out for FIVE YEARS in their newsletter, i for one pay attention. Other Press publishes some of the best international/translated writing i’ve read, and this one is up at the top. as i say, i am bad at summarizing books, and in the wrong hands the plot summary sounds like an over-done Hollywood drama: in a ghetto during WWII, a chess game between a Jewish prodigy and a German commandant will decide the fate of the ghetto’s children. but nothing, in the history of everything, could be less cliche. and i mean that. the book spirals through the lives of Abraham Lipman and his children (one of them the chess prodigy). moving, horrifying, redeeming, stunning. they should teach this book in schools and colleges, both for craft and topic. READ IT.