A lovely, lyrical novel about a young woman’s self-discovery. Miranda spends her childhood keeping house for her father, whose manuscript—a translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses—she is typing. Miranda’s own tellings of Ovid’s tales weave beautifully into the narrative, giving texture to all she encounters as she undergoes her own transformations.
by Marie Arana
Marie Arana rejects the label "magical realism" for her book because she says there are no occurrences that cannot be scientifically explained. Fair enough. I do have to say, though, that it has the delicious "flavor" of magical realism. The atmospherics reminded me of 100 Years of Solitude and other Latin American works. This is a fantastic family saga with a twist of science and industry.
by James Meek
Set in Siberia after the beginning of the Russian Revolution, where Czech soldiers are still stationed from World War I, this is a fascinating look at a religious cult, a mystery, and a love story, all in one. Although Meek is British and writes in English, he imbues the book with a Russian sensibility so thoroughly that one feels as if the book has been translated.
A kid growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s whose parents make him an outsider from the very beginning takes on a superhero persona in order to navigate the difficulties of adolescence. The threads of the plot are woven together seamlessly, the writing is lush and evocative, the characters have depth.