World Literature

Objects of mercy

Herta Muller’s The Appointment is a book about objects and their power to make life real, make life livable. Humans are useless because they have all given up. The nameless narrator narrates her life on a tram en route to yet another interrogation by Major Albu, one of countless henchmen working to keep the Communist […]


The Brazilian Bovary

In honor of a recent trip to Rio, I revisited Dom Casmurro, the classic of Brazilian classics. Normally I don’t revisit classics because, no matter how relevant, their language has ceased to be current. But Dom Casmurro is the exception, and not just among its Brazilian peers. Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, its author, makes […]


A Mutis woman

Alvaro Mutis, one of Colombia’s most beloved writers, died today at age 90. A surprising number of media outlets are reporting the news and recalling Maqroll, the sailor that Mutis wrote to life. But, he created another memorable seaman, Captain Jon Iturri, who plays the hero in The Tramp Steamer’s Last Port of Call, one of the […]