Doug Merrill

Writer, editor, translator, project manager, reformed bookseller. Currently based in Berlin, following stints in Moscow, Tbilisi, Munich, Washington, Warsaw, Budapest and Atlanta. Also blogs at A Fistful of Euros, though less frequently than here these days.

Most commented posts

  1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — 7 comments
  2. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin — 6 comments
  3. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  4. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments
  5. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments

Author's posts

Mar 07 2021

Wintering Out by Seamus Heaney

Wintering Out by Seamus Heaney

Wintering Out struck me as even more oblique than Door into the Dark, and I often struggled to see and hear what Heaney was connecting with. Not that they have to be something that I can find on first reading, or even second or third. Wintering Out has the first appearance of Tollund Man, a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/03/07/wintering-out-by-seamus-heaney/

Feb 22 2021

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Poisoner of Underpants, Autocrat of Some of the Russias, in Gessen’s reckoning probably the son of a secret policeman, was born in Leningrad in 1952. Like any proper villain — but also like anyone born in that place in that year — he has a tragic backstory. Hitler’s army completed its encirclement of Leningrad …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/22/the-man-without-a-face-the-unlikely-rise-of-vladimir-putin-by-masha-gessen/

Feb 14 2021

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, Boromir failed. But he was far from alone. Denethor failed in sending a war leader on a mission meant for a diplomat. Aragorn and Gandalf failed to give him his due, and after that they failed to recognize that they were freezing out their proud companion. Despite their supposed wisdom, they did not see …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/14/the-two-towers-by-j-r-r-tolkien/

Feb 07 2021

Drive Your Plows Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Nobel laureate, Polish literature, what’s not to like? It turns out that for me the more relevant question was what’s to like? Tokarczuk’s first-person narrator and protagonist, Janina Duszejko lives alone in a small group of houses on a plateau in southern Poland, hard up against the border with the Czech Republic. Most of the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/07/drive-your-plows-over-the-bones-of-the-dead-by-olga-tokarczuk/

Feb 02 2021

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins written by Eric Kimmel

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel

Kid One first fell in love with this book as an elementary school student, a Protestant child living in an Orthodox country enjoying a very Jewish story. And what’s not to like? Hershel of Ostropol wanders into an unnamed Central European village on the first night of Hanukkah expecting celebration and hospitality. Instead, he finds …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/02/hershel-and-the-hanukkah-goblins-written-by-eric-kimmel/

Jan 23 2021

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Well this time around — the first in at least eight years — I read the Tom Bombadil chapter, and I’m glad I did. I had gotten in the habit of skipping it, so it had lodged in my mind as both much longer — turns out the chapter is only 15 pages — and far duller …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/23/the-fellowship-of-the-ring-by-j-r-r-tolkien/

Jan 02 2021

Taking Stock of 2020

Whew, what a year. I’m glad to be here to see the end of it. In late April, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic, I found myself in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy that required a second surgery and several nights in the ICU. It happened like this: one Friday, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/02/taking-stock-of-2020/

Dec 31 2020

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

How would a sword-and-sorcery author who basically wanted to have a hell of a lot of fun write in the twenty-first century? They’d write like Tamsyn Muir does in Gideon the Ninth, I think. “In the myriadic year of our Lord—the ten thousandth year of the King Undying, the kindly Prince of Death!—Gideon Nav packed …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/12/31/gideon-the-ninth-by-tamsyn-muir/

Dec 23 2020

The Peripheral by William Gibson

The Peripheral by William Gibson

Like the protagonist of Neuromancer, William Gibson is an artiste of the slightly funny deal. In The Peripheral the first slightly funny deal is between some people in England who hire some other folks in a small-town part of Appalachia in the US. The English contingent wants the people across the pond to fly a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/12/23/the-peripheral-by-william-gibson-2/

Dec 06 2020

Beowulf translated by Maria Dahvana Headley

Beowulf by Maria Dahvana Headley

Bro! As has been said before, Beowulf is a poem that forces translators to show their style from the very first word. That word in the original is “Hwæt,” an Old English attention grabber, and how translators render it tells a lot about what’s coming in the rest of the poem. Will the version lean …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2020/12/06/beowulf-translated-by-maria-dahvana-headley/