Category: Fiction

North by Brad Kessler

I read a lot of books where I praise the empathy displayed, but after reading Brad Kessler’s brilliant North, I realized that there’s another, rarer quality I appreciate even more in writing: the quality of compassion. It’s one thing to understand where another person’s pain is coming from, to find common ground no matter how …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/10/14/north-by-brad-kessler/

Songbirds by Christy Lefteri

Exceptionally moving novel that spotlights the harms of a practice that most people don’t even like to think about. I can seriously say that in all my years of reading, I’ve encountered maybe one entire other work of fiction that’s addressed this issue with honesty and compassion, Ovidia Yu’s terrific Meddling And Murder. That said, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/19/songbirds-by-christy-lefteri/

The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

The Red-Haired Woman by Orhan Pamuk

One of Orhan Pamuk‘s great virtues as a storyteller is his ability to create situations in which several different versions of reality are all possible within the narrative that he has established, and it is — at least for a time — left to the reader to decide which one is the truth of the tale, or …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/08/14/the-red-haired-woman-by-orhan-pamuk/

The Portrait Of A Mirror by A. Natasha Joukovsky

As someone who cherishes the idea of eventually writing fiction professionally one day, it is 100% infuriating to read books like this, books so elegant, so intelligent, so perfect and modern that it makes any effort I could possibly make feel superfluous. Having a healthy ego, I will get over my sheer envy in days, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/06/07/the-portrait-of-a-mirror-by-a-natasha-joukovsky/

Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield

There is a LOT going on in this book, and some of it is really good and some of it is really bad, but I definitely looked up the age of the author after this and I’m genuinely convinced that in a decade or two, she’s going to come back to this book and wince …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/05/05/hurricane-summer-by-asha-bromfield/

Münchnerinnen by Ludwig Thoma

Münchnerinnen by Ludwig Thoma

It will not surprise a contemporary reader that a young housewife, neglected by her husband, will find affection elsewhere. Nor did it likely surprise Ludwig Thoma’s audience in 1919 when Münchnerinnen (Munich Ladies) was published. The book is set in the late 1800s, when people would have felt it necessary to affect surprise, though given …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/04/28/munchnerinnen-by-ludwig-thoma/

Die Olympiasiegerin by Herbert Achternbusch

There’s a scene in “Before Sunrise” where the young couple encounters two Austrian guys who tell the visitors about a play they are putting on, an eye-rolling bit of Continental pretension. Man with tie: This is a play we’re both in, and we would like to invite you. Céline: You’re actors? Man with tie: No, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/03/21/die-olympiasiegerin-by-herbert-achternbusch/

Der ewige Spießer by Ödön von Horváth

Ödön von Horváth was born in 1901 in what was then the Austro-Hungarian port city of Fiume and is now known as Rijeka, Croatia. His name and his family background reflect a Mitteleuropa that was thriving (at least for some people) when he was born, was damaged by the First World War, and practically destroyed …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/03/14/der-ewige-spieser-by-odon-von-horvath/

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/

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Happy Black History Month, everyone! I’m so excited to have just read a strong slate of contemporary novels featuring Black protagonists and casts living their best lives, whether it’s via superheroics, sleuthing or, in this latest case, shop-keeping while falling in love. Real Men Knit follows Jesse Strong, the youngest of four very different adoptive …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/01/real-men-knit-by-kwana-jackson/