Tonstant Weader Reviews

Opinionated Book Reviews.


In Translation

My Brilliant Life by Ae-Ran Kim

My Brilliant Life is the story of Areum who is approaching his sixteenth and likely his last birthday. Born with progeria, the disease that causes a child to age rapidly, Areum wants to give his parents a final gift, the story... Continue Reading →

The Helios Disaster by Linda Boström Knausgård

The Helios Disaster is a story of mental illness. It begins with a young girl being taken from her father and placed in foster care. Her father is diagnosed with schizophrenia, but this is all fractured in the telling. The... Continue Reading →

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

Earthlings is Natsuki's story from childhood to adulthood. She and her cousin bond over summer vacation at her grandparents. They both have mothers who deprive them of love and security. Yuu's mother threatens him with abandonment. Natsuki's mother is verbally abusive... Continue Reading →

The Summer of Kim Novak by Håkan Nesser

The Summer of Kim Novak is a rare story in that it surprised me and more than once. It is as much the story of friendship and memory as it is a murder mystery. Erik is looking back on a... Continue Reading →

A Hundred Million Years and a Day by Jean-Baptiste Andrea

A Hundred Million Years and a Day is everything I like in a novel. Spare prose about people testing themselves against the extremes of nature. Stan is a paleontologist who is seeking the skeleton of a brontosaurus hidden in an... Continue Reading →

Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei

Second Sister is an unusual mystery/thriller. As it opens, Nga-Yee is returning from her day working at the library but there is a crowd around her apartment building and as she struggles through she finds her fifteen-year-old sister lying on... Continue Reading →

A Bond Undone by Jin Yong

A Bond Undone is a picaresque adventure novel featuring two young lovers, Guo Jing and Lotus Huang. They travel around China, learning kung fu from the masters, saving people, getting saved. Lotus ran away from her father who is one of... Continue Reading →

A Long Way Off by Pascal Garnier

A Long Way Off is a short noir picaresque of sorts from French writer Pascal Garnier. It tells the story of Marc who is married happily enough to Chloe, his second wife. He's feeling a bit out of sorts with... Continue Reading →

The Sacrament by Olaf Olafsson

The Sacrament is the story of a nun returning to Iceland years after she was sent to investigate a priest running a Catholic elementary school who had been anonymously denounced for molesting children. She narrates the story as we slip... Continue Reading →

Swede Hollow by Ola Larsmo

Swede Hollow tells the story of a Swedish immigrant family, Gustaf and Anna Klar, their three children, and successive generations. It begins in Liverpool where the family traveled from Göteborg before boarding a White Star Line ship to New York... Continue Reading →

This Is Not America by Jordi Puntí

This Is Not America is a collection of nine short stories mostly taking place in Barcelona, but also with Catalans traveling abroad. The first and last stories are the strangest. In the first, "Vertical", a man is waking the 'I'... Continue Reading →

The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo

The Girl Without Skin begins with what seems to be an important historical find, a Norse mummy in a crevasse. A police officer left to guard the body is murdered, his body flensed and eviscerated with an ulu, as though... Continue Reading →

The Waiter by Matias Faldbakken

Matias Falkbakken has written two other novels in addition to The Waiter but is the only one translated into English. I mention this because for a moment, I thought it must be the novel that inspired Pete Buttigieg to learn Norwegian so... Continue Reading →

Fragments by Heraclitus

I was thinking about the quotation "The only constant is change," and how much it reflects our modern world. I wondered who said it first and was shocked to learn it was a philosopher from Ancient Greece, one I was... Continue Reading →

Berlin Noir by Thomas Wörtche

Berlin Noir is another edition of the Akashic Noir series. It has thirteen chapters organized in three parts: Stress in the City; Cops and Gangsters; and Berlin Scenes. They range from the heartbreaking story of mental illness fracturing a family... Continue Reading →

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