Tonstant Weader Reviews

Opinionated Book Reviews.


In Translation

My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci

I love it when a sentence takes an unexpected turn, surprising and delighting me. That happened early in Pajtim Statovci's My Cat Yugoslavia. Bekim, a young Albanian Kosovar who lives in exile in Finland is at a gay bar and observing... Continue Reading →

Meeting with My Brother by Yi Mun-yŏl

Yi Mun-yŏl is one of Korea's most respected authors. When he was a child, his father abandoned the family, defecting to North Korea. This shamed the family and left them impoverished as they were widely shunned as the family of... Continue Reading →

Fardwor, Russia! by Oleg Kashin

The loudest, longest laughter is born out of the need to keep from crying. That is the well that Oleg Kashin plumbed for Fardwor, Russia!, his wildly satirical novel, assuming that it is possible to satirize Putin's Russia. The full title is "Fardwor, Russia —... Continue Reading →

Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez

Things We Lost in the Fire is a collection of twelve short stories by Mariana Enriquez, an Argentinian journalist and writer. Many of the stories take place in the eighties and nineties, during the Junta and the years of economic instability and... Continue Reading →

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař

A cloud of cosmic dust appeared just off Venus and settled there, changing the color and tenor of the night sky. It's a mystery and the world waits to see whether the Russians, Chinese, or the Americans will win the... Continue Reading →

As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka

As Red as Blood is the first book in a fabulously successful young adult series from Finland called The Snow White Trilogy. The books tell the story of Limukki Andersson whose name means Snow White, even though she would argue that she... Continue Reading →

The White City by Karolina Ramqvist

In The White City, new mother Karin is clearly depressed. She's struggling alone, the man she loves is gone. She calls her voicemail at low moments to listen to his final message to her, a suggestion they go kayaking on the weekend... Continue Reading →

Human Acts by Han Kang

Human Acts is a difficult novel to read. It is natural to turn away from the gruesome and horrifying details of death, torture, and murder. To be honest, I turned away from her first book, the 2016 Man Booker International Prize... Continue Reading →

Who Watcheth by Helene Tursten

Who Watcheth is a question with more than one answer in this latest installment in Helene Tursten's excellent police procedural series featuring Inspector Irene Huss of Göteborg, Sweden. Huss is on the trail of a serial killer who wraps his victims up... Continue Reading →

Beyond the Truth by Anne Holt

In a shocking opening sequence, Beyond the Truth begins with an aged, cold, wounded, and hungry stray dog searching for food and shelter in a well-to-do neighborhood that he considers his turf. He is looking for food and shelter. He finds it.... Continue Reading →

The Sagas of Icelanders ed. by Jane Smiley

The Sagas of Icelanders is an expansive collection of Icelandic family sagas and stories. Most of them were written from the 13th and 14th century. Iceland and Greenland were settled a few centuries earlier and the sagas cover the stories... Continue Reading →

The Angels Die by Yasmina Khadra

The Angels Die opens with Turambo, the narrator and hero of our story, preparing for his execution by guillotine. It is written by Yasmina Khadra, who has written more than twenty novels. This is the story of Turambo's rise and fall, from... Continue Reading →

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

The hardest books to write about are the ones we love the most. It becomes nearly impossible to distill everything that made the book so wonderful into a few paragraphs. The desire to include everything battles with the desire to... Continue Reading →

The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermoût

Maria Dermoût's The Ten Thousand Things had the strangest effect on me as I read it. Just a few paragraphs and I relaxed into the story. I felt at peace reading the story, even when it explored the many murders that Mrs.... Continue Reading →

The Sun King Conspiracy by Yves Jégo and Denis Lépée

The Sun King Conspiracy by Yves Jégo and Denis Lépée is a complex historical novel with a myriad of intrigue and conspiracy swirling around Louis XIV, the famed Sun King. It's a novel full of the movers and shakers of the 17th... Continue Reading →

Blog at

Up ↑