In “The Brew,” a powerful story from Karen Joy Fowler’s new collection, Black Glass (Marian Wood/Hold, $23), a women stands in a hotel lobby staring at an aquarium. “Sometimes,” she tells herself, “we can find a smaller world where we can live, inside the bigger world where we cannot.”
OUT OF THE DARK by Patrick Modiano
The unnamed narrator of the French Novelist patrick Modiano’s latest book is so successful at escaping his past that he barely remembers he has one. Only Jacqueline, a fellow drifter whom he met on the Left Bank in Paris when they were both very young, remains vivid in his memory.
TELL ME EVERYTHING by Joyce Hinnefeld
Joyce Hinnefeld’s strong debut collection portrays in spare, haunting prose the lives of women of different ages and backgrounds, all of whom feel trapped in various female roles.
THE LONE MAN by Bernardo Atxaga
The writings of Marx, Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg provide a theoretical backdrop to his laborious thriller by the eminent Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga. Carlos, the lone man of the title, is part owner of a hotel on the outskirts of Barcelona, and a former Basque terrorist. The story unfolds during the 1982 World Cup, when the Polish soccer team is staying at the hotel…
THE OFFICERS CAMP by Giampiero Carocci
The Italian historian Giampiero Carocci’s memoir of the two years he spent in the German military concentration camps is a small masterpiece. His story begins in 1943, after the fall of Mussolini, when Carocci and another officer were captured by the German Army.
The Perversity of Everyday Life
Ines Arredondo’s collection of short fiction, Underground River and Other Stories (University of Nebraska, cloth, $30; paper, $12), is nothing short of spellbinding. Mostly set in a small town in northwestern Mexico at the beginning of this century, it provides a stunning expression of the erotic perversity found in seemingly ordinary lives in each story, hovering just below the placid surface of daily existence, lurks a tragicomic opera of battling desires.
THE POLLEN ROOM by Zoe Jenny
When the mysterious title of the Swiss writer Zoe Jenny’s first novel is explained, it only creates more mystery. In her affectless voice, Jenny’s narrator, a young woman named Jo, tells of her mother’s reaction to her stepfather’s death: everything that had belonged to Alois, who was a painter, is carted off to the dump; in the aftermath, Lucy, Jo’s mother, goes into his studio and spreads the pollen from masses of flowers allover the floor. Then she locks herself in and won’t come out.