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Brad's Picks of 2017!
"This is a provocative and wise use of theory to help amend our thinking about the past -- such that it might change our sense of what is possible now and in the future. Enduringly timely!"
"Meagan Day’s magnificent study of Tonopah, Nevada may not make you want to visit so much as remind you that there are so many Tonopah, Nevada’s. Journalistic superstars have been made this year with elegies about the wayward eccentricities and isolationism of rural white poverty, but I would take Day’s book over just about any of them so far. "
"Part cultural studies piece, part paean to translation, it is imbued with a poetry that Larsen insists was not intentional to its creator. The versatility of language faces down the regal ferocity of the lion Ibn Khalawayh identifies in his 400 epithets, and language does not blink."
"I can’t say enough good about this essay collection. There has been some talk about how maybe the internet has worn out the essay-form a bit. That’s probably bunk however you spin it, but Passarello rips it to shred and feeds it to birds (who surely should know better than to eat paper). Anyway: this is the best essay collection of the year. "
"A writer friend of mine told me the other day that everybody should go through an obsessive Pessoa phase. 'How much better if that phase were never to end,' I thought. Pessoa's classic (in a wonderful new translation by a master translator) is the quintessential example of a book that took a lifetime to write, and has been a lifeline for so many."
"Very long, semi-florid sentences; self-obsessed male narrator; West reflecting on East. Somehow, Mathias Énard more than pulls off this incredible novel. I’ve liked everything by Énard I’ve read so far, but this feels like what he’s been building toward. Music and history, past and present, they all intertwine in a single night's feverish dream, and who knows what the dawn holds. Compass has tapped into something very special, and I suspect it’ll be one we’re talking about for a very long time. "