Jenny Erpenbeck on Life, Literature, and Activism

Book review: Not a Novel, by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Kurt Beals If the language that you can speak isn't enough, that's a very good reason to start writing. As paradoxical as it may be: The impossibility of expressing what happens to us in words is what pushes us towards writing. Whenever I haven't been... Continue Reading →

Inside the North Korean Gulag

Image of Workers' Party of Korea Monument in Pyongyang by Mannen av börd, edited by Entheta (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons Book review: The Aquariums of Pyongyang, by Kang Chol-Hwan, and Pierre Rigoulot (Amazon / Book Depository) During the first days of my detention, I met a kid who wore... Continue Reading →

Jihad, Choices, and Fearless Journalism

Book review: I Was Told to Come Alone, by Souad Mekhennet (Amazon / Book Depository) Sometimes a reporter is simply lucky enough to pick the right restaurant for tea. That's one way journalist Souad Mekhennet, a contributor to the New York Times and Washington Post, among others, and a veritable force in modern journalism, describes her experience in 2001, listening... Continue Reading →

Royals to Refugees: Roots of an Afghan Family

Book review: Crossing the River Kabul, by Kevin McLean Book Depository Author Kevin McLean adopts the voice of Baryalai Popal to tell his dramatic true story, spanning decades, of escaping Afghanistan in 1980 during the Russian invasion and war, and his eventual trek to America. Now an American citizen, Baryalai (called Bar) was born into one... Continue Reading →

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