Lawrence Olszewski

96 Articles

Last 30 days
Last 6 months
Last 12 months
Last 24 months
Specific Dates

The Names of the Things That Were There: Stories

This commendable compilation could be considered an octogenarian writer’s valedictory gift to the literary community, who will revel in its thematic originality and stylistic bravura.


Aira creates a verisimilar scenario despite its unlikelihood that’s not quite as rambling as his other works. Readers familiar with his style will feel at home with the philosophical digressions that form the nucleus of the text, but the ending nevertheless disappoints.

By the Rivers of Babylon

Winner of the Camões Prize, psychiatrist Antunes is a leading international author, and this work has undeniable literary merit. Still, the text is not an easy read; it will appeal mostly to a selective audience that does not shirk from experimental nonlinear narration or absence of plot.


Here, truth really is stranger than fiction--or in this case, more “novelable”--and the retention of the photos and excerpts of Marianella’s diary from the Spanish text contributes to the veracity of an engaging work.

Stay This Day and Night with Me

Spanish screenwriter/novelist Gopegui (The Scale of Maps) relies on an intergenerational discourse defending Google’s avowed altruist purpose against a not very harsh or convincing criticism of its dehumanization, but the often tedious dialogues that serve as mouthpieces for these opposing views lack verisimilitude.

How To Turn into a Bird

The escapist scenario may remind readers of Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, and the theme of the value and place of nonconformity in today’s society will ring true.

Migrations: Poem, 1976–2020

Readers will not find a direct narrative here, as the verses don’t always flow seamlessly from one section to the other, but they can nonetheless bask in a remarkable poetic experience.


As they did for earlier Halfon books, translators Dillman and Hahn effectively render his fourth work to appear in English. Although the narrative likewise relies heavily on autobiography and treats similar themes, like Jewish identity, the end result creates less of an impact on readers than do Halfon’s 2008 The Polish Boxer or his 2018 Mourning.

The Ghetto Within

An Argentine film director and screenwriter residing in France (and writing in French), Amigorena (A Laconic Childhood) almost seamlessly alternates the narration between the fictional lives of the Argentine exiles and documentation of the horrific events in Europe. Coupled with the themes of exile and the struggle for Jewish identity, he brilliantly parallels the plight of the forsaken victims within the ghetto and Vicente’s sense of helplessness, as if he, too, were enclosed by walls.

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing