Damion Searls

  • Book of Wander

    In 1995, an emigrant from Germany who had lived almost thirty years in England published The Rings of Saturn: An English Pilgrimage, which uses a walk through East Anglia, on and near the coast, to gather reflections on time, destruction, connection, and culture. It appeared in English in 1998, without its subtitle; his next book, the essay collection A Place in the Country (1998), is only now appearing in English, about which more below; his next novel, Austerlitz, turned out to be the last book he would finish before his death in a car crash in December 2001. It takes just one awful second,

  • The Game of Life

    Americans tend not to get the pleasures of European fiction. If we’re going to read translated literature, we want it Big or Important—Proust, Eco, Sebald, Bolaño—and as for domestic product, blockbuster-driven publishers often seem to prefer flawed big books to flawless little ones. What a joy, then, to pick up another 100-to-150-page novel by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, which promises delight, and delivers.

    Toussaint, a Belgian who writes in French, is the author of nine novels. His latest, The Truth About Marie, is the third in a trilogy about the breakup of a nameless, Toussaint-ish narrator