Feature

Also of interest...in new translations

The Land at the End of the World by António Lobo Antunes; Illuminations by Arthur Rimbaud; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics; Between Parentheses by Roberto Bolaño

The Land at the End of the Worldby António Lobo Antunes (Norton, $27)José Saramago is better known here, but his contemporary António Lobo Antunes has long been Portugal’s finest novelist, said William Giraldi in TheDailyBeast.com. Antunes’s second novel, told from a bar stool, features an alcoholic narrator who each night staves off despair by seducing women with tales of the carnage he witnessed as a doctor during Portugal’s pointless war in Angola. Antunes is dark but necessary: He “crafts macabre fever dreams as if possessed by an abler Poe.”

Illuminationsby Arthur Rimbaud (Norton, $25)Renegade French poet Arthur Rimbaud set “the direction for poetry in the 20th century and beyond” with just two collections, said Suzi Feay in the London Independent. Illuminations, written in the 1870s, is a “ferociously intense and provocative” work whose hallucinatory prose poems “seem new-minted” in John Ashbery’s fresh translation. The venerable American poet was inspired to begin studying French after reading Rimbaud in translation in the 1940s.

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics(Univ. of Chicago, $35)“Where the Ethics stands among the greatest of all great books perhaps no one can say,” said Harry V. Jaffa in The New York Times. “That Aristotle’s text, which explores the basis of the best way of human life, belongs on any list of such books is indisputable.” The philosopher excelled at distinguishing “true virtue from specious simulacra.” Translators Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins prove exceptional at bringing Aristotle’s original text “within the compass of every intelligent reader.”

Between Parentheses by Roberto Bolaño (New Directions, $25)The spate of Roberto Bolaño books published posthumously in the past five years could make even his fans complain of “Bolaño fatigue,” said J.C. Gabel in Time Out Chicago. Yet the first collection of nonfiction writings by the Chilean novelist should be welcomed. It’s “a refreshing surprise” to hear Bolaño speaking his mind in his own words, “especially after the posthumous knighting he received as his generation’s Gabriel García Márquez or Jorge Luis Borges.”

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