Recent Reviews of Jünger and Bosco Books

Recent Reviews of Jünger and Bosco Books

Two major reviews of new and old NYRB Classics have been published in the last few weeks. The first, by Alex Ross in The New Yorker, discusses the life and work of Ernst Jünger, including the NYRB Classics editions of his novels On the Marble Cliffs (trans. Tess Lewis), which came out in January, and The Glass Bees (trans. Elizabeth Mayer & Louise Bogan). Ross writes:

“New York Review Books has brought out a fine new translation, by Tess Lewis, of Jünger’s 1939 novel, On the Marble Cliffs, a parable of ascendant barbarism that contains an oblique protest against Nazism. . . . The most formidable of Jünger’s later novels is The Glass Bees (1957), which is also available from New York Review Books, in a translation by Elizabeth Mayer and Louise Bogan. . . . Jünger offers more to the modern reader than perverse echoes of German history. The Glass Bees captures with uncommon precision the psychology of acquiescence and abjection on which the sickening miracles of technology depend.”

The second, by Marco Roth in The New York Times, covers two works by Henri Bosco, both translated by Joyce Zonana and published under the NYRB Classics imprint: his novel Malicroix and his novella The Child and the River, the latter of which is on shelves this month. Roth writes:

Malicroix, his 1948 masterpiece, takes place almost entirely on an island in the middle of the Rhône estuary in the Camargue. . . . The novel is existential or, more appropriately, elemental: Earth, air, fire and water — these are Bosco’s instruments along with the passions, fears and fantasies each of them evokes. The result is a strange kind of gothic romance about the human attempt to reach a real peace with wildness and wilderness without pacifying them, subduing them, paving them over. This feat is accomplished through a singular prose poetry about solitary humans trying to make a home amid elemental forces that’s unlike anything I’ve read in any language. . . . The Child and the River, written in 1945, is the second Bosco novel published by the NYRB imprint. It is a more modest undertaking than Malicroix, yet full of small beauties, like a multifaceted gem. . . . In terms of style, the novella resembles a calm spot in the rushing river as recalled by the adult narrator: ‘Nothing is more alive than these places where the air and the water seem to sleep.’ Often frustratingly called a ‘French Huck Finn,’ The Child and the River is in fact a gentle, meta-fairy-tale about the imagination’s capacity to bring about the very realities it craves, whether we need friendship, adventure, salvation or love.”

You can read the full New Yorker piece by clicking here and the article in the Times by clicking here.

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