A World of Books: International Perspecitves, 1999

Image of Neptune Plaza, The Library of Congress

The Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress (Neptune Plaza in foreground)

Books of divergent views sit peaceably side by side on the shelves of America's libraries. Though their views may clash, the books do not. The silent dialogue among passionately held, sometimes widely disparate views is one feature that makes libraries profoundly democratic institutions. This vibrant conversation takes place across language and distance. Creative minds in every corner of the world produce works of imagination and reflection. The Library of Congress captures and preserves this magnificent exchange in its collections.

For the second year in a row, the Library of Congress has asked its foreign area specialists to identify some of the most important and interesting books recently published abroad that an American public might have overlooked. This short, annotated selection is a sampling of works that staff encountered in their daily work of choosing materials for the Library's collections or providing reference to the Library's patrons. Some are fiction, some non-fiction. Published since the early 1990s, most first appeared abroad, many originally in foreign languages; in the cases of China and Guatemala both were published in the U.S. but present non-American perspectives. To make it more convenient for American readers to access the works, the American edition is cited whenever possible.

The list is not meant to be representative. Most of the nations that appear on this list did not contribute to last year's selection. Judgment of the works as "important and interesting" does not imply that the staff as individuals or the Library as an institution endorse the views expressed. Rather, the inclusion only indicates that the works provide a perspective that may broaden American understanding of the world and enrich the dialogue of ideas that these works contain.

The Library of Congress hopes this list will stimulate interest in its outstanding international collections and serve as an invitation to further reading and research.

Moore, Andrew. The Mighty Bears! A Social History of North Sydney Rugby League. Sydney: Macmillan, 1996. 592 p. ISBN: 0732908698. LC Call No.: GV945.6 N67M66 1996

The game of rugby plays much the same social role in Australia that baseball does in America--it is considered emblematic of the culture and is played both professionally and on the local level. Fan support of Australian professional rugby league teams has been locally based by tradition. The local team, with all its attendant social activities, is considered an integral part of the community. This bond is now threatened by many of the same social and economic difficulties that plague professional sports in America: escalating player salaries, a talent pool diluted by expansion, and declining revenues. This work is not simply a history of a sports team. It is the history of a changing community as viewed through the prism of sport, which is an integral part of national culture. [Art Emerson]

The Art of Kamau Brathwaite. Stewart Brown, ed. Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan, Wales: Seren, 1995. 275 p. ISBN: 1854110926. LC Call No.: PR9230.9.B68Z54 1995

Always ranked on a par with Derek Walcott, Brathwaite is one of the most original poets of the Caribbean and he is a major cultural historian as well. He was recently honored with the prestigious Neustadt Prize at the University of Oklahoma. This book is the first comprehensive study of Brathwaite's work as a whole and it is ably edited by Stewart Brown, who is of Jamaican ancestry. The work includes an interview with the writer by Nathaniel Mackey and insightful articles such as "Africa: Submerged Mother" by Maureen Warner-Lewis and "A Sense of Community: Kamau Brathwaite and the Caribbean Artists Movement," as well as Brathwaite's magnificent poem "Metaphors of Underdevelopment: A Poem for Hernan Cortez." These and the other pieces provide a much-needed overview of the work of this major Caribbean figure. [Georgette M. Dorn]

Hong Kong's Reunion With China: The Global Dimensions. Gerald A. Postligione and James T. H. Tang, eds. Armonk, N.Y.; London: M.E. Sharpe, 1997. 304 p. ISBN: 0765601559. LC Call No.: DS796.H74H72 1997

These symposium papers on questions raised by the reunification of Hong Kong with the People's Republic of China were edited by distinguished scholars at the Centre for Asian Studies of the University of Hong Kong, site of the March 1995 meeting. The published papers are intended for an international audience. Most of the scholars, including Professor Tang, the second editor, were raised and educated in the former crown colony. Topics include the specific relationship of Hong Kong to Taiwan; Hong Kong and its relations with foreign countries; changes in economic style that may become necessary as a result of reunification; the internalization of international law; the relationship between Hong Kong culture and the cultures of China and the West; and international migration. [Judy S. Lu]

Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past. [La lieux de memoire] Under the direction of Pierre Nora. English language edition edited and with a foreword by Lawrence D. Kritzman. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996-1998. 3 vols. ISBN: 0231084048 (v. 1). LC Call No.: DC33.L6513 1996

This ambitious collective attempt on the part of French intellectuals to explore a French sense of national identity by studying realms of memory--sites, symbols, rituals, legends, events, and other tangible associations with French history--highlights the role of memory and its use of the past in the formation of identity. Realms of Memory is an English-language abridgement of French sociologist Pierre Nora's three-volume work on the origins and development of the French national identity. Although written in and for a French context, the use and exploration of history and memory proposes a new model for revisiting national history and a people's sense of identity. [Carol Armbruster]

Fagerholm, Monika. Wonderful Women by the Water. [Underbara kvinnor vid vatten] Translated by Joan Tate. London: Harvill, 1997. 282 p. ISBN: 1860462634. LC Call No.: PT9876.16.A4514 U5413 1997

An antidote to sixties nostalgia, this book is a skillful re-creation of a generation's materialism and sense of entitlement. Monika Fagerholm's dreamlike evocation of a summer paradise contrasts disquietingly with the book's darker psychological themes. Young Thomas adores his beautiful mother, Isabella, who with her friend Rosa aspires to la dolce vita Scandinavian style. In their new summer dresses, surrounded by consumer goods, the two are like Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor, figures of incredible glamor. The idle young mothers' naive yearning for the good life wreaks havoc on the summer idyll and especially on the lives of the children. Prize-winning author Monika Fagerholm belongs to Finland's Swedish-speaking minority. [Taru R. Spiegel]

Schwarz, Hans-Peter. Konrad Adenauer: A German Politician and Statesman in a Period of War, Revolution, and Reconstruction. [Adenauer] Translated by Louise Willmot. Providence, RI: Berghahn Books, 1995. ISBN: 1571818707. LC Call No.: DD259 .7 .A3 S3313 1995

This is the first English language edition of Schwarz's two-volume biography of Konrad Adenauer, the dominant figure in the Federal Republic of Germany until the mid-1960s. The author was able to use previously inaccessible records kept by Adenauer's closest associates, shedding new light on aspects of Adenauer's policies. In volume 1, From the German Empire to the Federal Republic, 1876-1952, Schwarz interweaves the personal elements of Adenauer's story with the changing historical context and people who influenced his life. This first volume deals with the decades before the founding of the Federal Republic, including Adenauer's years as a victim of the Nazi state. The second volume, which has not yet appeared in English, treats Adenauer's role as statesman between 1952 and 1967. [Margrit Krewson]

Boahen, A. Adu. Mfantsipim and the Making of Ghana: A Centenary History, 1876-1976. Accra, Ghana: Sankofa Educational Publishers, 1996. 541 p. ISBN: 9988763115.

Winner of the 1997 Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, this book opens an important window on modern Ghanaian history. "The work creatively presents the story of the making of modern Ghana, from colonial inception to independent nationhood through the life history of one school," the Noma Award jury wrote. The author, A. Adu Boahen, a major historian and political figure, illustrates how the Mfantsipim school was the trailblazer for institution-building among Ghana's educational institutions. The book details how this exemplary school helped to instill in the national psyche such values as the pursuit of excellence in scholarship and in service, patriotism, competitiveness, and pride in Ghanaian culture. [Angel Batiste]

Gonzalez, Gaspar Pedro. Sb'eyb'al jun naq maya' q'anjob'al=La otra cara. [A Mayan Life] Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.: Ediciones YAX Te', 1996. 235 p. ISBN: 1886502137. LC Call No.: PM3912.Z77 G6616 1996

This masterful evocation of Mayan life today appears in both Spanish and the El Q'Anjob'al language still in use in the north of the province of Huehuetenago, Guatemala. Told in the style of a folk tale, the novel recounts the difficulties that Mayan children face as they grow up in a world dominated by the Spanish language and customs. Its author, Gaspar Pedro Gonzalez, a tireless promoter of Indian culture, organized the first Congress of Indigenous Literature, which was held in Guatemala City in July 1998. Unfortunately, despite Guatemala's Indian majority, this bi-lingual edition of Gonzalez' work--acclaimed as the first modern Mayan novel--had to be published in the United States by the Ediciones YAX Te', which was specifically founded to disseminate such works. The English language translation was published by YAX Te' Press in 1995. [Barbara A. Tenenbaum]

Bhatia, Gautam. Punjabi Baroque and Other Memories of Architecture. New Delhi; New York: Penguin Books, 1994. 265 p. ISBN: 0140240756. LC Call No.: NA7427.B47 1994

Gautam Bhatia wrestles with many of the fundamental challenges posed by architecture and culture from his perspective as an Indian architect. He ruefully muses on several themes: how to combine artistic integrity with happy clients; how to produce good urban planning while eluding political breakdown; how to develop models of affordable housing while avoiding destitution; how to reintroduce sound elements of traditional layout while catering to philistine notions of modernity. He reminiscences about his experiences with internationally famous architects, most notably Le Corbusier. The book is illustrated with photographs and drawings of some rather astounding nouveau riche houses, but also of projects the author considers success stories. [Allen Thrasher]

Black Clouds Over the Isle of Gods and Other Modern Indonesian Short Stories. David M.E. Roskies, trans. and ed. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 1997. 223 p. ISBN: 0765600323. LC Call No.: PL5088 .B57 1997

The American reader has few opportunities to understand Indonesian life as perceived by Indonesians. This collection of stories, covering the period between 1941 and the present, fills this gap and provides rich insights. The eighteen stories were originally published in newspapers and periodicals. Because the Indonesian reading public, at least until quite recently, was small and not able to afford novels, the short story published serially attained a prominent place in modern Indonesian culture. The subjects in this work include a clerk trying to enlist with the Japanese occupation forces; the aftermath of the bloody suppression of the Left in 1965; the situation of vulnerable minorities like the Chinese and Eurasians; how a businessman should deal with obsessive dreams of buffalo demons; and the hapless problems of public transportation. [Abdul Kohar Rony]

Lydon, James F. The Making of Ireland: From Ancient Times to the Present. London; New York: Routledge, 1998. 425 p. ISBN: 041501347X. LC Call No.: DA910 .L87 1998

The author, a professor of history at Trinity College, presents an excellent overview of the history of his nation. This is the only scholarly one-volume book covering the entire span of Irish history currently available. In his work the author describes the arrival of the various peoples in Ireland over the centuries and their effects on Irish history, including the traces they have left on modern Irish culture. He discusses the cultural misunderstandings and ethnic rivalries that have continued to influence Irish history and politics until the present day. Professor Lydon's analysis and his perceptive narrative of this troubled isle from its earliest times to the present will give the general reader insight into the complex history of a nation presently involved in a new phase of self-determination. [Judith Robinson]

Savir, Uri. The Process: 1,100 Days That Changed the Middle East. [ha-Tahalikh]. New York: Published simultaneously in Hebrew and English by Random House, 1998. 336 p. ISBN: 067942296X. LC Call No.: DS119.76.S78 1998

Uri Savir, Israel's chief negotiator at Oslo, writes a first-person account of the secret negotiations that commenced in May 1993 between official representatives of Israel and high-ranking members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Savir focuses on the difficult and complex negotiations between these adversaries, each fiercely protective of vital interests while at the same time passionately committed to ending the cycle of violence. Through "the process," the negotiators and their leaders--Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat--became unlikely partners in a common effort to achieve a peace settlement. This work is essential reading for anyone interested in the complex ideological, political, and cultural dynamic of the Middle East peace process. [Michael Grunberger]

Jaeggy, Fleur. Last Vanities. [La paura del cielo]. Translated by Tim Parks. New York: New Directions, 1998. 95 p. ISBN: 0811213749. LC Call No.: PQ4870.A4P3813 1998

A native of Switzerland, Jaeggy has lived for many years in Milan and writes in Italian. Her five books, all published by the renowned house Adelphi Edizioni, have won her literary prizes and enthusiastic praise from fellow authors such as Joseph Brodsky, former poet laureate at the Library of Congress. Last Vanities is a collection of seven stories, all but one clearly set in Switzerland. The stories are linked by a shared air of pervasive, ominous dread. Attractive features of Switzerland--cozy villages, orderly towns, a well-managed social safety net for ordinary folk, the solid, quiet wealth of the better-off--are transformed by Jaeggy into obstacles or threats to her characters. Caught by her deft style (expertly translated by noted English novelist Tom Parks), the reader rushes eagerly ahead, all the while fearing the disaster or human failure the next sentence might bring. Because Jaeggy is a subtle writer, the reader need not expect any macabre horrors à la Stephen King. Instead, the reader's disquiet will stem from the dark vision of humanity found in her vividly wrought fictional world. [Eric Solsten]

Murakami, Haruki. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World [Sekai no owari to hado-boirudo wandarando]. Translated by Alfred Birnbaum. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. 400 p. ISBN: 0679743464. LC Call No.: PL856 .U673S4513 1993

The best-selling novelist of contemporary Japan dishes up a surreal mixture of cyberpunk, explicit reminiscences of Raymond Chandler, and metaphysical speculation on multiple identity and simultaneous, interpenetrating worlds. A consumerist Tokyo Philip Marlowe is launched into high tech adventures underneath Tokyo where he is menaced by traditional water demons (kappa) in league with information thieves. At the same time a man is deprived of his shadow in a city called End of the World and set to reading memories from the skulls of unicorns. Winner of the prestigious Tanizaki Prize, the book is a mixture of American fun and Japanese dread. [Thaddeus Y. Ohta]

We Came in Dhows: Stories of the Indian Pioneers in Kenya. Compiled by Cynthia Salvadori. Nairobi: Paperchase Kenya Ltd., 1996. 3 vols. (Lacks ISBN) LC Call No. : DT 433.545.E27W4 1996

The Indian diaspora has had a powerful impact on many nations in Africa. This book is a fascinating and well-researched account of the Indian pioneers to Kenya. In three volumes, it traces the historical experiences of these immigrants from different communities, starting with their arrival by dhow to the East African Coast in the 19th and 20th centuries. The over 500 stories in this set contain memoirs and reminiscences drawn from interviews with pioneers and their descendants. It covers the colonial period into the early post-independence era in Kenya. There has not been such a comprehensive and well-documented account of the Indians in Kenya prior to this work, and it provides an opportunity to fill this important gap in Kenya's history. [Ruth Thomas]

Krauze, Enrique. Mexico: Biography of Power--A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996. [Siglo de caudillos: biografia politica de Mexico (1810-1910)]. Translated by Hank Heifetz. New York: Harper Collins, 1997. 872 p. ISBN: 0060163259. LC Call No.: F1231.5. K72 1997

Enrique Krauze occupies an unique place in Mexican letters. A long-time collaborator with the late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz in the newsmagazine Vuelta, he established his own publishing firm in the last decade to produce picture biographies of great political leaders intended for the general public. Written in a lively and engaging style, this particular history ventures into sacred space by writing about Mexican history for the English language audience, but from a Mexican point of view. Eschewing modern historical analysis, Krauze focuses on the personalities of the crucial actors rather than on large-scale movements or economic trends. His deliberate selection of the "great man" theme poignantly argues against a system in which a single individual has so much power over the fate of the rest of the country and in favor of the establishment of true democracy in Mexico. [Barbara A. Tenenbaum]

The Netherlands
Nooteboom, Cees. Roads to Santiago: Spanish Travels. [Omweg naar Santiago]. Translated by Ina Rilke. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996. 352 p. ISBN: 0151001979. LC Call No.: PT5881.24.O55 O513 1996

A Dutch novelist, poet, and playwright writes of his lifelong love affair with Spain. The author leads us on a calculated meander through the Spanish countryside, ending, as so many pilgrims have, at Santiago de Compostella. This is a nonlinear journey through time and space. Nooteboom's many asides cause us to reflect upon the structure of the church, the nature of medieval architecture, and the transmutation of religion into art. He is trying to assist a "viewer confronted with a narrative he can no longer understand," whether the narrative is in stone, on canvas, or in words. As a modern novelist, he brings to life these earlier narratives, weaving his way through "a history that refuses to end, the saga of Romans and Moors and Jews and Visigoths, of foreign invasions and the slow reconquest, of discovery and colonization, of oppression and civil war." This is a tour that is also a tour de force. [Margrit Krewson]

Noman, Omar. Economic and Social Progress in Asia: Why Pakistan Did Not Become a Tiger. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1997. 324 p. ISBN: 0195777816. LC Call No.: HC440. 5. N64 1997

While Pakistan continues to play a crucial role in Asian affairs, it poses many questions for American policy-makers. In this book, a distinguished Pakistani economist deals with the question of why a country, which made rapid progress in the 1950s and 1960s and which has received massive U.S. aid as a strategic partner, now seems such a disappointment. He considers perceptions of various signs of socio-economic regress, such as declining literacy and allegations by some that it is the most corrupt country in the world. The author also compares the progress of Pakistan with Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Taiwan. [Allen Thrasher]

Vargas Llosa, Mario. Making Waves. Edited and translated by John King. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997. 338 p. ISBN: 0374200386. LC Call No.: PQ8498.32.A65 A25 1997

This book brings together many of the major essays by Peru's foremost novelist, intellectual, and former presidential candidate. These analyses, written over a thirty year period, reveal Vargas Llosa's lifelong fascination and thorough understanding of history, politics, literature, and culture. He is convinced of the writer's ability to effect social change. Thoroughly at home in South America, Spain, and England, Vargas Llosa's essays range from his native Peru, to Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Peru's Shining Path guerrillas, Gunter Grass, Julio Cortázar, Vaclav Havel, Isaiah Berlin, and other subjects. Even the older essays remain remarkably fresh and, according to critic Jay Parini, provide a detailed road map to Vargas Llosa's intellectual journey. [Georgette M. Dorn]

Patanne, E. P. The Philippines in the 6th to 16th Centuries. San Juan, Metro Manila: LSA Press, 1996. 298 p. ISBN: 9719166606. LC Call No.: DS673.8.P37 1996

The discovery in 1986 of the Laguna Copperplate Inscription dated 900 A.D. served as a catalyst for Patanne's painstaking research on the development of Philippine society and culture. From its hazy beginnings in the 6th century until the arrival of the Spanish colonists in the 1500s, this is a period in Philippine history that is largely unknown. Sifting through documentary evidence and ancient Chinese dynastic records, delving into early European references, and studying the work of world-renowned linguists, Patanne reconstructs a thousand years of ancient Filipino civilization based on the findings of archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics. [John Reyes]

Herbert, Zbigniew. Elegy for the Departure and Other Poems. Translated from the Polish by John and Bogdana Carpenter. Hopewell, N.J.: Ecco Press, 1999. ISBN: 0880016191. LC Call No.: PG7167.E64A23 1999

Zbigniew Herbert arguably was the greatest Polish poet of the post-World War II generation, which produced two Nobel laureates--Czeslaw Milosz and Wislawa Szymborska. Polish literati were not surprised when a compatriot won the Nobel in 1996. They were shocked, however, that the winner was not Herbert. Herbert died on February 28, 1998, at the age of 74. A brilliant poet, playwright, and essayist, he fought in the underground resistance against the Nazis, and more importantly, led the intellectual and spiritual opposition to the official doctrine of Socialist Realism during the decades of Communist rule. During the darkest period of Polish martial law in the 1980s, he published extensively in the Solidarity press. One of Herbert's last volumes of poetry, Elegy for the Departure and Other Poems, is superbly translated by the Carpenters, who have specialized in bringing modern Polish poetry to the English-speaking world.
[Ronald Bachman]

Vaz, Katherine. Mariana. London: HarperCollins/Flamingo, 1997. 326 p. ISBN: 0002255731

A book that has already been translated into six languages and distributed in over 100 countries is testament to the happy intertwining of research and imagination. The setting for Mariana is the time of Spain's invasion of Portugal, a period of great political and religious chaos. Based on the true story of a Portuguese nun who wrote incredibly lyrical letters, Vaz' genius is manifested through the fleshing out of the personages in these letters, which first appeared in 1669, through the blending of color, sites, events. Stendhal said of Sister Mariana Alcoforado, "It is necessary to love like the Portuguese nun, with that ardent soul whose fiery mark is left for us in her letters." Considered by some as the most passionate documents in existence, the letters are placed in context and given an unforgettable rendition in Vaz' extraordinary recounting. [Iêda Siqueira Wiarda]

Puerto Rico
Ferré, Rosario. Eccentric Neighborhoods. [Vecindarios excentricos] New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998. 340p. ISBN: 0374146381. LC Call No.: PS3556.E7256 E27 1998

A masterwork of fiction by one of Puerto Rico's most acclaimed writers, Eccentric Neighborhoods is Ferré's thirtieth book and the second she has written in English. Daughter of a former governor of Puerto Rico, Ferré is completely bilingual and at home in both the Spanish Caribbean and the Anglo-Saxon worlds. The book describes a rapidly changing plantation culture and Puerto Rico's transformation in a setting of magical realism, at the time when Puerto Rico was brought into the sphere of the United States. It appears, a hundred years later, at a crucial moment for Puerto Ricans who remain divided about the possibilities of statehood. Although criticized by some for writing in English, Ferré has argued for the primacy of the individual over the demands of "national" loyalty. [Georgette M. Dorn]

Merino, José María. The Gold of Dreams [Oro de los sueños]. Translated by Helen Lane. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991. 217 p. ISBN: 0374326924. LC Call No.: PZ7.M536 Go 1991

All through the Luso-Hispanic world the magic of discovery and exploration of other continents have been favorite themes for the last decade. This book by a major Spanish prose writer, intended for young adults, tells the story of the discovery and exploration of Meso-America through the eyes of a young mestizo, Miguel Villace Yototl, the son of a Spanish conquistador father and an Amerindian mother. Miguel embarks on a dangerous search for a temple of gold in the uncharted territories of Mexico. Merino reconstructs the indigenous past of Mexico during a journey full of excitement. It is intended as a companion volume to the author's Beyond the Ancient Cities. [Juan Manuel Pérez]

Liyong, Taban lo. Words That Melt a Mountain. Nairobi: East African Educational Publishers, 1996. 149 p. Poets of Africa, 11. ISBN: 9966467890. LC Call No.: MLCS 96/01103 (P)

American readers may find that these Sudanese poems will inspire new ways to approach the challenges of living in a growing multi-cultural society. Known widely as a thoughtful essayist, Taban lo Liyong was born in southern Sudan and raised in Uganda. In Words That Melt a Mountain, Liyong offers thoughts on building relationships with people of other cultures, on living through the misconceptions and misinterpretations of speech and behavior, and on the rewards of understanding and friendship. The work's 223 poems were written day-by-day during a sojourn in Japan in 1994. Though seemingly a book of love poetry, the broader themes emerge as the author is inspired by his pursuit of an elusive woman. [Joanne Zellers]

Ziegler, Jean. The Swiss, the Gold and the Dead. [Die Schweiz, das Gold und die Toten]. Translated by John Brownjohn. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998. 322 p. ISBN: 0151003343. LC Call No.: D810.D6Z5413 1998

For several decades, the Swiss journalist and parliamentarian Jean Ziegler has acted as his country's "bad conscience." Both as politician and as writer of hard-hitting exposés of shameful conditions within the Confederation, he has sought to convince his fellow citizens that Switzerland should and can live up to its ideals. This well-written book deals with a subject much discussed in the U.S. Congress and the news media: the conduct of Swiss banks during World War II. Basing his book on foreign and Swiss sources, Ziegler contends that by providing crucial financial services to the Hitler regime, Swiss banks prolonged the war for at least a few months and therefore bear responsibility for much death and destruction. Ziegler concedes that Switzerland would most likely have been occupied by Nazi forces if Swiss banks had not cooperated with Hitler. He suggests, however, that the miseries of occupation might have been easier to endure than the knowledge that Swiss banks willingly and skillfully aided the Nazi dictatorship and profited as a result. [Eric Solsten]

Adunis. The Pages of Day and Night. Translated by Samuel Hazo. Marlboro, Vt.: Marlboro Press, 1994. 109 p. ISBN: 0910395969. LC Call No.: PJ 7862.A519A24 1994

Better known by his nom de plume Adunis, ‘Ali Ahmad Sa'id is a Syrian poet who has lived the greater part of his life in self-imposed exile in Lebanon and Europe. From this position he has managed to shape the literary trends in the region for the past four decades, making him one of the leading poets in the Arab world. The avant-garde style of his poetry both in form and content has revolutionized the traditional way of writing, learning, and even thinking about Arabic poetry. This exceptional collection of 52 poems, compiled for an English-speaking audience, brings together in superb translation some of the most important themes of his life's work: alienation, loss of identity, marginalization, ostracism, and death. Those themes are linked to Arab culture and languages as well as to politics, religion and society. Some of the poems in this collection are among the best loved and most often quoted in the Arab world. [Mary-Jane Deeb]

Pamuk, Orhan. The New Life [Yeni Hayat]. Guneli Gun, translator. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. 296 p. ISBN: 0374221294. LC Call No.: PL 248.P34Y4613 1997

The most important issues facing Turkish society today are exposed in this work, the most recent novel by Orhan Pamuk, the foremost Turkish novelist to come of age during the late 1960s. Among the themes are the destructive loss of spirituality in Turkish life, the anonymity and isolation of individuals in Turkey's urban settings, and the escalating cycles of political and criminal violence. The effect of the work is to give the reader a view of individual consciousness which is driven almost to a schizophrenic condition due to the chaotic and overwhelming inundation of the work's protagonist in the swirling currents of modern Turkish society. [Christopher Murphy]

Vera, Yvonne. Nehanda. Harare: Baobab Books, 1993. 118 p. ISBN: 0908311621. LC Call No.: MLCS 93/13322 (P)

The "Nehanda" of the Shona Revolt of 1896-1897 is often portrayed in historical texts as a powerful witch who instigated the uprising against British settlers in the Mazoe area and organized resistance among the central Shona paramount chiefs. The uprising began in June 1896, and ended with Nehanda's capture in December followed by her military execution in April 1898. Yvonne Vera presents Nehanda as a woman who has become a symbol of defiance and national pride. She writes of a Nehanda whose life has acquired mythic significance for her stand against the British colonialists and for her refusal to yield to them in spite of imprisonment and the threat of death. [Marieta Harper]


Historia da vida privada no Brasil [The History of Private Life in Brazil]. Fernando A. Novais, ed. Sao Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1997. 3 of the expected 8 vols. published to date. ISBN: 8571646511. LC Call No.: GT2402.B6 H57 1997.

Winner of the 1997 Jabuti Award for social sciences, this series organized by scholars of each period presents the Brazilian variation on a subject well known to historians of Europe and the United States. Following in the path of Peter Gay and Ferdinand Braudel, scholars of Brazilian history from colonial times to the present take up the challenge of reconstructing interior life in the past from a true paucity of source material. They tackle questions such as "Did Brazilian slaves or Indians have ‘private lives'?; did women have a public life in the patriarchal society of colonial Brazil?" In carefully documented narratives, questions of private intimacy as related to public life are explored, revealing both surprising and fascinating results. [Pamela Howard-Reguindin]

Sovetskaia istoriografiia [Soviet Historiography]. Edited by Iurii N. Afanas'ev. Moscow: Russian State Humanities University, 1996. 589 p. ISBN: 5728100414. LC Call No.: DK38.S668 1996

This collective work, commissioned by noted Russian historian, archivist, and educator Iurii Afanas'ev, is the first attempt to systematically summarize the Russians' understanding of the Soviet period--five years after that period ended. Individual chapters are by specialists in the several sub-disciplines of history, including social history, archives and source studies, and political history. This work is significant as the most general and far-reaching overview of current understanding of the now-completed Soviet era in Russian history. [Harry Leich]

To learn more about these works, or about programs and services related to the international collections of the Library of Congress, please contact:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4820
Phone: 202 707-7937
FAX: 202 252-3180
Ask a Librarian:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4810
Phone: 202 707-5420
FAX: 202 707-1724
Ask a Librarian:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4830
Phone: 202 707-5414
FAX: 202 707-8482
Ask a Librarian:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4660
Phone: 202 707-5530
FAX: 202 707-1957
Ask a Librarian:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4840
Phone: 202 707-3900
FAX: 202 707-3920
Email: frds@loc.gov

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4850
Phone: 202 707-5400
FAX: 202 707-2005
Ask a Librarian:

Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4860
Phone: 202 707-302
FAX: 202 707-3595
Email: scholarly@loc.gov

Library of Congress
Library of Congress Help Desk (April 25, 2001)