Readers of world literature may find something of Kafka's influence in these stories-or Borges, or Garcia Marquez, or Murakami. But it's surely best to speak of these fictions as pure Masud, as no other has rendered a fictional world like this one. Imagine that a single arch is all that remains of a once grand and storied building, and say that a story might be like that arch: spare, precise, singular, open, a portal affording a glimpse of an elaborate past and an uncertain future, of this world and a dream world beyond. Wasn't there-once-a house? A city of arches and passageways and verandas? A lover peering in the window? Whatever else remains indeterminate in these eleven stark stories, it is certain that at the center of each stands a solitary "I," one among family and neighbors, one from whose consciousness the story emerges. Pulled along by this always compelling voice, we inhabit in these stories a world in which illusions are stark as day, and the threads by which we take hold of life are only kindness, and mystery, and want.
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The great Czech writer’s influence is felt throughout, especially in the rigorously compressed tale (“Resting Place”) of a nameless wanderer invited to become one of a welcoming household’s “priceless objects,” and the superb “Custody,” about a village shop whose successive proprietors succumb to...| Read Full Review of Snake Catcher