Tokyo Bay Traffic

A lot of the most exciting prose published in the last couple years is enlivened by the introduction of non-English elements. The Times Book Review made note of the way Spanish and the argot of geekdom gave wings to Junot Diaz's prose in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Likewise, the pressure of Slavic syntax gives the writing in Aleksander Hemon's Nowhere Man a concrete, impacted quality, an almost granular particularity of word against word. It has gotten to the point, though, where you wonder if monolingual English speakers can write the kind of prose worth talking about beyond the basics of plot, character, and setting.

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Reviewed by Matt Dube in Diagram 8.2