Jonathan Gibbs

Jonathan Gibbs reviews books for The Independent and elsewhere. His novel Randall, about the contemporary art world and the fate of the YBAs, is published by Galley Beggar Press. He blogs on this aspect of his writing at

Twilight of the Eastern Gods, by Ismail Kadare, trans. David Bellos -

Ismail Kadare made his name as a forceful example of how to function as a writer under late communism. He trod a delicate line between censorship and lies by critiquing the Stalinism of Enver Hoxha's Albania through fable, allegory and historical transposition, sometimes throwing the dictator a bone, and escaping dissident status by virtue of his international success.

Orfeo by Richard Powers, book review: Music, germs and a touch of

Richard Powers has written about classical music before (in The Time of Our Singing and The Gold Bug Variations) and about genetics (in Generosity, and Gold Bug again). Yet it would be rash to say that this new novel is his most complete exploration of those themes, if only because he will probably go ahead and write an even more complete one.

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The Barbarian Nurseries, By Héctor Tobar

The problem with State of the Nation novels is that, if you're going to be fair to all your characters and not just satirise them into the ground, and you're also hoping for a decent amount of dramatic intensity, then you're going to have a very delicate task in terms of making things happen.

The Truth About Marie, By Jean-Philippe Toussaint

It's a paradox of translated fiction that, the better the translation, the less foreign the book can feel. Settings aside, your Jo Nesbos and Roberto Bolaños sometimes read like they were written in English. Not so with Jean-Philippe Toussaint. His strange, spare novels are Gallic through and through, teasing in their philosophical play, and pointedly cavalier with regards to such solid Anglo-Saxon notions as plot and narrative point of view.

Crime fiction: Around the world in 80 sleuths

Holmes and Watson would be proud. Crime fiction is booming as never before - and with dozens of new titles translated into English for the first time, there’s a detective for every holiday destination. Jonathan Gibbs tracks down 80 of the best sleuths to escape with this summer....