Literary World Cup – Round of 16

Netherlands vs. MexicoImage

WINNER: Netherlands

Under the Skin

Michel Faber

Part of the fun of Faber’s novel is deciding whether to be worried for the main character Isserley, a woman driving down the road alone picking up hitchhikers, or to be worried for the hitchhikers she picks up. As Isserley listens to the hitchhikers, always men who have big muscles, she learns ominous facts, like who might miss them if they disappear making the guessing game all the more fascinating.


Costa Rica vs. GreeceImage

WINNER: Costa Rica

Cry Watercolors

Carlos Alvarado

Mark is a middle aged writer who projects the emotions he buries onto his characters. He writes and relates to the world through the subject of Ghost Towns in the California Sierras. When his sense of isolation becomes more pronounced due to a sickness, he visits his family’s vacation home in Lake Tahoe. There he meets Emilia, a woman who pleasantly disrupts his cloistered existence. But will this new love and life work for Mark, or will the circumstance change his course of action once again?




Literary World Cup – Round of 16

Brazil vs. ChileImage

WINNER: Brazil

The Double Death of Quincas Water-Bray

Jorge Amado

Joaquim Soares da Cunha left behind his life and became Quincas Water-Bray, king of the Bahia. Da Cunha/Water-Bray’s two very different lives come together during his wake. But what will happen with the prim and proper people from da Cunha’s previous life come together with the newer more sordid characters involved in his new life?


Colombia vs. UruguayImage

WINNER: Colombia

The Informers

Juan Gabriel Vasquez

Gabriel Santoro wrote a book about Sara Guterman, a family friend and Jewish German immigrant that fled to Colombia in the 30’s. For a reason unknown to Santoro, his father panned and altogether criticized his son’s literary effort. After his father’s death, Gabriel, with the help of Sara and his father’s girlfriend, looks deep into his family’s past to uncover the reason and secrets that lie behind his father’s reaction.

Literary World Cup – Round 3 Group H

The last of the groups before we start the round of 16 is here, and I’m excited for more action. Belgium and Algeria are through to the next stage, and we can only wait and see what happens next.


Algeria vs. RussiaImage

WINNER: Algeria


Leila Sebbar

Normally for ties I would write about both teams, but Algeria is through to the round of 16, so I’m going to celebrate them. Sherazade is an Algerian teenaged runaway living in Paris. While dealing with her Algerian heritage and past, she also faces stereotyping, and being pressed into a mold she doesn’t want to fit into. In Sherazade, Sebbar creates an identity crisis and then an identity for a girl in France during the late twentieth century.


Belgium vs. South KoreaImage

WINNER: Belgium

The Stranger Next Door

Amelie Nothomb

Emile Hazel and his wife Juliette move to their dream house in the south of France. However, their dream quickly becomes a nightmare when their neighbor Dr. Bernardin continues to drop by time and time again. Though Emile resorts to rudeness to rid himself of the burdensome doctor, the two continue to interact in ways that make readers question just who is the stranger next door.



Literary World Cup – Round 3 Group G

Germany and the United States are through to the round of 16. Not going to lie, I was a little shocked by the results.


Germany vs. United StatesImage

WINNER: Germany

The Swarm

Frank Schätzing

Schätzing’s novel is long but worth it for the scientifically realistic details and the inventive plot and characters. Earth’s fragile ecosystem is fighting back, and it’s not going out with a whimper. Whales are sinking ships, thousands of people are dying, and humans are starting to really feel the effects of the ocean’s revolution against mankind.


Portugal vs. GhanaImage

WINNER: Portugal

Codex 632: The Secret of Christopher Columbus

José Rodrigues dos Santos

Thomas Noronha, a cryptographer, must finish the work of a scholar that was found dead in his hotel room. What seems like a simple assignment unearths a code that leads Thomas on a globe trekking expedition tied to one of the greatest mysteries of all time. But just what is the mystery, what does it have to do with the celebrated explorer Christopher Columbus, and will Thomas put together all the pieces before it’s too late?