About the book

The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction

Columbia University Press, 2016
496 pages
ISBN: 9780231146753 (paperback) / 9780231146746 (hardcover) / 9780231518505 (e-book)

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This user-friendly resource is the perfect reference for English-language readers who are eager to explore fiction from around the world. Profiling hundreds of titles and authors from 1945 to today, with an emphasis on fiction published in the past two decades, this guide introduces the styles, trends, and genres of the world’s literatures, from Scandinavian crime thrillers and cutting-edge Chinese works to Latin American narco-fiction and award-winning French novels.

The book’s critical selection of titles defines the arc of a country’s literary development. Entries illuminate the fiction of individual nations, cultures, and peoples, while concise biographies sketch the careers of noteworthy authors. Compiled by M. A. Orthofer, an avid book reviewer and the founder of the literary review site the Complete Review, this reference is perfect for readers who wish to expand their reading choices and knowledge of contemporary world fiction.


“Orthofer’s Guide, which one can hardly believe was written by a single individual, traces almost every nation’s literature since 1945, with a particular emphasis on the past two decades. […] (T)he most complete resource for readers of a transnational bent, interested in further expanding their horizons. […] Especially impressive are the chapters on Chinese and Iranian fiction, and adventurous readers will make good on the inclusion of sub-genres” — Michael LaPointe, Times Literary Supplement

The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction offers a bird’s-eye view of titles and authors from everywhere—a book overfull with reminders of why we love to read international fiction. Keep it close by.” — Robert Con Davis-Udiano, executive director, World Literature Today

“M. A. Orthofer has done more to bring literature in translation to America than perhaps any other individual. The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction will introduce more new worlds to you than any other book on the market.” — Tyler Cowen, George Mason University

“We live in an age of paradoxes: The global internet allows us to communicate with each other on a level unknown to mankind a few decades before. On the other hand there are more than 6000 different languages on this planet – 6000 barriers to mutual understanding. Although English has become the lingua franca in science, we know very little about the cultural self-interpretation of these numerous language-groups. One of the traditional and proven vessels of cultural self-identification is fictional literature. M.A. Orthofer’s The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction opens a welcome window to the wide literary world for all readers of English, who depend on the efforts of translators. His guide will encourage its readers to venture abroad while reading – staying at home or in a library.” — Michael Naumann, Director of the Barenboim-Said Academy in Berlin, former comissioner of culture of Germany, and founder of Metropolitan Books in New York.

“A relaxed, riverine guide through the main currents of international writing, with sections for more than a hundred countries on six continents.” — Karan Mahajan, Page-Turner blog, The New Yorker

“As a reference to writers rarely discussed in the United States, Orthofer’s guide is invaluable, and just as importantly, it capably defends the “genre” of world literature, which has been subject to easy disparagement from people who know too little of it.” — Sam Sacks, Open Letters Monthly

“I would challenge anyone, even Seymour-Smith, were he still alive, to not come away from this book, having discovered something new, be it a new author or a book not heard of. […] Anyone with even the vaguest interest in contemporary fiction should get this book” — The Modern Novel blog

The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction is that very rare thing: an extraordinarily detailed book where the information is easily accessed and understood. It is a splendid reference, a dependable guide, and a rich map of the world through its books.” — Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, Scroll.in



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