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the Complete Review


The Most Underappreciated Books
at the
complete review


     The complete review does not just review the latest faddish fictions and hot books on hot topics. We review far and wide (and abroad -- remember to check out the foreign books we have under review). Often -- all the time, it seems, -- we stumble across books that don't get the attention they deserve.

     Why do we consider these books underappreciated ? Basically: they have either been allowed to go out of print or have not received the critical or popular attention that they deserve. (Note that books that have not yet been translated into English are not included in this category.) Certain books are appreciated in England but not in the United States (Gilbert Adair's novels, for example, or some of Geoff Dyer's work); books listed here, however, are underappreciated in the entire English-speaking area. Merely being out of print or hard to find also isn't enough to make the list -- many of those titles can be found on our list of the most obscure books.

     Here is our selection of the most underappreciated books currently under review, ranked in some order of how outrageous the neglect seems to be:

The Most Underappreciated Books under Review:

  1. Chris Wilson's Mischief -- brilliant fun, but (like almost all his work) lost out of print
  2. The works of Ahmadou Kourouma -- an important and interesting author, many of whose works are available, yet in the English-speaking world he is hardly noticed
  3. Irmtraud Morgner's The Life and Adventures of Trobadora Beatrice as Chronicled by her Minstrel Laura -- a modern classic, mixing politics and fantasy, one of the most impressive novels published in the 1970s, finally available in English more than 25 years after it first appeared -- but this historic publication has attracted essentially no notice in the American (and British) press
  4. Amélie Nothomb's Loving Sabotage -- this much-praised (by the complete review, and abroad) and very fine novel is finally available in English, and has ridiculously received practically no critical (or other) notice
  5. Augusto Monterroso's Complete Works & Other Stories -- brilliant stuff by a brilliant writer, and the only collection of his work currently in print in English
  6. Bertolt Brecht's Stories of Mr. Keuner -- finally available in English, and yet hardly anyone even notices
  7. Mara Beller's Quantum Dialogue -- clever, fascinating stuff, very well presented -- but with little resonance or reaction so far
  8. Giorgio Manganelli's Centuria -- a great collection
  9. Peter Dimock's A Short Rhetoric for Leaving the Family -- a small little novel, worthy of more attention
  10. Daniel Evan Weiss' Honk if you love Aphrodite -- clever and fun modern American fiction, ignored by every major (and almost all minor) review outlets
  11. Mesa Selimovic's Death and the Dervish -- the internationally acclaimed book has not made much of an impact in its long-awaited English translation
  12. David Jones' The Anathemata -- hailed in its time, praised by T.S.Eliot and Auden, but apparently unfashionable nowadays
  13. Arno Schmidt's Radio Dialogs 1 and his supranovel The School for Atheists -- landmark translations -- and fascinating stuff -- yet critically ignored
  14. Lydie Salvayre's The Award -- very funny satire that doesn't seem to have caught on
  15. Geoff Nicholson's Bedlam Burning -- a recent title, and one of his best, but limited coverage and publicity
  16. The works of Patrick White -- the great Nobel laureate is one of the major English-language writers of the second half of the 20th century, and yet his work is fading out of print, with hardly anything still available

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  • See also the most obscure books under review
  • See also the most unusual books under review
  • Refer to the Review Index for all titles under review


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