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Kurt Sweeney

Literary critic.

At the micro level in the language

CULTURAL CRITICISM: Yoko Tawada moves between German and Japanese words – in line with Paul Celan or Roland Barthes. But did you know that tears contain the stress hormone cortisol?

A death sentence on the Syrian state

SYRIA: A multisectoral, multi-religious, multi-linguistic and multiethnic state torn to shreds by the Ba'ath party, extremists, militias and rival superpowers, all demanding their share of the country.

All against all

REFUGEES: Unity is pulverized, everyone just thinks of managing on their own, surviving, tearing up an extra bite of food, a place in the food queue or the telephone queue.

The cultural binder

NOVEL: DeLillo stages a kind of general, paranoid state, a suspicion that has global reach.

Conflicting views on life and work

route selection: Two asphalt pavers – one naive and dreary, the other rational and conscientious – are commissioned by a global and financially strong client.

China's "forgotten" past

Looking back on the protagonist Ma Doade's past as a Red Guardian during the Cultural Revolution, China Dream challenges the extensive forgery of history in China.


Aina Villanger has written a collection of poems that will communicate, in a setting that is intimate and universal at the same time.

Espionage's personal costs

Javier Marías' writing has a strong anti-authorial nerve that is subtle and without illusions.

Headed towards the light of the blind

Yan Lianke writes books that cross borders and language differences and qualify to be referred to as world literature. But in his homeland his books are forbidden.