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John Lanchester, 5 January 1989

Arabesques 
by Anton Shammas, translated by Vivian Eden.
Viking, 263 pp., £11.95, November 1988, 0 670 81619 1
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Blösch 
by Beat Sterchi, translated by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 353 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 571 14934 0
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A Casual Brutality 
by Neil Bissoondath.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 7475 0252 8
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... made of Blösch, which has had the benefit of an exemplary translation by Michael Hofmann. Beat Sterchi’s stir-causing first novel was published in German in 1983: it describes the experiences of Ambrosio, a Spanish gastarbeiter in Switzerland. Ambrosio works on Farmer Knuchel’s dairy farm in Innerwald, where the small, wiry southerner is ...

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