Jess Row’s first book, The Train to Lo Wu, a collection of short stories set in Hong Kong, was shortlisted for the PEN/Hemignway Award. In 2007 he was named a Best Young American Novelist by Granta. He is currently at work on a new collection of stories and a novel set in Laos during the Vietnam War.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my favorite books read in 2007 were Little Dorrit and Daniel Deronda. But almost as much fun as the novels themselves were the copious endnotes (in the Penguin and Modern Library editions, respectively). I wonder: in a hundred years, will any novels from our era get the same treatment? And if so, what will the endnotes “say?”
Other favorites: David Means’ The Secret Goldfish; Cees Nooteboom, Lost Paradise; Leonard Michaels, The Collected Stories; Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases; Nadine Gordimer, Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black; Han Shaogong, A Dictionary of Maqiao. I was also introduced this year to the anthropologist and cultural theorist Michael Taussig, whose Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses was probably the book I carried around the longest (and still haven’t finished).