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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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... the translation amounts to a criticism of the book rather than to dismissal of it. No such criticism can be made of Blösch, which has had the benefit of an exemplary translation by Michael Hofmann. BeatSterchi’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 ...

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