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the Complete Review


The Most Obscure Books
at the
complete review


     The complete review considers a wide variety of books, including many that are not reviewed in your usual Sunday supplement. We have books under review that have been out of print for years or decades -- or that you have simply never heard of. This list only gives the obscurest of these (and none of those that have not been translated into English (remember to check out the foreign books we have under review for those)).
     Here is our selection of the most obscure books currently under review, ranked in some order of how unlikely it is that you ever heard of them (or can find a copy):

The Most Obscure Books under Review:

  1. Begenas Sartov's When the Edelweiss Flowers Flourish -- Soviet-era Kyrgyz science fiction - enough said
  2. Eneriko Seruma's The Experience -- African fiction is notoriously hard to find, at the complete review and elsewhere
  3. Mathias Storch's Singnagtugaq -- Century-old Greenlandic fiction !
  4. Robert Weninger's Framing a Novelist -- Sadly, not everybody gets excited about Arno Schmidt Criticism 1970-1994
  5. Okot p'Bitek's 1953 debut, White Teeth -- Another now-obscure Ugandan novel
  6. Pierre Boulle's Desperate Games -- His 1971 novel that is unlikely ever to be re-printed -- thank god !
  7. Rajanikanta Bordoloi's 1894 novel, Miri Jiyori -- An Asssmese romance
  8. Mwangi Ruheni's The Diamond Lady, as well as his The Future Leaders -- More hard-to-find African fiction
  9. Per Wahlöö's The Generals -- His 1965 political satire
  10. Yuri Andrukhovych's Recreations -- a leading Ukrainian author, but not (yet ?) well-known in the US
  11. Philipp Blom's The Simmons Papers -- Faber & Faber published this (and it might have remained in print for a week or so), and we even own a copy, but we are still not convinced it actually exists -- except, bizarrely, in a German translation
  12. Kurahashi Yumiko's The Adventures of Sumiyakist Q -- Her 1969 novel, published by the University Of Queensland Press
  13. Norman Mailer's Deaths for the Ladies (and other disasters) -- His 1962 collection of poetry
  14. Ved Mehta's Delinquent Chacha -- His 1967 attempt at fiction.
  15. Taban Lo Liyong's Another Last Word -- practically all his work is hard to find -- see also Another Nigger Dead and The Cows of Shambat --, but this one especially so
  16. Ajneya's To Each his Stranger -- existentialist 1960s Hindi fiction, set in the Alps
  17. H. F. Broch de Rothermann's Dear Mrs. Strigl/Liebe Frau Strigl -- his memoir of his father, Hermann Broch
  18. Jens Bjørneboe's Without a Stitch -- once controversial but now -- despite the art-house stills from the movie -- of little interest, despite the fact that its author produced other very impressive works
  19. Y.B.Mangunwijaya's Durga/Umayi -- challenging Indonesian fiction, but readily available
  20. Ashok Mathur's Once upon an Elephant -- a contemporary semi-Indian-Canadian fiction (but early Ondaatje was obscure too)
  21. Indra Kagis McEwen's Socrates' Ancestor -- architectural-philosophical ideas that haven't made a splash yet
  22. Mir's Zikr-i Mir -- the autobiography of the Urdu poet, apparently as specialist a book as you can find
  23. Antonio Porta's The King of the Storeroom -- poetic post-apocalyptic fiction that didn't make much of a splash
  24. Levent Şenyürek's The Book of Madness -- science fiction from Turkey
  25. Augusto Monterroso's The Black Sheep -- brilliant stuff, but long, long out of print (and practically nothing else by this great author available in its place)
  26. Ayi Kwei Armah's Two Thousand Seasons -- an African classic, but not easily found
  27. Geoff Nicholson's Big Noises -- rock guitar in the 90s
  28. Nizami's Sikandar Nama, e bara -- the Persian poet's book on Alexander the Great, in a fascinating translation
  29. Philip Terry's The Book of Bachelors -- interesting OULIPO effort, published as a special issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction
  30. Alasdair Gray's Old Negatives -- the great Scot's poems, not easy to find
  31. Christopher Okigbo's Labyrinth -- an important figure, and yet apparently largely forgotten
  32. Dean Mahomed's The Travels of Dean Mahomet -- the first Indian author in English, available in two editions -- and online -- but you've probably not stumbled across him yet
  33. Danilo Kiš' Mansarda -- the well-known author's first novel, finally available in English -- but not easy to find
  34. John Henry Ryskamp's Nature Studies -- perhaps deserving oblivion, an American experiment in fiction

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