Book summary: Sidewalks

2013 BY VALERIA LUISELLI

Evocative, erudite and consistently surprising, these narrative essays explore the places - real and imagined - that shape our lives. Whether wandering the familiar streets of her neighbourhood, revisiting the landmarks of her past, or getting lost in a foreign city, Valeria Luiselli plots a unique and exhilarating course that traces unexpected pathways between diverse ideas and reveals the world from a fresh perspective.

Here, we follow Luiselli as she cycles around Mexico City, shares a cigarette with the night porter in her Harlem apartment, and hunts down a poet's tomb in Venice. Each location sparks Luiselli's nimble curiosity and prompts imaginative reflections and inventions on topics as varied as the fluidity of identity, the elusiveness of words that can't be translated, the competing methods of arranging a bookcase, and the way that city-dwellers evade eye-contact with their neighbours while spying on their lives. Sidewalks cements Luiselli's reputation as one of Latin America's most original, smart and exciting new literary voices.

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