Martin Greenberg has written books on Franz Kafka, S.T. Coleridge, and William Wordsworth, and is a prize-winning translator of Kleist and Goethe. (June 2011)

Love and Murder in Witless Bay

Howard Norman, East Calais, Vermont, 2000
When you read a novel by Howard Norman, you enter into a very particular world. That of course is one of the oldest pleasures novels afford. You lived for a while with Robinson Crusoe on his island as his only companion. Narratives before Defoe were episodes loosely strung together. Shakespeare’s plays are “worldly” in the sense we mean; Samuel Beckett’s aren’t. The sense of being in a world requires something more than immediacy. With Henry James’s novels you are in the close atmosphere of the personal relations of a couple, a group, a circle. A world needs defining limits.