Grantland Book of the Year
Vol. 1 Brooklyn, A Year of Favorites, Jason Diamond
Book Riot, 2014s Must-Read Books from Indie Presses
"Valeria Luiselli is a writer of formidable talent, destined to be an important voice in Latin American letters. Her vision and language are precise, and the power of her intellect is in evidence on every page."Daniel Alarcón
"I'm completely captivated by the beauty of the paragraphs, the elegance of the prose, the joy in the written word, and the literary sense of this author."Enrique Vilas-Matas
Valeria Luiselli is an evening cyclist; a literary tourist in Venice, searching for Joseph Brodsky's tomb; an excavator of her own artifacts, unpacking from a move. In essays that are as companionable as they are ambitious, she uses the city to exercise a roving, meandering intelligence, seeking out the questions embedded in our human landscapes.
Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983 and grew up in South Africa. Her novel and essays have been translated into many languages and her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's. Some of her recent projects include a ballet performed by the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center; a pedestrian sound installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London; and a novella in installments for workers in a juice factory in Mexico. She lives in New York City.
"Together with [Luiselli's novel] Faces in the Crowd, her essays in Sidewalks are a wonderful contribution to the long tradition by which authors re-imagine their cities as dream-like spaces created for them to wander around, daydream and discover." Los Angeles Times
"Luiselli's writing is full of verve." Irish Times
"The disciplines conversed within Sidewalks include cartography, architecture, and urban planning; Luiselli bicycles through Mexico City, strolls the New York City streets, and visits Joseph Brodskys grave in Venice. These wanderings are unified by a distinctive narrative voice: pensive, questioning, always something of a stranger in a strange land." Publishers Weekly
"If every word, for her, has the shadow of two others behind it, and if every city in which she lives carries the ghostly afterimage of all the other cities she has known as well as the voices of the writers she has researched upon her arrival then her books become all the more enthralling for the multiplicity they champion. . . the great beauty of her art is seeing all her contrasting stories collapse or blend or combine into an unexpected whole." Los Angeles Review of Books
"The essays in Sidewalks dont connect or come together, and they arent commenting on a single thing; what we have is the Mexico City native (the book was lovingly translated from Spanish by Christine MacSweeney) distilling observations from her walks and the thinking she does on them. Handled any other way, that sort of thing could render any book of essays tedious and ultimately boring, but Luiselli turns it into something illuminating and delightful." Flavorwire, Book of the Week
"These essays take an unhurried pace well-suited for the ambling walks and bike rides that inspired them, deepened by literary and historical asides that situate these places in a context beyond the present moment. Language holds as much significance as geography here." Publisher's Weekly
Place, identity and the limitations of language converge in this slim collection of illuminating and incisive essays. . .[T]hese essays are more impressive in both their expansiveness and epigrammatic precision.” Kirkus Reviews
"[Luiselli's] subtexts become almost a guideasides we might hear from the city itself, whispering to us as we walk or bicycle through it, speaking of its secrets. So it is with the best travel books and memoirs, those that go beyond simply recounting a journey. They allow the reader to wander with the writer; to tap into her voice and imagination."Lose Angeles Review of Books
"Luiselli's spare and probing essays touch on a variety of subjects and are unified by a capacious imagination." SFGate
This book is the greatest of all things: a novel meant to be reread.”The
"[Faces in the Crowd and Sidewalks] have a combined weight that dwarfs the already considerable gravity they have individually." -KGB Bar Lit Magazine
Luisellis experimental essays are subdivided into brief, poignant observations that combine elements of travel writing, literary criticism and memoir. . . Places, even the absence of places, are the landscapes across which her imagination and intellect travel in this masterful collection of essays.”Longitude
For Luiselli, like Borges, the continuity between literature and reality is such that, if literature is a process of the imagination, then the world from which art is created is inseparably a part of that dream.” PANK
Luiselli is exceptionally good at weaving together seemingly disparate parts to make a whole essay that feels at once thoughtful, surprising, and carefully constructed.” Your Impossible Voice
"A writer is a person who distributes silences and empty spaces.” What a pleasure to wander through Valeria Luisellis meditative, precisely constructed landscapes of the city and interior. To read her essays is to have access to a map, a history, an passionate library, a thoughtful gaze, a sensitive and beautiful mind." Kate Zambreno
In a little over one hundred pages the peripatetic Luiselli covers Mexico City, Venice and New York amongst others with a quick eye and a scholars heart. She is a keen excavator and expositor; the history of places, people, words and ideas are deftly woven together in brief tapestries of a life lived around the world.” Review 31
Valeria Luiselli is a writer of formidable talent, destined to be an important voice in Latin American letters. Her vision and language are precise, and the power of her intellect is in evidence on every page.” Daniel Alarcon
Her essays are philosophical, smart, wandering. They feel natural, uncontrived, relaxed.” Asymptote
In publishing [Faces in the Crowd, a] novel about a translator living in Mexico City, and Luisellis superb collection of essays, Sidewalks, Coffee House has helped push into the world a great writer who everybody should know about.” Flavorwire, "The Best Indie Literature of 2014 So Far"
"On the cartography of empty spaces, by Valeria Luiselli, who is startlingly good writer." Alexis Madrigal, "Five Intriguing Things"
"Luisellis words (and Christina MacSweeneys translation) seem to flow effortlessly across the page, and one could describe these glimpses into the authors world as graceful prose poems or laments."JacqueWine
"Reminiscent of Sebald and Walser, unafraid of her own authority, Luiselli has produced an essay collection less heralded than many others this year and far better."New York Magazine
A beautiful, meandering collection of essays full of filaments of brilliance on everything from literature, philosophy, traveling in graveyards, to untranslatable words. The book is full of deep insights yet remains unpretentious throughout.”Publishers Weekly
Valeria Luisellis hallucinatory novel follows a young academic drawn to the life of the early 20th-century poet Gilbert Owen. What begins as obsession takes a surreal turn, and the two narratives begin to influence and haunt each other.”OZY
"Luisellis navigates a tricky path through the essay. A cemeterys graves, like an unread book, contains what we do not know; a less adept essayist could very well lose clarity and precision when presented with that great expanse of information. But Luiselli relishes the unknowns"Essay Daily