Is The Quarterly Conversation The Greatest Online Literary Magazine Ever?
My unabashed love for The Quarterly Conversation is longstanding and predates all reviews/excerpts of Open Letter titles . . . In fact, I remember when we first launched Three Percent (back in the simpler, halcyon days of summer 2007 . . . ) Scott Espositon and Quarterly Conversation/Conversational Reading was by far the most oft-linked and name-checked person/publication on the blog.
But this new issue? Holy. Shit. Check out this list of features related to international literature, and then show me a magazine (print or online) as overflowing with good stuff:
- On Lessons Learned and Not Learned from the Nobel by the editors of the Quarterly Conversation;
- Tracing Mahmoud Darwish’s Map by George Fragopoulos;
- Now Playing at Pynchon Cinemas: What’s Going on in Pynchon’s Three California Novels by Donald Brown (Yes, I know this isn’t international, but what the hell—I just got the muted post-horn from Crying of Lot 49 tattooed on my arm last week, so exceptions are being made);
- Intentional Schizophrenia: J.M. Coetzee’s Autobiographical Trilogy and the Falling Authority of the Author by Matthew Cheney;
- False Truths: How Fact Is Fiction in Machado de Assis by Michael Moreci;
- A chapter of the The Mezzanine by Nikos Kachtitsis, translated by George Fragopoulos and Lyssi Athanasiou Krikeli;
- An excerpt from Jerzy Pilch’s A Thousand Peaceful Cities, which Open Letter is publishing next summer;
- Reviews of Robert Walser’s The Tanners, the Words Without Borders anthology The Wall in My Head, Gerard de Nerval’s The Salt Smugglers, Juan Jose Saer’s The Witness, Mati Unt’s Brecht at Night and Jorge Volpi’s Season of Ash.
Amazing, no? And that doesn’t include the “Bonus Material” section, or what might be the best feature of them all: Translate this Book! an epic list of recommendations of books to translate from a range of translators, agents, editors, etc.
I’m going to be going through this list as if it contained a secret explanation for the universe, and might be writing more in the future about the books referenced here, but for now, I just want to point out the strange coincidence that both Michael Emmerich and I nominated the same book . . . Granted, he’s been able to read this in the original, and I’ve just heard legends, but in my someone manic mood, this “coincidence” seems proof enough that Dogura Magura is a book that Open Letter should be publishing . . .
But back to the point: Not sure how Scott Esposito and Annie Janush and all the other editors and contributors pull this off, but thank god they do.
One improvement that would be supercool: a one-click button to print the entire issue . . .