This morning, I talked to a journalist for quite a while about an article she’s writing on publishing Chinese literature in translation. On of the prompts for her article is Pathlight: New Chinese Writing, a magazine that I haven’t mention on here before, but definitely should have.
In addition to a general interest in this magazine—how much do you know about what’s going on in Chinese literature?—it’s also worth mentioning because it’s now available through both Amazon and Apple for $6.99. (Which is a decent price for the 277-page Winter issue.)
The complete table of contents for the Winter issue can be found here and contains Mo Yan’s Nobel Lecture, along with other pieces about him and his work, along with nine works of fiction and works from ten poets—none of which I’m currently familiar with.
It is kind of stunning that given the size of China, the insane number of writers who live there, and the general interest in what’s going on in the country on the whole, there were only 16 works by Chinese writers translated into English and published here in 2012. One can trot out all the normal reasons to explain why this might be the case, but the biggest in my mind is the utter lack of awareness among U.S. editors as to what’s going on in Chinese literature these days.
Which is why I’m going to be reading more issues of Pathlight . . .
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .