We’re having some
catastrophic minor computer issues preventing us from being able to upload the new Three Percent podcast, but as soon as the website computer stops restarting every three seconds and every three seconds and every three seconds, you’ll be able to hear an hour of Tom and I chatting up the 2013 books that we’re most looking forward to. (We covered approx. 18 books in this podcast and only talked about women’s soccer for a bit . . . It’s definitely one of our best shows.)
This is a really solid list, and includes some books that didn’t appear on the preview at The Millions, or Scott Esposito’s “Interesting New Books” list. Here are a handfrul from the WNOR list that I’m curious about:
Georges Perec (trans. Daniel Levin Becker), La Boutique Obscure (Melville House). Will answer the burning question: did Perec’s dreams operate under constraints?
Arnon Grunberg (trans. Sam Garrett), Tirza (Open Letter). The latest novel by Grunberg, who has also published fiction under the pseudonym Marek van der Jagt, to be translated into English is perhaps his darkest yet.
Jacob Slauerhoff (trans. Paul Vincent), The Forbidden Kingdom (Pushkin). The early 20th century Dutch classic, included on the list of “1001 Novels You Must Read Before You Die,” finally available in English.
Severo Sarduy (trans. Mark Fried), Firefly (Archipelago). A richly lyrical coming of age tale of a boy with a head too big and a sense of direction too poor to do anything but get him into trouble in pre-Castro Cuba.
Nathalie Sarraute (trans. Barbara Wright), Childhood (Univ. of Chicago). A reprint of Sarraute’s memoir, with a new forward by Alice Kaplan.
Jean-Marie Blas de Robles (trans. Mike Mitchell), Where Tigers Are At Home (Other Press). A massive tale of intrigue spanning centuries, with 17th century scholar and man of dubious science Athanasius Kircher at its heart. Winner of the Prix Medicis.
Carlos Rojas (trans. Edith Grossman), The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell (Yale). A fantastical tale about the death and afterlife of poet Garcia Lorca, translated by Edith Grossman.
Luis Chitarroni (trans. Rhett McNeil), The No Variations (Dalkey Archive). A classic of Latin American metafiction compared to the work of David Markson and Cesar Aira.
Elfriede Jelinek (trans. Damion Searls), Her Not All Her (Sylph Editions). Jelinek takes on Robert Walser in this play about the writer’s life and work.
Stig Dagerman (trans. Steven Hartman), To Kill a Child (Godine). A collection of stories by one of the most famous forgotten Swedish writers.
Jorge Luis Borges (trans. Katherine Silver), Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature (New Directions). A previously untranslated collection of Borges’ lectures on English literature.
Imre Kertesz (trans. Tim Wilkinson), Dossier K (Melville House). A self-interview that blends memoir and fiction written by the oddly neglected Nobel laureate.
Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Campo (trans. Levine & Campbell), Where There’s Love, There’s Hate (Melville House). Husband and wife team and collaborators with Borges brought back into print.
Ror Wolf (trans. Jennifer Marquart), Two or Three Years Later: Forty-Nine Digressions (Open Letter). An “anti-book” of short stories by a writer who mines a similar vein as two Roberts: Walser and Pinget.
Curzio Malaparte, Coup D’Etat (Enigma Books). Subtitled “The Technique of Revolution,” this is a translation of the book that earned Malaparte a jail sentence in Mussolini’s Italy. Malaparte’s novel The Skin will be reprinted by NYRB Classics this spring.
Marguerite Duras (trans. Ali & Murphy), L’Amour (Open Letter). A previously untranslated novel by Marguerite Duras.
Almantas Samalavicius, The Dedalus Book of Lithuanian Literature (Dedalus). A century-spanning collection of Lithuanian literature, reflecting the culture’s changing political and artistic position.
So many good books . . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .