7 February 13 | Chad W. Post | Comments

I’m not even going to bother setting this one up—just read the opening of this review by Gregory Leon Miller from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Quim Monzó might just be the best writer you’ve never heard of. One could say he’s Catalan’s best-known writer – in fact, the publicity materials for Monzó’s books in the English-language markets routinely say so. But given our culture’s scant attention to literature in translation, such titles, however well meant, only accentuate a writer’s obscurity.

His latest, “A Thousand Morons,” is one of the strongest short-story collections I’ve read in years. Out of material too bleak perhaps for mainstream tastes, Monzó has crafted the funniest prose.


Monzó is one of the best—and one of the funniest—writers writing today. He’s an incredible person and deserves all this praise and more. But don’t forget about Peter Bush!

As a translator himself – he has produced Catalan versions of authors ranging from Thomas Hardy to Truman Capote – Monzó must surely appreciate the suppleness of Peter Bush’s work here. Bush gives us Monzó’s subtle complexity without any of the clunky moments that can deform translations of comic writing in particular.

Credit must also go to Open Letter (an imprint of the University of Rochester), whose devotion to literature in translation and unpredictable roster have quietly made it one of the most important small presses in the country.

Aw shucks. That’s a really nice compliment at the end as well . . .

So, just like in my last post, if you take out a year-long subscription to Open Letter I’ll throw in both A Thousand Morons and 18% Gray. (For current subscribers, I’ll still give you 12 books for $100—don’t worry.)

Actually, I’m going to take this one step further . . . If you email me at chad.post at rochester.edu, I’ll send you a free Thousand Morons T-shirt. Just let me know what size you want. We have S, M, L, XL, and XXL.

20 September 12 | Chad W. Post | Comments

One of the fall Open Letter titles that I’m most jacked about is Quim Monzó’s A Thousand Morons. I’ve been a huge fan of Monzó’s for a while now (maybe since I read, The Enormity of the Tragedy, I guess) and am so proud that we have him on our list. (If you want to check him out, I STRONGLY recommend checking out One Night which appeared in Guernica back in August.)

Anyway, to correspond with the release of this book, we’re going to be showing the movie version, A Thousand Fools, during ALTA. (To be specific, this will take place on Thursday, October 4th from 1:30 to 3:30 at The Little. And before the screening, translator Peter Bush will talk about Monzó, his work, and Catalan literature.)

There’s more to this event to share with you, but first, here’s a trailer:

OK, now thanks to the combined brilliance of George Carroll (our West Coast sales rep!), Paul Yamazaki (of City Lights), and Rick Simonson (of Elliott Bay), we’re going to be giving away t-shirts to promote this book. To be more accurate, we’ll be giving away one thousand t-shirts that look sort of like this (this is an low-res mock up):

And to drive home the promotional point of this, the back will be individually numbered, so each recipient will know exactly which “moron” he/she is:

So everyone coming to the showing during ALTA, all booksellers who are Open Letter fans, every single subscriber, bunches of friends, and any of you who email me can get your own free “Thousand Morons” t-shirt. The only criteria is that you take a picture of yourself wearing it and post it to our Facebook page. (You don’t have to do this, but it would be pretty awesome, and would make us feel loved.)

There you are: One more reason why you should come to ALTA.

27 January 12 | Chad W. Post | Comments

It’s not very often that an Open Letter book is turned into a movie (in fact, aside from Duras’s The Sailor from Gibraltar and Ilf & Petrov’s The Golden Calf [which was actually made into three different movies] I don’t think any of our titles have become films), so it’s really exciting to find out about about this version of Quim Monzo’s A Thousand Morons (coming out in fall 2012):

There’s no IMDB listing for this movie, but it was part of the Seattle International Film Festival, which described it as such:

Dropped forks, high rise plunges, overzealous donators, and a fiercely liberated Virgin Mary are just a few of the subjects covered in director Ventura Pons’ masterfully random, occasionally interlocking collection of fifteen vignettes, delivered at a rapid-fire, pin-wheeling pace. Split into three parts and featuring a gaggle of Spanish stars, the film first delivers a variously blistering and tender take on modern foibles and breaches of etiquette, before moving on to a bawdy reexamination of classic myths and parables, all rendered in a delightfully chintzy silent film fashion. The final section, concerning a screenwriter’s exasperated relationship with his headstrong parents, finishes things off in fine form, with one last caustic sting in the tail. Moving with breathtaking assurance, SIFF favorite Pons (Life on the Edge, Forasters, Drifting) quick draws between savage black comedy and unexpected pathos to deliver an exhilarating and dazzlingly modulated ride. Everyone who sees it will have a different favorite part.

I don’t know exactly how this works, but hopefully someone will pick this up and distribute it across the U.S. . . . and maybe even here in Rochester. I’d love to see how Monzo’s wacky stories and viewpoint is converted to the screen.

I Remember Nightfall
I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio
Reviewed by Talia Franks

I Remember Nightfall by Marosa di Giorgio (trans. From the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas) is a bilingual poetry volume in four parts, consisting of the poems “The History of Violets,” “Magnolia,” “The War of the Orchards,” and “The Native. . .

Read More >

Joyce y las gallinas
Joyce y las gallinas by Anna Ballbona
Reviewed by Brendan Riley

This review was originally published as a report on the book at New Spanish Books, and has been reprinted here with permission of the reviewer. The book was originally published in the Catalan by Anagrama as Joyce i les. . .

Read More >

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >