10 December 08 | N. J. Furl | Comments

The french novel Zone by Mathias Énard has been receiving some early press for a few reasons.

1. We’re publishing it (with an English translation by Charlotte Mandell) in spring 2010.
2. It’s about 500 pages.
3. It’s about 1 sentence.

The Chicago Tribune just ran an article, including some helpful references to other long sentences with which you may be familiar. Within the article, Chad helpfully describes this incredible book:

Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester has purchased the rights to the book and expects to publish a translation by Charlotte Mandell in spring 2010, according to Chad Post, the press director.

But is the record-setter gibberish? Not at all, says Post.

“It’s told from inside this guy’s mind as he takes a train trip,” he says. “It has a lot of commas.”

Intrigued? Here’s a little excerpt.

8 July 08 | Chad W. Post | Comments [2]

This past weekend, Pat Reardon featured Dalkey Archive Press, Northwestern University Press, University of Illinois Press, and University of Chicago Press in an article for the Chicago Tribune about how the State of Illinois is one of the centers of translation in the country.

Translators are unofficial ambassadors, negotiating the meeting of two cultures, says Willis Regier, director of the University of Illinois Press.

And, although little recognized locally, one of the major centers of this sort of literary diplomacy is Illinois, home of four publishing houses with strong translation programs, responsible for some 50 translations each year.

Put together, these four presses are pretty impressive—Northwestern’s “Writings from an Unbound Europe” series alone is pretty remarkable and includes a ton of impressive authors.

It’s also worth noting that Reardon is talking about all translations, not just fiction and poetry. (For instance, the bit about U of I Press mentions that they specialize “in non-fiction works by scholars and great writers, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Ludwig van Beethoven.”) In terms of fiction and poetry, a small segment of Brooklyn would compete with Illinois in terms of translation dominance . . . In Gowanus and Dumbo alone one can find Ugly Duckling Press, Archipelago Books, and Melville House, three of the top publishers of literary translations in the country.

Personally, my favorite part of this article is John O’Brien’s quote that “This area is translation territory.” It calls to mind images of Illinois as the wild west of international writing, where roving editors carry around bilingual dictionaries . . .

18 December 07 | Chad W. Post | Comments [1]

I thought Jessa at Bookslut was just kidding, but apparently not. The Chicago Tribune has a listing of favorite books that’s literally any book anyone read this year!

Seriously, this thing is 28 pages online and completely useless.

23 July 07 | Chad W. Post |

Rather than blogging the crap out of Harry Potter (a la the Chicago Tribune—just check their last 10 posts), the Guardian has an interesting post on Blaise Cendrars, whose Moravagine was reprinted by—yep, again—NYRB a few years back.

Fascinating and strange, it’s great to see that someone in the world of mainstream newspapers is drawing attention to his work.

....
The History of Silence
The History of Silence by Pedro Zarraluki
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .

Read More >

Flesh-Coloured Dominoes
Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .

Read More >

Iraqi Nights
Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .

Read More >

Three-Light Years
Three-Light Years by Andrea Canobbio
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .

Read More >

The Little Horse
The Little Horse by Thorvald Steen
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .

Read More >

Guys Like Me
Guys Like Me by Dominique Fabre
Reviewed by Peter Biello

We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .

Read More >

Birth of a Bridge
Birth of a Bridge by Maylis de Kerangal
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .

Read More >