22 April 11 | N. J. Furl | Comments



Our final Reading the World event of the spring is coming up next Wednesday, April 27, in Rochester. (This event is not to be confused, by the way, with another that we have scheduled quickly thereafter on May 2. That event is our contribution to the PEN World Voices Tour, and we’ll be posting all the info on that one forthwith . . .) This RTW spectacular will include Thomas Pletzinger—German author of Funeral for a Dog fame—and Ross Benjamin—the award-winning German-to-English translator of Funeral for a Dog. All the good details are below.


Reading the World Conversation Series:
Thomas Pletzinger & Ross Benjamin

APRIL 27, 2011
Wednesday, 6:00 p.m
Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library
University of Rochester
(Free and open to the public.
Free parking passes available at information booth.)

Thomas Pletzinger’s Funeral for a Dog received a great deal of praise when it was first released in Germany. It was compared to John Irving (for storytelling) and to Max Frisch (for sensibility and humor), and he even won the prestigious Uwe-Johnson Prize.

Soon thereafter, Pletzinger landed a deal with W.W. Norton to publish the English language edition, translated by award-winner Ross Benjamin. The novel has received attention for its global settings (Germany, Brazil, U.S., Italy), innovative structure, and mixture of intelligence and wit.

Pletzinger comes from a new generation of writers who are less concerned with writing about Germany’s past and whose interests and influences are more global. This reading and conversation will focus on this new generation of writers in Germany and what makes their writing so vibrant and unique on the current stage of world literature.

Visit this event on Facebook

(This event is presented by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

15 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Video is now up from our Reading the World Conversation Series event with the acclaimed French-to-English translator Charlotte Mandell. It’s in seven parts, and there’s interesting stuff throughout—with parts 1-3 comprising the reading and parts 4-7 comprising the questions/answer portion (conducted with aplomb by our own senior editor, E.J. Van Lanen).

About the event:
Oct. 6 2009 – The French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation. Zone has already been called “The novel of the decade, if not of the century” (Christophe Claro). In short, it is a 517-page, one-sentence novel about a spy, a train ride, a briefcase, and the pervasive violence of the twentieth century.

Charlotte Mandell is one of the great French-to-English translators, and has translated such prominent works as: The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac, The Book to Come by Maurice Blanchot, A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy, and The Lemoine Affair by Marcel Proust.

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

15 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Our second Reading the World event in Rochester, NY, is right around the corner, and it’s going to be a great one featuring internationally best-selling author Jorge Vopli and Spanish translator Alfred Mac Adam. One and all should come. Here are the details:

OCT. 20, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Plutzik Library (in Rush Rhees Library)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Jorge Volpi—author of international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, and a founder of the “Crack” group—reads from his latest novel, Season of Ash, and discusses the new generation of Mexican writers.

Alfred Mac Adam is the acclaimed Spanish translator of Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, among others.

Jorge Volpi’s new international bestseller Season of Ash puts a human face on the earth-shaking events of the late twentieth century: the Cher­nobyl disaster, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of Soviet communism and the rise of the Russian oligarchs, the cascading collapse of developing economies, and the near-miraculous scientific advances of the Human Genome Project. Praised throughout the world for his inventive story­telling and stylistic am­bition, Jorge Volpi has become one of the leading innovators of twenty-first-century world literature.

After reading from Season of Ash, Jorge Volpi will be joined in conversation by Alfred Mac Adam—professor of Latin American literature at Barnard College-Columbia University since 1983 and translator of novels by Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, José Donoso, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Cortázar, as well as Season of Ash.

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

1 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

I know we just announced the new RTWCS events, but we’re already on the heels of the first one next week(!), featuring the incredible French translator Charlotte Mandell. Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend. Here’s all the info:

OCT. 6, 2009
5:00 p.m.
Sloan Auditorium (in Goergen Hall)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Charlotte Mandell—the French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others—reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation.

Zone has already been called “The novel of the decade, if not of the century” (Christophe Claro). In short, it is a 517-page, one-sentence novel about a spy, a train ride, a briefcase, and the pervasive violence of the twentieth century.

Charlotte Mandell is one of the great French-to-English translators, and has translated such prominent works as:

  • The Girl with the Golden Eyes by Honoré de Balzac
  • The Book to Come by Maurice Blanchot
  • A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert
  • The Horla by Guy de Maupassant
  • Listening by Jean-Luc Nancy
  • The Lemoine Affair by Marcel Proust

(This event is hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.)

1 October 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

For all those in the Rochester area, here are the events we’ve scheduled for this fall’s Reading the World Conversation Series. More information on each individual event will be posted soon, but here is the rundown, so you can mark your calendars now.

These events are hosted by Open Letter and University of Rochester Arts & Sciences. All events are supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.

OCT. 6, 2009
5:00 p.m.
Sloan Auditorium (in Goergen Hall)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Featuring: Charlotte Mandell

The French translator of Balzac, Proust, Flaubert, and others reads from her new translation of Mathias Énard’s Zone (forthcoming from Open Letter) and takes questions about literary translation.

OCT. 20, 2009
6:30 p.m.
Plutzik Library (in Rush Rhees Library)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Featuring: Jorge Volpi and Alfred Mac Adam

The author of international bestseller In Search of Klingsor, and a founder of the “Crack” group, reads from his latest novel, Season of Ash, and discusses the new generation of Mexican writers with the acclaimed Spanish translator of Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, among others.
(Co-sponsored by Rare Books & Special Collections.)

Nov. 5, 2009
6:00 p.m.
Gowen Room (in Wilson Commons)
University of Rochester
(free and open to the public)

Featuring: International Writers in Residence at Ledig House

Ledig House is one of the only international writer residences in the U.S. This event features readings and discussion from Tom Dreyer (South Africa), Pravda Miteva (Bulgaria), Kathrin Aehnlich (Germany), and Linda Gaboriau (Canada).

(For additional info, contact nathan.furl at rochester.edu)

8 May 09 | N. J. Furl | Comments

Last week we hosted another Reading the World Conversation Series event at the University of Rochester (co-sponsored by PEN World Voices). This time we brought together the internationally renown Norwegian author Jan Kjærstad and fab American author and Rolling Stone contributing editor Mark Binelli. For your reference, here’s a rundown on the event with some short bios, and the video is below. Enjoy.

Reading the World Conversation Series: Jan Kjærstad & Mark Binelli from Open Letter Books on Vimeo.

....
Anna Karenina
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .

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The Cold Song
The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann
Reviewed by David Richardson

Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

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This Life
This Life by Karel Schoeman
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

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. . .

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A Dilemma
A Dilemma by Joris-Karl Hyusmans
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

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Walker on Water
Walker on Water by Kristiina Ehin
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

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. . .

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The Nightwatches of Bonaventura
The Nightwatches of Bonaventura by Bonaventura
Reviewed by J. T. Mahany

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. . .

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Pavane for a Dead Princess
Pavane for a Dead Princess by Park Min-Gyu
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

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