7 December 09 | Chad W. Post | Comments

My unabashed love for The Quarterly Conversation is longstanding and predates all reviews/excerpts of Open Letter titles . . . In fact, I remember when we first launched Three Percent (back in the simpler, halcyon days of summer 2007 . . . ) Scott Espositon and Quarterly Conversation/Conversational Reading was by far the most oft-linked and name-checked person/publication on the blog.

But this new issue? Holy. Shit. Check out this list of features related to international literature, and then show me a magazine (print or online) as overflowing with good stuff:

  • A chapter of the The Mezzanine by Nikos Kachtitsis, translated by George Fragopoulos and Lyssi Athanasiou Krikeli;

Amazing, no? And that doesn’t include the “Bonus Material” section, or what might be the best feature of them all: Translate this Book! an epic list of recommendations of books to translate from a range of translators, agents, editors, etc.

I’m going to be going through this list as if it contained a secret explanation for the universe, and might be writing more in the future about the books referenced here, but for now, I just want to point out the strange coincidence that both Michael Emmerich and I nominated the same book . . . Granted, he’s been able to read this in the original, and I’ve just heard legends, but in my someone manic mood, this “coincidence” seems proof enough that Dogura Magura is a book that Open Letter should be publishing . . .

But back to the point: Not sure how Scott Esposito and Annie Janush and all the other editors and contributors pull this off, but thank god they do.

One improvement that would be supercool: a one-click button to print the entire issue . . .

....
Morse, My Deaf Friend
Morse, My Deaf Friend by Miloš Djurdjević
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in _Morse, My Deaf Friend_— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .

Read More >

The Crimson Thread of Abandon
The Crimson Thread of Abandon by Terayama Shūji
Reviewed by Robert Anthony Siegel

The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .

Read More >

Life Embitters
Life Embitters by Josep Pla
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .

Read More >

The Physics of Sorrow
The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov
Reviewed by Izidora Angel

“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .

Read More >

Vano and Niko
Vano and Niko by Erlom Akhvlediani
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .

Read More >

The Indian
The Indian by Jón Gnarr
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .

Read More >

Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories
Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .

Read More >