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 . . .

....
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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Tram 83
Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila
Reviewed by Caitlin Thomas

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. . .

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Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic by Octave Mirbeau
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

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. . .

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