Some English samples of the German Book Prize finalists are now available online at Signandsight.com. Specifically, they have samples available from:
Hopefully they’ll have excerpts of the other three finalists online soon.
The longlist for the 2007 German Book Prize was announced yesterday. (See the full list after the jump.)
Here’s what spokesperson for the judges, Felicitas von Lovenberg had to say about the selection of these 20 books from the 117 submitted titles:
“Without allowing ourselves to be seduced by celebrity or distracted by the pressure of originality, we have chosen twenty titles that reflect the unusual diversity and vitality in German-language literature as it presents itself this autumn in particular.”
Good to know that they stood up to the pressure of originality. It’s always a bad sign with originality counts for something.Read More...
Too bad directors aren’t always up to the task. Via signandsight.com:
Thomas Bernhard wrote his first full-length play “Ein Fest für Boris” ( A party for Boris) in 1966 for the Salzburg Festival, however the then president considered the grotesque drama about legless cripples “too dreary”: “We must take the nerves of our more sensitive guests into consideration.” Consequently the play was never performed there. Ulrich Weinzierl finds it fitting that it is opening the festival – which has proven capable of “swallowing much heavier fare” – this year, but is not entirely convinced of the approach of the young Berlin director Christiane Pohle. “In an attempt to do everything differently, she does a lot of damage. Pohle halves the number of cripples; the six of them loll about in lounge chairs, a combo plays in the background. The scene in which ‘Good’ gives the amputated Boris riding boots is eliminated, not replaced. And Boris doesn’t drum himself into death; he practices weebles until he dies, with Johannes’ help. It’s no wonder that ‘Good’ doesn’t ‘break out in horrible laughter’ – as Bernhard wanted it – but in fact is fighting back tears. And the sobbing finale is a massive belittlement, borderline kitsch.”
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .