So, yesterday was the official release date for Benjamin Stein’s The Canvas, one of the most curiously designed Open Letter books to date. With two openings, and myriad ways to read it, you can read a totally different Canvas at the same time as your friend:
The novel consists of two narratives: Amnon Zichroni’s depiction of growing up in an orthodox Jewish family, and his eventual realization of his “gift” to see people’s memories; and, Jan Wechsler’s quest to recover his missing memories after receiving a mysterious briefcase with information about his past. These two stories play off each other in subtle ways, and it’s not until the very end of the book (or middle, if you prefer) that you find out how the two character intersect . . .
To celebrate this (and my birthday, which is why we always publish a book on September 26th), we’re offering The Canvas for free to all new Open Letter subscribers. If you’ve been thinking about signing up—and who hasn’t? what could be better than receiving an excellent work in translation every month—this is the time. You’ll get 6 books for $60 or 11 for $100, which is just an insanely good bargain.
So since up for the savings, and stay for the literature.
Or just sign up as a birthday present to me. Please?
As you probably already know, since our inception, we’ve offered subscriptions to Open Letter. You can subscribe for six months or a year and receive every title that we publish during that time, which means that you receive a book about every five weeks. Also included is a letter explaining how we came to publish that book, and some other additional information, such as an interview with the author or translator, or an article about the book, or something.
Anyway, for the rest of the month, we’re offering a special deal: for anyone who renews or buys a new subscription, we’ll add on 1 extra book to a six-month subscription, and 2 extra books if you sign up for a year.
In other words, for $60 you’ll get 6 Open Letter titles, and for $100 you’ll get 12.
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of subscriptions to the functioning of Open Letter. Although the majority of our sales are through bookstores, subscriptions make up a decent percentage. And provide us with a chance to be in touch with some of our biggest fans—something that I truly appreciate. I love writing the letters that go along with the books, and I really enjoy hearing back from subscribers.
All of the money from subscriptions goes back into doing all the things we do: publishing international literature, running this site, putting together the Reading the World Conversation Series, maintaining the translation database, running the Best Translated Book Awards, doing the Three Percent podcast . . . .
If you sign up now, the first book you’ll receive is Dubravka Ugresic’s Karaoke Culture, which was recently excerpted at both The Paris Review and Asymptote.= After that you’ll receive Milen Ruskov’s Thrown into Nature, Juan Jose Saer’s Scars, Eduardo Chirinos’s The Smoke of Distant Fires, Svetislav Basara’s The Cyclist Conspiracy, Kristin Omarsdottir’s Children in Reindeer Woods, Jerzy Pilch’s My First Suicide, Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets, an anthology of young Latin American writers entitled The Future Is Not Ours, Benjamin Stein’s The Canvas, and Quim Monzo’s A Thousand Morons, along with many other wonderful titles from around the world.
Thanks in advance, and I hope you enjoy all of the books . . .
From Literary License’s 12 Days of Books:
An Open Letter subscription is the perfect gift. It’s cheap (just $65 for half a year and $120 for the full year), and the books are intelligently chosen and beautifully designed. Your giftee will thank you throughout the year as the books get delivered month after month, and you can feel good about supporting the cultural and intellectual vitality of our planet.
I’m an Open Letter subscriber, and I’ve been very pleased with the Open Letter books I’ve received this fall. See my reviews of Nobody’s Home by Dubravka Ugresic (4/5) and The Taker and Other Stories by Rubem Fonseca (4.5/5).
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. . .