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).
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.. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .