Even though I only skipped two days, it seems like so much time has passed since I last posted anything. One reason it seems so long is due to the weird time fluctuations surrounding the Ledig House.
E.J. and I were invited up there this past weekend to meet with the current residents and tell them a bit about Open Letter and Three Percent.
As you can read on its website, the Ledig House International Writers Residency was founded in 1992 and is named after German publisher Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt. It is located just north of Hudson in the town of Omi. Which, from what I’ve seen, is primarily made up of Art Omi (the Ledig House, a sculpture garden, and some other work spaces). Over the course of the year, there are residencies at Omi for writers, visual artists, and musicians.
I don’t have a lot of experience with writers’ colonies (and by “not a lot” I mean absolutely none), but I can’t imagine many are as nice as Ledig House. The views are spectacular, the silence astounding, and the array of authors from around the world that come there are all amazing. (And they’re actually there to work, not, um, you know.)
Usually about 10 authors and translators (I met the Lithuanian translator of Joyce’s Ulysses there on a day trip last month) there at any point in time, most of whom are from outside the U.S., but there are always few American authors as well.
Everyone we met was pretty incredible, including Gabriele Riedle, Martí Sales I Sariola (who is really psyched that we’re publishing Merce Rodoreda’s Death ad Springtime), Michael Obert, Denise Leith, Christine Bredenkamp (who translated How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic into Swedish), and Thachom Poyil Rajeevan, and everyone else who was there.
Just being able to sleep in, to spend hours in peace reading and writing, is so incredible. And then the discussions over dinner are pretty stimulating. It’s rare—for me at least—to get to sit around with so many well-read people from such diverse backgrounds.
I’d encourage any and everyone to apply for this residency, especially translators. Also, the residents are always up to give readings or speeches, so anyone looking for interesting international voices should get in touch with DW Gibson about arranging something. (We’re planning on doing something next spring here at the University of Rochester.)
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .