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.)
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .