It’s always fun to talk with Bill—he knows more about international literature than almost everyone I know—and I think the conversation went pretty well.
Aside from this podcast though, I can’t recommend the World Books site enough. PRI’s The World—which is produced by PRI, the BBC, and WGBH in Boston—is one of my favorite public radio programs (one of the few, to be honest), and this site is quickly becoming one of the best world literature sites out there. A mix of interviews (with authors and translators), reviews, features, and podcasts, there’s always interesting new content on the World Books page (such as this interesting piece on Jordanian censorship).
I’ve linked to content from World Books a few times, and I hope this site will continue to grow and expand over the coming months and years.
In addition to this podcast with Bill Marx, I also had the honor of speaking with host Lisa Mullins about Reading the World for a short segment that will be broadcast later this week. It’s hard to judge these things, but I’m not sure I was quite on my game during this conversation, although I’m really glad that I recommended Nazi Literature in the Americas and suggested that kids read War and Peace and Don Quixote . . . Thanks to Harry Potter, modern kids are into monstrously long epics, right?
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .
While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry.
Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see. . .
The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the. . .
Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days.
It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then. . .