It’s always great to uncover (or be told about) great new literary blogs, and last week I found about a couple of really impressive ones.
The first is Salonica World Lit which bears the slogan “Exploit. Explore. Examine. A Blog Dedicated to International Literature.” This is done by Monica Carter of Skylight Books, and, as incorporated into the title, focuses on international lit.
Recently she’s written about Stefan Zweig Amok & Other Stories, about Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Rashomon and Mandarins, and about Barcelona crime writer Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett. All the posts are well crafted, and with Monica’s bookstore connection and curiousity about world lit, this promises to be a great place to find out about new authors.
(This is kind of geeky, but I really like how her blog roll works. Rather than simply listing a bunch of blogs, it lists the title of the most recent post on each blog and allows the reader to click through and explore the literary blog world in a more connected and intuitive way. I don’t know if this is a common feature now or not—but this is the first time I’ve ever seen it and I think it’s pretty cool.)
Another great addition to the blog world is Beyond Hall 8 a blog sponsored by the Frankfurt Book Fair and serving as “a platform for discussion about book publishing from an international perspective and for an international audience.” The mission of this blog is incredibly impressive and with Thomas Minkus and Hannah Johnson involved, it’s destined for greatness. The posts about “Lookybook” (a site that provides free “previews” of children’s picture books) and the Australian Book Market are both really interesting. As a bit of statistics geek myself, I really dig the post about the Australian book market, and the fact that there are a ton of indie presses publishing in Australian that were uncounted in the last report from the Australia Bureau of Statistics . . . Nevertheless, it still shocks me to find out that there were only 851 works of adult fiction published there last year.
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. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .