15 August 08 | Chad W. Post

The new issue of A Public Space arrived a couple days ago and, as always, is filled with interesting pieces.

I think it’s pretty cool that “All Foreigners Beep” from Dubravka Ugresic’s new collection Nobody’s Home leads off the issue, especially since this is one of the funniest pieces in the book.

And I really like the “Letter Home” in which Colleen Kinder “Defines Iceland” and includes one of my favorite things to tell people about Iceland:

Phone book: Listed by first names.

Why: The surname here is only a father’s tag. For example, Molly Kinder = Molly Drewsdottir (Drew’s daughter.) Bush = Georg Georgsson.

Recommended Reading: The phone book. Particularly if you are looking, say, for Americans living in Iceland. Amid the long columns of Injibjorgs and Gudmundurs, a Frank leaps right out.

Frank: A ninety-six-year-old American living in Iceland. Though when he boarded his military ship in 1941, Frank was told only the code name of his destination: “Blue Indigo.”

Also very cool is this issue’s focus on Italy that includes pieces by Antonio Tabucchi, Salvatore Niffoi, Dacia Maraini, and Erri de Luca, and interviews with Marcello Fois and Antonio Scurati. And the whole section begins with an intriguing intro by translator Will Schutt :

One of the most prominent genres of current Italian fiction, both popular and literary, is the giallo or mystery story. In the hands of literary writers, the giallo turns quirkily metaphysical and, at times, metafictional—keen on investigating essential mysteries of language and its bearing on identity. [. . .]

In the short fictions that follow, formal combinations of the straight-up mystery, the historical narrative, and the fantastic tale serve to magnify divisiveness, paradox and impenetrability, qualities emblematic of the culture’s spirit. Although none of the stories’ protagonists is a detective per se, each is engaged in some kind of detective work.

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