10 September 08 | Chad W. Post

The latest newsletter from the Finnish Literature Exchange (the government sponsored organization dedicated to promoting Finnish lit worldwide) arrived yesterday and included a couple interesting article/links.

First off, there have been a few additions to the Beginners’ Guide to Translation, which, to be honest, I didn’t know existed, but looks like an interesting (and inspiring) document for people interested in getting in to translation.

There’s also an announcement about this year’s winner of the Government Translation Prize:

The Government Translation Prize, worth 10,000 euros, was awarded this year to translator and librarian Gabriele Schrey-Vasara. Gabriele Schrey-Vasara has been a distinguished translator of both novels and scholarly works for almost 30 years. In her role as translator, she has been a part of the flowering of interest in Nordic literature in Germany in the past ten years. Schrey-Vasara has interpreted the character of Maria Kallio, the strong police woman in Leena Lehtolainen’s books, and the renowned Ingrian-Estonian anti-hero Viktor Kärppä in Matti Rönkä’s novels, among others.

Finally, and of most interest to me, is a link to the new issue of Books from Finland, which includes extracts, reviews, and general info on a number of Finnish writers, along with an almost-gooey love letter to Context magazine

We haven’t received a hard copy yet (not sure we’re even on the mailing list, which is probably more our fault than FILI’s), and unfortunately there are very few articles available online. (Which is something that I think is rather short-sighted. If you’re trying to interest people in your country’s literature—a difficult task already—don’t make potential readers/fans do extra work to get the info . . .) If/when we do get a copy, I’ll post again with more details about the authors and works featured inside.


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I Called Him Necktie
I Called Him Necktie by Milena Michiko Flašar
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

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Return to Killybegs
Return to Killybegs by Sorj Chalandon
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

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. . .

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The Last Days
The Last Days by Laurent Seksik
Reviewed by Peter Biellp

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. . .

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Selected Stories
Selected Stories by Kjell Askildsen
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

To call Kjell Askildsen’s style sparse or terse would be to understate just how far he pushes his prose. Almost nothing is explained, elaborated on. In simple sentences, events occur, words are exchanged, narrators have brief thoughts. As often as. . .

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Letter from an Unknown Woman and Other Stories
Letter from an Unknown Woman and Other Stories by Stefan Zweig
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

After a mysterious woman confesses to an author simply known as “R” that she has loved him since she was a teenager, she offers the following explanation: “There is nothing on earth like the love of a child that passes. . .

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Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage
Colorless Tsukuru and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Reviewed by Will Eells

Floating around the internet amid the hoopla of a new Haruki Murakami release, you may have come across a certain Murakami Bingo courtesy of Grant Snider. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s funny because it’s true,. . .

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The Matiushin Case
The Matiushin Case by Oleg Pavlov
Reviewed by Brandy Harrison

The publisher’s blurb for Oleg Pavlov’s The Matiushin Case promises the prospective reader “a Crime and Punishment for today,” the sort of comparison that is almost always guaranteed to do a disservice to both the legendary dead and the ambitious. . .

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Fear: A Novel of World War I
Fear: A Novel of World War I by Gabriel Chevallier
Reviewed by Paul Doyle

One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is difficult to believe that there are still novels, considered classics in their own countries, that have never been published in English. Perhaps it was the. . .

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Little Grey Lies
Little Grey Lies by Hédi Kaddour
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

In the London of Hédi Kaddour’s Little Grey Lies, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan, peace has settled, but the tensions, fears, and anger of the Great War remain, even if tucked away behind stories and lies. Directly ahead, as those. . .

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Autobiography of a Corpse
Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Reviewed by Simon Collinson

One of the greatest services—or disservices, depending on your viewpoint—Bertrand Russell ever performed for popular philosophy was humanizing its biggest thinkers in his History. No longer were they Platonic ideals, the clean-shaven exemplars of the kind of homely truisms that. . .

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