This somewhat maudlin post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog.
Although the Fair doesn’t officially close for a little while, for all intents and purposes, my time here is over. I’ve met with all the people I needed to meet with, visited all the stands I needed to visit, and drank enough beer to last me till FBF ‘09 and beyond.
Despite the fact that I really need some restful sleep–without the aid of alcohol–and time to sort through all the information I’ve gathered over the past six days, I’m still a bit sad to see the fair end. I get an ache inside when I see the ice cream carts empty and shut down for the year.
To me, the fair officially ended with the “Fairwell” Reception that just took place. Sponsored by the German Book Office of New Dehli, it featured Fair Director Jurgen Boos, who compared the Fair to a palimpsest, a collection of written, erased, and rewritted experiences from which each person takes away some images and ideas important to them. He also honored the participants in the Invitation Programme for Exhibitors, a group of 25 publishers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe who are given a free stand at the Fair and who attend a two-day seminar to learn about the Fair and the German book market as a whole.
This year’s participants included Almadia Editorial, a young press from Oaxaca that I found out about yesterday and am excited to check out in more detail when I get home. (They have a great list and beautiful production.)
I can’t think of a good parting line . . . For anyone who has never been here, the Frankfurt Book Fair is almost impossible to summarize. It’s an intense week of meetings every half-hour on the half-hour. A week of very late nights (turn early mornings) of partying and mingling and exchanging information. It’s a chance to reconnect with international colleagues and a chance to learn more about the international publishing scene in one week than most people do in a lifetime. It’s also incredibly exhausting and extremely exhilarating to be in a place where books really, truly matter to all the tens of thousands of people in attendance. And it’s also officially over.
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. . .