This month the Guardian World Literature Tour focuses on Ireland. Here’s their summary of how the tour works:
And, as it’s been a while since the tour last stopped by, here’s a quick reminder of how it works. It goes like this: every few weeks we post asking for suggestions of the best books and authors from a particular country, as well as nominations for the country we should visit next. Ideally we’d like fiction written by native authors which is available in translation (or which you think ought to be) – but nominations of books set in the country in question that provide a flavour of the place, or good history or travel books, are also welcome.
It’s an interesting forum to learn about new authors and books from various countries, and can get quite lively. (For instance, in one day there are already 107 comments on Irish lit . . .)
This is actually the second incarnation of the World Tour, info on the first (which included “stops” in Iceland, Brazil, Japan, Turkey, Canada, Czech Republic, Poland, and Finland) can be found here. Info on the “newly relaunched” version is available here and includes New Zealand and Nigeria.
Sure, some of the forums get bogged down in talking about the famous writers/books we all already know, but still, this is a cool thing for a paper to do. Another reason why The Guardian outshines all American papers . . .
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. . .