In one of my Frankfurt posts I mentioned the 30 Great Authors from Argentina (warning—pdf file) “brochure” that the Fundacion TyPA put together to help promote writers who had yet to be translated out of Spanish.
It’s hard to describe this elegant, unique brochure (more like oversized trading cards in a box than a printed brochure), but some (poor quality) pictures might help:
It’s really cool that TyPA decided to feature only authors who hadn’t been translated. Sure that leaves out some great contemporary writers (in the intro they mention Cesar Aira, Martin Kohan, and Alan Pauls), but brings attention to authors most editors otherwise wouldn’t hear about, such as Eduardo Muslip, Oliverio Coelho, and Carlos Gamerro. (Descriptions of their novels can be found in the pdf version of the brochures.)
There were three books that really caught my eye:
The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni (Interzona, 2007): “In this book—one of the most complex and challenging texts of Argentine literature in recent years—the Borgesian themes of erudition, tradition, and consecraton are sent through the shredding machine. The result is a ‘novel’ made up of diaries, notes, forgetfulness, articles, and poems created by writers invented by the author.”
Apex by Gustavo Ferreyra (Sudamericana, 2004): “The city—Buenos Aires—emerges slowly in this novel, and it is the city we deserve, the novel-city of the present. Action and geography seem to walk together and, sometimes, join efforts to keep the characters of the story apart, missing each other in the places where they should have met. And the other way around. In this way, we—the readers—can discover details that a more general view would never show us. Up close, Apex seems to say, every act is a criminal act; up close, every fictional character is a monster.”
Neon by Liliana Heer (Paradiso, 2007): “Neon, a wonderful example of this century’s expressionism, invites the reader to delve into the fundamentals of power. In this novel three characters recreate humanity in Kafka’s style. Evil is shown from different points of view, in relation with an inheritance, with repression, with racial prejudices, and with some humorous lines that balance on the edge between madness and reason, justice and injustice, man and animal. And above all towers an erotic scene that is the leitmotiv of the whole story . . .”
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .
Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .
“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .
What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .