Yesterday afternoon, Tom and I recorded a new podcast about the February Reading the World Book Club books—On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa, and Monospace by Anne Parian, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan. Since we didn’t get that many comments or questions (which is too bad, since that’s one of the things that made the podcast with Adrian Nathan West so fun), we spent a lot of time talking about what we liked in the Chirbes, and then fumbled around trying to sound smart while talking about Monospace. This should be up in the next couple days so that you can laugh at us . . .
We also previewed the March titles a bit, which led to a major complication . . . the poetry book that I had previously announced has been delayed, which is problematic. So, instead, what we thought we’d do is slot in Rocío Cerón’s Diorama, which won the 2015 Best Translated Book Award and is translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong and is readily available from Phoneme Media in a bilingual edition.
Diorama will join Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, which will serve as this month’s work of fiction. The Vegetarian is translated from the Korean by Deborah Smith and available from Crown in the U.S., Portobello in the UK.
I’m working up introductory posts about both of these books, and will have those up by Thursday, but in the meantime, feel free to post your thoughts or comments below, using #RTWBC on Twitter, or at the Facebook Group.
Later this week, I’ll also post an update with info on RTWBC books for April, May, and June, so that participants can plan ahead.
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. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
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. . .