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.
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. . .