Over the next few days, we’re going to highlight a few of the goings on at this year’s BookExpo America, the parties, the panels, etc. I thought I’d start out by highlighting the two events taking place next Friday and Saturday featuring the Arab world, this year’s Global Market Forum focus. Both of these events are open to the public, and are definitely worth checking out.
The Thousand and One Nights
7:00PM, Friday, May 29
Goethe Institute New York Wyoming Building, 5 East 3rd Street
Muhsin Al-Musawi presents his new book, Amal Al-Jubouri reads Arabic and European remixes of “The Thousand and One Nights” (English/German/Arabic) organized by the Berlin-based cultural association west-östlicher diwanh.
New Eyes on the Arab World—Breaking Down Barriers of Fear and Prejudice
7:00PM, Saturday, May 30
The New York Public Library, 42nd Street
Peter Theroux, Raja Alem, Tom McDonough, Muhammed Al Mur & Joe Sacco with Sulaiman Al Hattlan, moderator
Five writers, Arab and American, who have taken innovative approaches to portraying the Arab World to an American audience discuss the challenges they have faced and the successes they have achieved in breaking down the barriers of fear and prejudice through their work. Whether through travelogue, memoir, graphic novel, children’s literature or translation, these writers have widened the lens and sharpened the focus of American readers’ view, setting a new precedent for sensitivity, creativity and insight in literature about the Arab World.
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. . .