Now that school is back in session (speaking of which, if there are any U of R students reading this—or friends of U of R students—we still have a couple internship openings, so e-mail me if you’re interested), we’re really getting back into the swing of things with the site. I know it was a bit quiet over the summer . . .
Anyway, next week I’m going to post an updated Translation Database (will there be more translations in 2009 than in 2008? Most pressing question for the fall, right?) and a preview of some forthcoming September translations. I also want to do a feature on American University of Cairo paperbacks that were recently released (there is no better publisher of modern and contemporary Arabic literature), and we’ll be posting reviews of Bolano’s The Skating Rink and Viel’s Beyond Suspicion sometime soon. We’ll also have a new featured independent store of the month on Tuesday . . .
This fall is also packed with publishing related trips. In early September I’m off to the Reykjavík International Literary Festival where I’ll give a presentation on ebooks and translations. (And which I promise to post here as well.)
I’ll also be moderating the European Book Club discussion of Jerzy Pilch’s The Mighty Angel on September 15th, so if
you want to come harass me you’re interested in Polish lit you should definitely sign up. (I’ll stand by this as being one of the funniest, most compelling books we’ve published to date.)
Speaking of publications, The Discoverer — the amazing follow-up to The Seducer and The Conqueror — releases in a couple weeks. I’ll post an excerpt soon. But the quickest way to get this is to subscribe. (Yes, this is some blatant Open Letter advertising. Again, end of the week, end of summer, please forgive me.) And for everyone sick of my half-sheet renewal forms, you can actually now renew online at this same page.
We’re also kicking off the next Reading the World Conversation Series season in October with a visit from Jorge Volpi, who is one of the founding members of the Crack group (“crack” as in “break” with derivative magical realism) and author of Season of Ash.
And Frankfurt—which I’ll be writing for again this year—is just over the horizon . . . As is the Best Translated Book Award . . .
Sure, it’s always a bit sad when Labor Day comes (especially sad if it can’t even mark the end of summer because of the need to get kids back into school before the calendar intended), but really, screw it. Nothing happens in the summer. All the exciting book things take place in September through November . . .
Pascal Quignard’s __The Hatred of Music_ is the densest, most arcane, most complex book I’ve read in ages. It’s also a book that covers a topic so basic, so universal—almost primordial—that just about any reader will be perversely thrilled by. . .
In Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Flaubert attempted to highlight the ordinary, tired, and often crass nature of common expressions by italicising them within the text. When Charles, Emma Bovary’s mediocre husband, expresses himself in a manner akin to that of. . .
Eliot Weinberger takes big strides across literary history in his genuinely breathtaking short work, 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, tracking translations of a short ancient Chinese poem from the publication of Ezra Pound’s Cathay in 1915 to Gary. . .
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. . .