This post originally appeared on the Frankfurt Book Fair blog. I highly recommend visiting the official blog for interesting posts from Richard Nash, Alex Hippisley-Cox, and Arun Wolf
One of the coolest books I’ve come across so far is 12 Argentine Writers volume, which is available at the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture stand (5.1 D976) where you can also learn about Buenos Aires as UN 2011 World Book Capital. This collection contains excerpts from twelve novels published in 2008, from a range of writers. From Josefina Delgado’s prologue:
“Although the writers selected are at different points in their careers—Luis Mey, Hector Balcarce, Raquel Robles, Marta Kapustin and Pablo Melicchio were all published for the first time in spite of their differences in age; Alicia Steimberg and Carlos Gorostiza have already published more than ten books; Oliverio Coelho, Paula Perez Alonso, Pedro Mairal and Jorge Accame have an established body of work; and Accame and Gorostiza have also written and published well-known theatrical works—they are united by a similar sensibility and approach towards writing: fiction is not just a story, although these writers do tell stories; it is also the language in which a story is told.”
In addition to this very substantial, very cool anthology, you should also check out the “Literary Buenos Aires” pamphlet which, in addition to information about all the important literary cafes, hotels, bookshops, etc., has “Literary Circuits” for Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, and Roberto Arlt, providing maps of where these literary giants hung out, drank coffee, and wrote awesome books.
With Argentina being the Guest of Honor next year, this is probably the first of a few posts about one of my favorite literary cultures (and countries).
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .