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).
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. . .