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).
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. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .