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).
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .