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
While I’m crushing on India, I thought I’d take a post to introduce Blaft, a very young, very hip, very successful Indian press that’s worth checking out. I mean, putting aside their books (whicha are pretty wild), their logo is a purple alien. How awesome is that? And how awesome is it that they have stuffed, squeaky versions of this purple alien at their booth? And semi-racy bookmarks that say “Reading is Sexy”? . . . This really is a press after my heart.
Anyway, about that whole book thing: the first title that Blaft did was an anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction. Originally conceived of a one-off, the book was a wild sucess, attracting other books, and eventually convincing the husband-wife couple behind this—Rakesh Khanna and Rashmi Ruth Devadasan—and their friend—Kaveri Lalchand—to become publishers. Up till that point none of them had any experience in publishing, so the whole experience has been quite an adventure.
In addition to more pulp fiction-y titles, Blaft is also doing some literary fiction—Charu Nivedita’s Zero Degree is a very experimental, daring book—graphic novels, and even a “pictoral survey of typography and design found on signboards, taxis, buildings, tiffin dabbas, and in other public spaces of Bombay.”
I don’t think I’ve met anyone else here at the fair with as much energy and enthusiasm for publishing. Blaft is here as part of the “Invitation Program,” which helps small, independent presses from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe to attend the fair, make connections, and display their works. This section of Hall 5.0 is one of the most fun to visit, and great for finding about about books and presses that generally don’t get a lot of attention.
And in terms of Blaft, they will be giving a public presentation about their program on Sunday morning at 10:30am in Hall 6.0 E905.
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
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?),. . .