20 October 09 | Chad W. Post

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.


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
The Indian
The Indian by Jón Gnarr
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .

Read More >

Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories
Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .

Read More >

Tristana
Tristana by Benito Pérez Galdós
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

The prolific Spanish author Benito Pérez Galdós wrote his short novel, Tristana, during the closing years of the nineteenth century, a time when very few options were available to women of limited financial means who did not want a husband.. . .

Read More >

The History of Silence
The History of Silence by Pedro Zarraluki
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .

Read More >

Flesh-Coloured Dominoes
Flesh-Coloured Dominoes by Zigmunds Skujiņš
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .

Read More >

Iraqi Nights
Iraqi Nights by Dunya Mikhail
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .

Read More >

Three-Light Years
Three-Light Years by Andrea Canobbio
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .

Read More >

The Little Horse
The Little Horse by Thorvald Steen
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

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. . .

Read More >

Guys Like Me
Guys Like Me by Dominique Fabre
Reviewed by Peter Biello

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. . .

Read More >

Birth of a Bridge
Birth of a Bridge by Maylis de Kerangal
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

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. . .

Read More >