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.
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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. . .