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
In order to better promote works of Indian literature and independent Indian presses, a number of publishers are talking about joining forces to create their own collective stand at next year’s Book Fair. Granted, this is all still in development, but Zubaan Books, DC Books, Blaft, and Kalachuvadu Publications have all agreed in principle to working together to create a large, joint display at FBF 2010.
Let me put this into a bit of perspective and explain to anyone not actually here at the Fair why this is noteworthy. If you wander through halls 5 and 6 (again, for those not here, the FBF is made up of eight large halls filled with throusands of stands) you’ll see huge displays from the “book offices” in Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Denmark, Argentina, Iceland, Macedonia, etc., etc. These national book promotions are incredibly helpful to publishers looking for some information about what’s going on in the book scene in a particular part of the world. There are usually overview guides (e.g., “48 New Writers from Poland,” “New Korean Fiction,” “10 Books from Holland and Flanders”) booklets with data on that country’s book market, lists upon lists upon lists of publishers from that country, and all kinds of other promotional material.
Well, although India was a huge success as Guest of Honor just a few short years ago, the National Book Trust stand is completely empty and covered with a white sheet. Not to salt a wound or anything like that, but the Pakistan stand right around the corner is hoppin’ . . .
So for anyone interested in finding out what’s going on in Indian lit, you have the more difficult task of having to troll the aisles and talk (or try to talk) to all the individual publishers. This possible alternative—a vibrant stand with X number of innovative, indie presses—would be a frickin’ godsend. India is booming in all ways. And it’s a market that a lot of people are interested in. To provide a bigger, more attractive, more active platform for these presses to share their knowledge and info would be spectacular.
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. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .