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.
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .
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. . .