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.
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. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
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. . .