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
Now that the Fair has transformed from a “professionals only” gathering into Cosplay Central, I found some time to swing by the official China stand. To be honest, it was pretty much the same stand that they have every year—just much much bigger. Taking up a wall of Hall 5.0, the stand is pretty impressive, but for me, it was rather difficult to figure anything out. And by “figure out” I mean find information about publishing houses I should be paying attention to to find out about modern and contemporary Chinese fiction. Yes, this is a pretty subjective approach, I admit, I admit, but really, I’m not that interested in books about Chinese texiles or the “Three Millennia of Printing in China.” And so I didn’t investigate those offerings all that closely . . .
If you are into that textile stuff, the China booth rocks! It’s flashy, it’s oversized, it is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
But. For the rest of you literary people, what you should check out instead is Paper Republic’s “The Best Chinese Fiction You’ve Never Read,” a manageable-sized brochure featuring information about specific works by six different authors: Jia Pingwa, Han Dong, Li Er, Sheng Keyi, Leung Man-Tao, and Liu Cixin.
Paper Republic was founded a couple of years ago by a group of native English speakers (most of whom live in mainland China) dedicated to the translation of Chinese literary fiction into English, and the website features sample translations, information about Chinese authors (including those who may not exactly be favored by the government) and a blog about Chinese literature and translation.
In October of last year, Paper Republic received a grant from the Arts Council of England to support the promotion of Chinese literature abroad. It is thanks to this grant that both Nicky Harman and Eric Abrahamsen are able to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time, and able to produce “The Best Chinese Fiction You’ve Never Read.”
“We know there are hundreds of fantastic authors out there, many of whom could never hope to get an official invite to an international bookfair-they are no friends of officialdom and work hard to maintain their independence as writers. This catalog is a chance to present them and their work to a wider audience,” said Harman.
In addition to the brochures, long (like 30-page long) samples from these books will be going up on the site over the next few weeks. A pdf version of “The Best Chinese Fiction” is also available online, and hard copies can be found in the Translators Center in Hall 5.0. For more information, please contact Nicky Harman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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. . .
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. . .