20 October 09 | Chad W. Post

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 n.harmanic@googlemail.com.


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe
Reviewed by Will Eells

Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .

Read More >

Twenty-One Cardinals
Twenty-One Cardinals by Jocelyne Saucier
Reviewed by Natalya Tausanovitch

Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .

Read More >

One of Us Is Sleeping
One of Us Is Sleeping by Josefine Klougart
Reviewed by Jeremy Garber

We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .

Read More >

Bye Bye Blondie
Bye Bye Blondie by Virginie Despentes
Reviewed by Emma Ramadan

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .

Read More >

La Superba
La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
Reviewed by Anna Alden

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. . .

Read More >

Intervenir/Intervene
Intervenir/Intervene by Dolores Dorantes; Rodrigo Flores Sánchez
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

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!. . .

Read More >

All Days Are Night
All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

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. . .

Read More >

The Seven Good Years
The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

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. . .

Read More >

Human Acts
Human Acts by Han Kang
Reviewed by J.C. Sutcliffe

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. . .

Read More >

Nowhere to Be Found
Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah
Reviewed by Pierce Alquist

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. . .

Read More >