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 email@example.com.
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. . .