Because it snowed today in Rochester, I’m going to post again about the Guadalajara Book Fair. Mainly, I want to apologize for doing crap research before linking to Hermano Cerdo’s coverage of the fair . . . Their coverage is excellent, and Hermano Cerdo deserves tons of traffic, but there are some others also writing about the Fair—even in English! (Helps that the Guest of Honor this year is Los Angeles.)
I travel on Saturday to Guadalajara, where the big International Book Fair opens with a special guest of honor this year, the city of Los Angeles. From the fair’s official site:
“A natural bridge between Mexican and American culture, Los Angeles is also a city that has been able to acquire a unique identity relating to cultural production, the trademark that distinguishes its delegation, comprised of around 50 authors, 20 academics, 14 artists and theater companies. The program also includes 7 visual arts exhibitions and a film series presenting classic and contemporary films designed to showcase the diverse perspectives on its urban landscape, its culture and people.”
True enough, there’s going to be so much going on I won’t know where to begin.
Both “Phantom Sightings” and “Vexing” are on view at Guadalajara museums. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be in town, and so will L.A. Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold, and the Zócalo crew. One panel will have Gregory Rodriguez moderating the question of how Mexican Americans see Mexico.
The Jalisco edition of La Jornada breaks down the Encuentro Chicano, an ambitious two-day program that focuses on Mexican American arts and letters, organized by the Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades at the University of Guadalajara. I am excited to be moderating a panel with Luis Rodriguez, Maria Amparo Escandon, Jose Luis Valenzuela, and Ruben Martinez. Come check it out if you’re in town.
And one of our all time favorite blogs is Monica Carter’s Salonica World Lit where she too is covering the book fair and finding some interesting publishers:
Because I am focused on broadening the inventory for the bookstore that I work at, Skylight Books, I was drawn to many of the Mexican and Latin American publishers. My new favorite is Almadia which is a little press that started in 2005 in the Oaxaca city. Great covers and great authors. I spoke briefly with one of their directors today and they are not yet distributed in the United States. But he said possibly next year. They have great authors including Francisco Hinojosa, Jorge Volpi and Camille de Toledo. Also deserving of some attention is Tumbona Ediciones with their nostalgic, retro pin-up style website with a twist of sexy, who puts out a cool series call Versus, which are essays from well-known writers against pretty much any form of ideology. Jonathan Lethem takes on originality and Laura Kipnis takes on love. I became completely enamored with Sexto Piso for their graphic novel version of Proust’s Swann’s Way.
Prose translators will likely disagree, but I believe translating poetry requires a significant level of talent, a commitment to the text, and near mania, all of which suggests that the undertaking is the greatest possible challenge. The task is to. . .
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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!. . .
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. . .