A new month and a new Reading the World Podcast, this time with Suzanne Jill Levine, famed translator (of Three Trapped Tigers, of Heartbreak Tango, of dozens of other wonderful books) and author of the very influential The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction.
We recorded this back at MLA in December (in a bitterly cold Philadelphia—which seems WEIRD given the fact that it’s frickin’ 70+ degrees in CNY right now), where the focus was translation and Jill talked a lot about the then forthcoming Borges series that she had edited for Penguin Classics. (With the help of the very cool John Siciliano.)
Anyway, the first two volumes of the Borges series are now available: Poems of the Night and The Sonnets. And galleys for the last three books—On Mysticism, On Writing, and On Argentina—recently arrived in the mail. I’m planning on reviewing these three, starting with “Mysticism,” which has been on my mind a lot of late. (Aided by my recent PKD bender. And obsession with Lost)
We talk a bit about this special Borges series during the podcast, but for more info, check my post from this past December.
Double admission: I rarely, if ever, listen to anything I’m involved in, or read anything written about me. But I just listened to this, and holy shit, it’s even more incredible than I imagined possible. (And I don’t sound like a complete ass! Sweet!)
So, please, please listen, let me know what you think, and if you can, subscribe on iTunes and give us a review. (This link goes directly to the iTunes RTW Podcast page.) And pass this along to any and everyone you know. We really want to spread the word about these before starting the second (and third) rounds of taping . . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
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. . .