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 . . .
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. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .