With Argentina as Guest of Honor at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, there’s bound to be a ton of articles coming out about its publishing scene. And based on my obsession with Argentine literature, we’re bound to feature as many as possible. (We’ll also try to do something special to highlight a number of classic and contemporary Argentine writers. But more on that later.)
This weekend, the Buenos Aires Herald ran a piece about an interesting program highlighting Argentina’s vibrant indie publishing scene:
In Buenos Aires, until next Sunday, indie publisher association Alianza de Editores Independientes de la Argentina (EDINAR) presents a Hot List with what’s hot in the indie literature world. EDINAR, which comprises 30 publishing houses, was created in 2005 in order to defend diversity in the publishing environment. This time, 20 publishers chose one book each from their catalogues to be part of a Hot List, available and prominently displayed at different bookstores – these are not their best sellers, but the books that they feel deserve more of the spotlight than they’re currently getting. The Hot List comprises a great variety of genres such as novels, short stories books, poetry, and essays.
Info on all 20 books can be found in the article itself, but here are a few of the more interesting titles included in the program:
Ediciones Corregidor preferred Poemas (Poems) by Macedonio Fernández because “this author’s writing show that he was an intellectual with a vivid code of ethics, and who was also able to think of the most original literary strategies.” The book comprises unpublished poems, since Fernández never published a book of poems while he was alive. Born in Argentina in 1852, Macedonio Fernández was a writer, humourist, and philosopher. His writings include novels, stories, poetry and journalistic features.
Macedonio was Jorge Luis Borges’s most important Argentine mentor and influence, and remains a cult author to this day. [. . .]
Marea selected the book Cuba libre: Vivir y escribir en La Habana by Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez. The book deals with a generation of authors who were born in Cuba during the 70s and 80s and have to stick to an ideology they don’t sympathize with. Yoani Sánchez was chosen by Time magazine as an author among the top 100 more influential people of the world, and has famously run afoul of the island’s government for the criticism of the Cuban regime in her blog Generación Y.
Mate publisher went for Ricardo Piglia this time. They chose the essay book Teoría del Complot, with theories about Argentine society. Born in 1941 in Adrogué and raised in Mar del Plata, Piglia is one of the foremost contemporary Argentine writers, known equally for his fiction and his literary criticism. [. . .]
Eterna Cadencia picked La Virgen Cabeza by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara. Set in a shanty in Buenos Aires, the novel tells the story of Sister Cleopatra, a transvestite who allegedly communicates with the Virgin Mary. Gabriela Cabezón was born in Buenos Aires province in 1968. Her novel deals with marginality and violence as well as with love and humour, and participated in this year’s crime fiction festival Semana Negra de Gijón, in Spain.
(Via the Literary Salon)
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. . .