A good deal of attention was paid to AmazonCrossing when they announced their first title—The King of Kahel by Nicholas Elliott—and a lot of people (self included) were interested in seeing what other sorts of books they’d be publishing in the future. I just received a copy of the galley, so I haven’t had a chance to read Elliott’s book yet, but from what I know it seems pretty literary . . .
This morning, AmazonCrossing announced the next batch of books they’ll be publishing. You can read the full press release for all the details on all the books, but here are the three that sound most interesting to me:
No Reserve: The Limit of Absolute Power by Martín Redrado and translated from the Spanish by Dan Newland
This sounds fascinating to me, but I’m a sucker for business-oriented books about the Argentine economy. (I’m not at all kidding. Scott Esposito loaned me And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out) by Paul Blustein when I was down in Buenos Aires, and I really loved it. It’s crazy/fascinating/scary what happened to the Argentine economy at the beginning of the 2000s, and an interesting lesson in the way the world economy works.) Anyway, Martin Redrado was the president of Argentina’s Central Bank from 2004 to 2010, and ended up leading a fight against financial corruption. According to the copy, “readers will be intrigued by Redrado’s explanations of emerging world markets, tenets of central banking, and how governments can cause and avoid financial crises.” Get the feeling this is one of those economics books that won’t be taught in any of the Simon Business School classes I’m taking . . .
Old Town by Lin Zhe, translated from the Chinese by George Fowler
This is currently available from Dog Ear Publishing (a self-publishing outfit) as Riddles of Belief . . . And Love: A Story, but at $23 (for a paperback), I suspect most people will wait for the AmazonCrossing version. Not a ton of specific info in the description, but it sounds, uh, sweeping: Old Town “paints an unforgettable picture of an ordinary family caught up in the maelstrom that was China’s most recent century. Praised as China’s Gone With the Wind . . .”
Field Work in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko, translated from the Ukrainian by someone . . .
This is a book that we actually considered at Dalkey way back when . . . Sounds pretty cool and somewhat controversial. According to Zabuzhko: “When you turn 30, you inevitably start reconsidering what you have been taught in your formative years—that is, if you really seek for your own voice as a writer. In my case, my personal identity crisis had coincided with the one experienced by my country after the advent of independence. The result turned explosive: Field Work in Ukrainian Sex.“
There are a few interesting things about this list. First off, Field Work is the first of three Zabuzhko books they’re planning on doing, and they’re also doing three titles by German YA author Rusalka Reh. Smart move to try and build a brand by doing a few books by certain people . . .
And the range of the list is pretty interesting. A YA book, nonfiction about Argentina’s economic situation, novel by a nineteenth-century diplomat, scandalous book with “sex” in the title, and a thriller. It’ll be interesting to see which titles catch on and what the list looks like a few years from now.
More on AmazonCrossing later . . . I’m interviewing Jeff Belle for an article for Publishing Perspectives . . . (Which is one reason why I haven’t been posting much here as of late . . . )
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .