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 . . . )
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. . .
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. . .