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 . . . )
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. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .