Tomorrow kicks off a killer 11-day trip for me: first to NYC to pick up a rental car and three authors/transltors (Bragi Olafsson, Margaret Carson, and Sergio Chejfec) and drive them to Scranton, PA, then from there to Frankfurt, and then back in Rochester on October 11th . . . I’ll still be posting on occasion (mostly about TOC Frankfurt, and other Frankfurt goings on), but while I’m
loopy drunk exhausted, so we’ll have to see how coherent these posts are . . .
But the main point of this post is to tell you about the Pages & Places Festival taken place in Scranton, PA this Saturday. I don’t know too much about the festival itself, except to say that novelist Joanna Scott participated a few years ago and loved it, and the line-up of events looks really solid.
I’ll be there with the above named authors/translators and translator Steve Dolph to kick off the festival with a 9am panel entitled “The World on our Bookshelves: The Import of Literature in Translation.” We’ll be talking about a few books—_The Ambassador_, Sixty-Five Years of Washington, and My Two Worlds—and also about the process of translating, publishing a translation, and promoting international literature as a whole. So if anyone’s in Scranton, I hope you come by and say hi. Should be a fun panel . . .
The full list of panels can be found here. I’m particularly excited about “The Brain & Culture: How Advances in Neuroscience are Changing the Way We Imagine Ourselves,” but they all look really interesting.
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. . .