The latest addition to our Reviews Section is a piece by Kaija Straumanis on Jules Verne’s The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz, which came out earlier this year from the University of Nebraska Press in Peter Schulman’s translation.
Kaija is an about-to-graduate MA student in Literary Translation here at the University of Rochester. For her thesis she’s been translating Inga Abele’s High Tide from the Latvian—a book we’ll be featuring here on Three Percent in the not-too-distant future when Kaija and I do a special podcast about Latvian literature, Harlequin romance novels, and other things both appropriate and in-.
Since Kaija sort of explains Verne in the opening part of her review, I’m going to abandon the typical format and just go straight into that:
Jules Verne was a French master of fictional works portraying the fantastical that were primarily geared toward young readers, literary escapists/adventure seekers, and adults who want to experience a taste of their childhoods. Three of his best-known works are probably Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues under the Seas, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which, respectively, go a little something like this:
1. A man, for some reason or other, decides he can make it around the world in 80 days.
2. A man, for some reason or other, decides to travel to the center of the earth.
3. A man, for some reason or other, spends his time in his fish-shaped submarine taking out the bad guys.
To read the full review, click here.
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
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“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
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In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .