This week’s podcast is a special Eurovision edition featuring resident Eurovision expert, Kaija Straumanis. We go through a bunch of the videos/songs participating in this year’s competition and make fun of almost everything while also trying to come to understand why Eurovision is so compelling in its bizarreness. To follow along with our comments, I highly recommend watching the videos below as you listen to the podcast—it will greatly enhance your listening experience.
And for more info on what Eurovision is and how it works, check out the posts by our other resident Eurovision expert Janis Stirna.
Opening music: “Running Scared” by Ell/Nikki (Azerbaijan)
“Woki Mit Deim Popo” by Trackshittaz (Austria)
“Love Will Set You Free” by Engelbert Humperdinck (United Kingdom)
“Party for Everybody” by Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia)
“Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Max Jason Mai (Slovakia)
“The Social Network Song” by Valentina Monetta (San Marino)
“Euphoria” by Loreen (Sweden)
“I’m a Joker” by Anri Jokhadze (Georgia)
“You and Me” by Joan (The Netherlands)
“Lăutar” by Pasha Parfeny
“Be My Guest” by Gaitana
Outro Music: “Beautiful Song” by Anmary
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. . .
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
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. . .