By the final day of Frankfurt, it’s clear that most people are receiving bonus points just for making it to their meeting. I even heard about someone from Dalkey and from the Flemish Literary Fund both falling asleep for a second while talking . . .
The public being there was as disturbing as I imagined it would be, with browsers wandering through meetings, way, way too many people in line to get their bags searched, and kids of all ages treating the FBF like Comic Con and dressing up like their favorite characters.
My favorite meeting was with a Japanese agent who described the “messy” publishing scene in her country. Authors publish multiple books at almost the same time with multiple publishers, foreign rights departments are basically nonexistent, back in the day no one even had contracts, and aside from the JLPP and a Japan Foundation newsletter there’s no real info about Japanese literature making its way to the U.S. Having been on an editorial trip to Tokyo, I had a good sense of the general chaos, but when you speak about it aloud, it sounds that much more crazy . . .
Speaking of the JLPP, they produced one of the best set of materials we saw at the fair. Lithuania, Estonia, and the Catalans were right there as well. Once we get back to the States, I’ll post a lot more solid info about books, authors, foreign publishers. . . Right now, after 70 meetings and the secret Canongate party and after-party where I hung out with all the beautiful people, it’s a big enough challenge to just remember what we did yesterday . . . But seriously, check out John Freeman’s coverage. He blogged the shit out of this fair.
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. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
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. . .