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.
“I preferred the war to the plague,” writes Curzio Malaparte in his 1949 novel, The Skin. He speaks of World War II and the destruction it has wrought on Italy, the city of Naples in particular. But the plague he. . .
With the steady rise of feminist scholarship and criticism in recent decades, it is little wonder that the work of Louise Labé should be attracting, as Richard Sieburth tells us in the Afterword to his translation, a “wide and thriving”. . .
In Conversations, we find ourselves again in the protagonist’s conscious and subconscious, which is mostly likely that of Mr. César Aira and consistent with prototypical Aira style. This style never fails because each time Aira is able to develop a. . .
You are not ashamed of what you do, but of what they see you do. Without realizing it, life can be an accumulation of secrets that permeates every last minute of our routine . . .
The narrative history of. . .
Literature in translation often comes with a certain pedigree. In this little corner of the world, with so few books making it into this comforting nook, it is often those of the highest quality that cross through, and attention is. . .
Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn is a set of two loosely interlinked novellas that play with narrative and the construction of character. Ably translated by Ann Goldstein, Mr. Gwyn plays some subtle metafictional games as Baricco delves into what it means. . .
I must admit upfront that I went into reading Saadat Hasan Manto’s Bombay Stories almost entirely blind. I have not read Salman Rushdie. I have read, perhaps, two short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I might shamefully add that I really. . .
Throughout his work The Gray Notebook, Josep Pla mentions many different authors, some of whom have inspired him to pick up a pen. One of them is Marcel Proust. Even though Pla normally prefers nonfiction, he lauds the French novelist. . .
On that September 11th I had a conversation with a professor friend who was teaching a creative writing class that evening. He questioned, “What can I possibly teach when all of this has happened?” While the dismay and grief were. . .
In a story of two emotionally distant people, Japanese author Takashi Hiraide expertly evokes powerful feelings of love, loss, and friendship in his novel The Guest Cat. The life of the unnamed narrator and his wife, both writers, is calm. . .