There’s a lot to say about the fair, and about it’s impact on international publishing, and I’ll try and do more of this over the next couple weeks, but for now, I want to point out that it’s absolutely true that the Hof is the nerve center of the FBF nightlife, and if you’re going to be in the “in-crowd” you have to be there mingling, sipping a drink, chatting, all night. Four hours sleep becomes a luxury.
But it was by hanging out there that E.J. and I randomly met the agent for a South African novelist we’re interested in (until that moment we had no idea who represented this author), and it is the place that info from meetings gets amplified, connections are made, books are discussed, and so on.
John Freeman—my new blog idol for the amazing work he did covering the fair—has a nice post about this scene, and a great urban publishing legend:
According to a friend, a dutch publisher coming home in a blackout once made the mistake of giving his business card to the taxi driver, not the card for his hotel. He woke up 8 hours later in Amsterdam with a rather large bill. He then got on a plane and flew back to Frankfurt and went right on with his fair.
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. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
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Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .
“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .
What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .