In this week’s podcast (Tom’s last one of of the year), we discuss the translations we did (and didn’t)1 read from 2012, including Maidenhair by Mikhail Shishkin, Satantango by Laszlo Krashnahorkai, Woes of the True Policeman by Roberto Bolano, and Necropolis by Santiago Gamboa. This kicks off the beginning of our “best of” podcasts for this year. Next week we’ll talk about music, and in the new year, Tom will be back to discuss the best movies of 2012.
As a preview for next week’s special music episode, we open this podcast with Porcelain Raft’s Drifting In and Out. A song that didn’t make my list . . .
1 Since I mentioned this a million times during the podcast, here’s the list of books I’m looking forward to reading over the next couple months:
Woes of a True Policeman, Roberto Bolano
Death Sentences, Kawamata Chiaki
Investigation, Philippe Claudel
Revenge, Yoko Ogawa
Encyclopedia of a Life in Russian, Jose Manuel Prieto
Ariadne in the Gortesque Labyrinth, Salvador Espriu
The Map and the Territory, Michel Houellebecq
Atlas, Kai-Cheung Dung
Black Flower, Young-ha Kim
LoveStar, Andri Snaer Magnason
Traveler of the Century, Andres Neuman
Mathematique:, Jacques Roubaud
Raised from the Ground, Jose Saramago
Tyrant Banderas, Ramon del Valle-Inclan
Down the Rabbit Hole, Juan Pablo Villalobos
Transit, Abdourahman Waberi
Museum of Abandoned Secrets, Oksana Zabuzhko
Blindly, Claudio Magris
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .
While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry.
Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see. . .
The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the. . .
Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days.
It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then. . .