I’m proud to announce that we have two great events lined up for this fall’s iteration of our annual Reading the World Conversation Series, which all of you should fly into Rochester to attend.
A Conversation with Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Tuesday, September 24th, 6:00pm
Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library
Publishers Weekly had this to say about Where Tigers Are at Home, the Winner of the prestigious Prix Médicis: “Blas de Roblès simultaneously channels Umberto Eco, Indiana Jones, and Jorge Amado . . . what begins as a faux metabiography turns to picaresque adventure with erotic escapades, scams, and unexpected changes of fortune.”
Come here Open Letter Books director Chad W. Post talk with Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès about his novel, about Athanasius Kircher—the bizarre, almost always wrong 17th century philosopher at the center of the book—and about Blas de Roblès’s time teaching French literature and philosophy in Brazil, China, Italy, and Taiwan.
A Conversation with Simon Fruelund
Tuesday, October 1st, 6:00pm
Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library
Simon Fruelund, the former editor at Gyldendal, Denmark’s largest publishing house, has burst onto the international literary scene with the publication of two books in English translations this year—_Milk and Other Stories_ and Civil Twilight—both of which have received great critical praise. As Alan Cheuse of NPR stated, “Fruelund is a master of the short form, importing some designs from our own Raymond Carver, applying them to the interstices of the European everyday, and making them his own. The title story is a masterpiece in miniature.”
His translator, K.E. Semmel, recipient of a Danish Arts Council grant and inveterate St. Louis Cardinals fan, will discuss Fruelund’s work with him, touching on issues of translation and trends in Nordic literature as a whole.
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. . .