19 January 09 | Chad W. Post

Long term readers of this blog already know that in addition to international literature, another thing we’re very passionate about is the TV show Lost. (Which should come as no surprise—_Lost_ is the best, and most literary, show on network TV. Any show that puts together a special promo video to talk about how a character will be reading James Joyce’s Ulysses this season totally gets my love.)

With the season 5 premiere only a couple of days away, the New York Times put together a special article about Gregg Nations, the man who puts together “show bible” for Lost:

Enter Mr. Nations, who has now compiled an archive that, were he ever to print it out, might — as he put it in an interview at the Lost production offices on Disney’s Burbank studio lot — give War and Peace a run for its money.

Just how long the entire document is he does not know; he has never printed it out in full, in part because he and his secretive bosses do not want copies falling into the wrong hands. But he has multiple electronic copies, which he keeps in undisclosed locations.

In addition to charting story arcs and tracking characters, Mr. Nations has noted each character’s sojourns on and off the island, mapped the research stations established by the mysterious Dharma Initiative and recorded the appearances and disappearances of polar bears, Smoke Monsters and an unhealthy array of guns.

After the show is over, it would be awesome if someone published this “bible.” Lost is a bit complicated, and for anyone wanting to analyze or write about the show, something like this would be invaluable. . . .

Somewhat full disclosure: I met Gregg a number of years ago when The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien was on the show. We’ve kept in touch ever since, and for a while, did a special Lost radio segment every week on a Top 40 radio station in Normal, IL. (It was kind of like the international literature bits on our local morning news program. Obviously Lost is much more popular than translation, but the way Gregg talks about the show, and drops cryptic hints, was a cut above the morning show norm.)

Although it’s not specifically mentioned in this article, in writing the “Eggtown” episode for last season, he managed to include both Philip K. Dick’s Valis, and Adolfo Bioy Casares’s The Invention of Morel, two perfect “Lost Books.” One of which is a work in translation by one of Argentina’s greatest authors, thus tying this post back into our primary mission. . . . But seriously, it’s cool how pro-literature this show is, and the impact that Lost has had on getting people to read interesting cult (or not-so-cult) books is not to be underestimated. Hell, we sold 15,000 copies of The Third Policeman in the few weeks after it appeared on the show. (And mind you, it was only on screen for like half a second.)


Comments are disabled for this article.
....
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >

Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo
A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero
Reviewed by Emilee Brecht

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only. . .

Read More >

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof
The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof by Cesar Aira
Reviewed by Will Eells

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a. . .

Read More >

Agnes
Agnes by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Dorian Stuber

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >