10 February 11 | Chad W. Post

I’ll post about this again as the time grows closer, but I wanted to announce that on Monday, May 2nd, Herve Le Tellier, Amelie Nothomb, and Carsten Jensen will be here in Rochester for our annual PEN World Voices event. For this year’s event, we’ve partnered with the admirable Writers & Books who will both host and help promote the events.

I’m particularly excited about this, since I’ve heard nothing but great things about Carsten Jensen (see this WSJ review), Amelie Nothomb’s latest is on the BTBA fiction longlist, and Herve Le Tellier is an author I’m very excited to start reading.

Last time we posted about Herve Le Tellier it was in reaction to the high prices of a couple of his books. To update this: Yesterday a fellow Dalkey-fan pointed out that both of Le Tellier’s Dalkey titles (A Thousand Pearls (For a Thousand Pennies) and The Sextine Chapel, both translated by Ian Monk) are now listed at $14.95.

Which is absolutely fantastic, since Le Tellier sounds like an amazing writer of the Harry Mathews variety, see this description of The Sextine Chapel (emphasis on the “sex” in “sextine”):

The delightful and daring entertainment by French author Hervé Le Tellier is a series of short, intimately interconnected stories making up a lively user’s manual to pleasure, relating the various liaisons of couples from Anna and Ben to Yolande and Zach (taking in Chloe and Xavier along the way, as well as twenty others, as you may have guessed), until the crisscrossing of their lives and partners makes up a pattern as intricate as the fresco on the ceiling of a chapel . . . Harkening back to another playful book on an intimate subject— Harry Mathews’s Singular Pleasures1—Hervé Le Tellier’s The Sextine Chapel celebrates the wonderful, often random, often excruciating possibilities of sexual intimacy, with something here for just about everyone—and their wife, husband, lover, or passing fancy.

Unfortunately, these two titles aren’t available until the summer, but Other Press recently released to Le Tellier books: Enough about Love and The Intervention of a Good Man

Going back to the Mathews comparison, if The Sextine Chapel is like Singular Pleasures, Enough about Love brings to mind (without having read it) Mathews’s Cigarettes. (Which is one of the greatest books ever written.) Full review forthcoming . . .

The Intervention of a Good Man happens to be the first ebook I’ve ever purchased and plan on reading. It’s a 50 page novella that’s only available as an ebook—and only costs $0.99. Bit of an experiment on Other Press’s part (I don’t think they’ve done anything quite like this before), and will hopefully expose Le Tellier to a wider range of readers . . .

With four books coming out in the next twelve months, it seems reasonably possible that we’ll be talking about Le Tellier next year at this time in relation to the 2012 BTBA . . .

1 For years, I’ve believed that Singular Pleasures—a book of short pieces all about masturbation—was the perfect Valentine’s Day book.


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