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
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
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. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .