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.
Originally published in French in 2007, We’re Not Here to Disappear (On n’est pas là pour disparaître) won the Prix Wepler-Fondation La Poste and the Prix Pierre Simon Ethique et Réflexion. The work has been recently translated by Béatrice Mousli. . .
Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .
Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .
For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .
Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .
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. . .