15 April 08 | Chad W. Post

I’m not sure if this is accurate or not, but a reader just alerted us to the new Dalkey Archive website pointing out that the “blog” is called the CONTEXT Blog, possibly signaling the end of CONTEXT magazine. This may just be speculation on their part, though it is true that the last issue of which came out sometime early last year . . .

There’s no real explanation in the “posts,” although there is a cryptic mention of “plans for something a bit more involved in the future” so maybe this “blog” will evolve into something as rich and rewarding as CONTEXT once was. (I just noticed that the last issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction is from last summer, but in that case I know that a special issue on “New Catalan Fiction” should be out this month—there’s an event at the PEN World Voices celebrating it—so at least one of the critical publications Dalkey does is still coming out.)

I feel like Dalkey has put me in a funny position though . . . We’re often pretty critical of websites and digital book initiatives that are misguided or all messed-up (see E.J.‘s post about Zinio for instance. (And people usually think I’m the fierce and mean one . . . ) and this site is a mess of the highest order. As a former Dalkey employee though, I respect what the press publishes and hate seeming overly critical of it.

Nevertheless, this is such a poor showing of a redesign that in the issue of fairness, I have to point out a few critical issues.

First off, the positives: the shopping cart is very nice. And incorporating Google Books into the site is useful and pretty slick.

Negatives? The fact that you can’t search the site is a bit dismaying (that really is a pretty essential item, especially with all the author interviews online) and the fact that all linked text is black (and therefore indistinguishable from the rest of the text) is, uh, unforgivable. The “blog” should have a space for comments. On a more technical note, this site is laid out in tables. Seriously. Hello 1996, meet Dalkey Archive. Dalkey Archive, welcome to 1996.

At least there are still really good books coming out, although it’s unfortunate that the spring list is hidden in the news section and consists of 10 works of fiction/literature and 5 “Scholarly Series” books. (In the past the Scholarly titles were often subvented by the author and are mostly academic books that don’t generally appeal to a broad audience.)

The books I’m most excited about are: Knowledge of Hell by Antonio Lobo Antunes (which we just reviewed), I’d Like by Amanda Michalopoulou (which I wrote the NEA grant for, but haven’t read), Diary of a Blood Donor by Mati Unt (who also wrote Things in the Night) and the reprint of Monsieur by Jean-Philippe Toussaint (which is no Bathroom but is very good). Not so sure about the Nicholas Delbanco book, which, with its hardcover and paperback editions, may be subvented. (Could be wrong though—this just jumps out at me.)

Overall, a decent spring list, but totally mediocre website.


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 >