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24 July 2017 - Monday

Tom Stoppard profile | The Hole review

       Tom Stoppard profile

       In Prospect Andrew Dickson considers Tom Stoppard's heartfelt high jinks.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       The Hole review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pyun Hye-Young's The Hole, just out in English from Arcade.

       The story out of which this novel developed, Caring for Plants, was recently published in The New Yorker -- usually a big springboard for a writer. So will Pyun be the next hot writer from South Korea, along with Han Kang (The Vegetarian, etc.), Bae Suah (Nowhere to Be Found, etc.), and Shin Kyung-Sook (Please Look After Mom, etc.) ?
       Interestingly, when Dalkey Archive Press recently published her collection of stories, Evening Proposal, in their Library of Korean Literature-series, they did so writing her name Korean style (family name first) 'Pyun Hye Young' -- see their publicity page --, while Arcade has published this novel Western-style as by: 'Hye-Young Pyun' -- the increasingly popular style among commercial publishers of Korean fiction. It'll be interesting to see how confusing that is for US/UK book-buyers -- I figure most would find a switch to (Western-style) 'Kang Han' very disorienting at this point .....
       As it stands now, US/UK publishers almost always publish Japanese names Western-style (e.g. 'Haruki Murakami'), seem about evenly split with Korean ones, and practically never do it with Chinese names (The Three-Body Problem-author Liu Cixin is the very rare exception) -- a strange and confusing inconsistency.
       (House style at the complete review has it: however the name is published domestically is how it's written here, regardless of what's on the US/UK cover -- hence also 'Murakami Haruki' and 'Kertész Imre'.)

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

23 July 2017 - Sunday

'Most Iconic Books Set in 150 Countries'

       'Most Iconic Books Set in 150 Countries'

       This has been making the rounds in recent days, and the 'infographic' at Global English Editing, The Most Iconic Books Set in 150 Countries Around the World, is closer to hit than miss than most of these kinds of exercises.
       'Set in' doesn't necessarily mean 'from', so some of these aren't local; a bit of non figures in along with the fiction: there are some very strange choices (Beowulf is the best they could come up with for Denmark ? The Bridge Over the River Kwai for Thailand ?); and quite a few countries are ignored (including a whole swathe of Africa, from Mauritania to Niger, Eritrea, and Djibouti (come on, Abdourahman A. Waberi's Transit is surely the obvious choice)). Still, you could -- and generally do, with these sort of internet list -- do a lot worse.

       (Of course, there's always my The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction to refer to, if you really want to be covered; get your copy at or

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

22 July 2017 - Saturday

Zubaan Books profile

       Zubaan Books profile

       They recently announced that this year's Goethe Medals would go to Emily Nasrallah, Irina Shcherbakova, and Zubaan-publisher Urvashi Butalia.
       At Urvashi Bahuguna has a Q & A with the publisher, in which she explains What winning the Goethe Medal means for feminist publisher Urvashi Butalia.
       Zubaan Books are reasonably readily available in the US, distributed by the University of Chicago Press.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

21 July 2017 - Friday

Children's literature in ... Tamil | Aslı Erdoğan Q & A
Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation
The Adventures of John Blake review

       Children's literature in ... Tamil

       In The Hindu Suganthy Krishnamachari wonders Whither children's literature in Tamil ? -- as apparently the 'dull present' can't compare with a 'happy past' .....

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       Aslı Erdoğan Q & A

       At Deutsche Welle Ceyda Nurtsch has a Q & A with one of the many writers jailed in the recent government crackdown, The City in Crimson Cloak-author Aslı Erdoğan.
       Now free, she notes: "my soul is still in prison".

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       Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation

       As every literary prize should -- so that you know what titles are actually being considered/in the running, the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation admirably lists all the entries for each year's prize -- so also now this year.
       Disappointingly, only one of these titles is under review at the complete review -- The Queue by Basma Abdel Aziz, translated by Elisabeth Jaquette.
       A shortlist will be announced in December, and the winner will be announced mid-January 2018.

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       The Adventures of John Blake review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Philip Pullman's first foray into 'graphic' (novel) fiction, with illustrator Fred Fordham, The Adventures of John Blake: Mystery of the Ghost Ship.

       This was reviewed -- enthusiastically -- in The New York Times Book Review and even the Times Literary Supplement. I was less impressed .....

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20 July 2017 - Thursday

Japanese literary prizes | Remains of Life review

       Japanese literary prizes

       They've handed out the Akutagawa and Naoki prizes again, as they do every six months, and, as Daisuke Kikuchi reports in The Japan Times, First-time writer awarded prestigious Akutagawa Prize.
       That's Numata Shinsuke [沼田真佑], who won the Akutagawa Prize for his novel 'Eiri,' [影裏].
       Satō Shōgo [佐藤正午] won the Naoki Prize for his novel, 'Tsuki no Michikake' [月の満ち欠け] ('The Waxing and Waning of the Moon').
       As a debut author, it's not surprising that Numata is unknown in English; Satō, on the other hand, has been a prolific and successful author -- but is as yet untranslated into English. See also the Books from Japan page on Satō, which also introduces two of his (other) titles.

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       Remains of Life review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Taiwanese author Wu He's Remains of Life, recently out in English from Columbia University Press.
       It's a significant text; as translator Michael Berry notes in his Introduction: "Upon its publication in Taiwan, the novel won virtually every major national literary award".

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19 July 2017 - Wednesday

New Asymptote | Man Booker International Prize judging panel

       New Asymptote

       The July issue of Asymptote is now available online and, as usual, there's a lot here to keep you busy for the next few days -- "never-before-published writing from 27 countries and 21 languages in one issue".
       Impressive, top (Karin Boye !) to bottom -- definitely recommended.

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       Man Booker International Prize judging panel

       Yes, Judges announced for the 2018 Man Booker International Prize, with Lisa Appignanesi chairing, and Michael Hofmann, Hari Kunzru, Tim Martin, and Helen Oyeyemi making up the rest of the judging panel.
       The longlist will be announced in March 2018, the shortlist in April, the winner in May. (That's as specific as they've gotten so far.)

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

18 July 2017 - Tuesday

Online reading in ... China | HBKU Press profile

       Online reading in ... China

       Forbes takes a look at the Chinese online-writing phenomenon -- big business, as I've noted --, with Jinshan Hong finding that: China's Online Reading Craze Is So Big It's Challenging Amazon's Kindle.
       As one reader explains:
When reading on Kindle, you are facing a single terminal; when reading Chinese online novels, you are engaging with a community.
       And interesting to see how highly some regard the phenomenon, and its potential abroad:
America has Hollywood; Japan has animation; Korea has TV drama. In the future, China will have online literature.

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       HBKU Press profile

       What started in 2010 as the Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation is now HBKU Press, and in The Peninsula they have a brief profile, describing how HBKU Press translation works reach wider circles (with as much focus on the translations into as out of Arabic).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

17 July 2017 - Monday

Anne Golon (1921-2017) | Spring Garden review

       Anne Golon (1921-2017)

       Anne Golon, the French author of the immensely popular Angélique-series -- reportedly selling over 150 million copies worldwide -- has passed away; see, for example, the report in Le Figaro.
       The series never seemed to achieve quite the same popularity in English as it did elsewhere -- perhaps because the books, with which her husband Serge helped her with the research, were bizarrely ascribed to 'Sergeanne Golon'. As explained in an article in Le Monde a few years ago:
Mais lorsque le premier tome d'Angélique, marquise des Anges sort, en 1957, il semble impensable que le nom d'une femme apparaisse seul en couverture. L'éditeur américain propose alors une étrange solution, signer les romans «Sergeanne Golon». «On m'a expliqué que le nom d'un homme ferait plus sérieux. Les journalistes ne pouvaient pas croire qu'une femme puisse être un auteur.»
       But in France (and elsewhere) most everything soon came out as by 'Anne Golon' -- except in English, where 'Sergeanne' remained popular ..... Get your copy of the first volume at or

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       Spring Garden review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Shibasaki Tomoka's 2014 Akutagawa Prize-winning novel, Spring Garden, out in the UK from Pushkin Press and due out in the US in November.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

16 July 2017 - Sunday

Ranking Austens | Like a Fading Shadow review

       Ranking Austens

       In The Guardian they get quite a selection of authors -- including Margaret Drabble, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, and Joyce Carol Oates -- to opine on Which is the greatest Jane Austen novel ?
       Conveniently, there's no consensus .....

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       Like a Fading Shadow review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Antonio Muñoz Molina's Like a Fading Shadow, coming out this week in the US from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and later this year in the UK.

       This is yet another work of fiction which closely follows historical events -- Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassin, James Earl Ray, on the run, in this case (with bonus points for Adolfo Bioy Casares and Juan Carlos Onetti cameos (yeah, not in the Ray sections ...)) -- and much as I enjoy adding to the Real People in Works of Fiction-index, I am tiring some of all this (semi-)historical fiction (but it's hard to get away from -- pretty much every other book I pick up seems to involve some ...).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

15 July 2017 - Saturday

Hawthornden prize | Handke drawings

       Hawthornden prize

       They've announced that this year's winner of the Hawthornden prize is Mothering Sunday, by Graham Swift.
       The Hawthornden prize is among England's oldest, and has an impressive list of very varied winning titles -- among those under review at the complete review are: David Jones' In Parenthesis (1938), Geoffrey Hill's King Log (1969), and Hilary Mantel's An Experiment in Love (1996). It is also rather low-publicity, without an official site -- and not much internet-notice -- to the extent that The Guardian's report on this year's prize, by one of the five judges, Hermione Lee, is headlined: Graham Swift’s Mothering Sunday wins fiction’s most secretive prize.

       The only Swift title under review at the complete review is The Light of Day, but get your copy of Mothering Sunday at or

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Handke drawings

       Like many writers, Peter Handke also has an illustrative itch, and there's an exhibit of his collected drawings, 2007-2017, on now in Berlin, at the Galerie Klaus Gerrit Friese -- with images available on that page.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

14 July 2017 - Friday

China's 'most valuable literature IPs'
Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award
Stories from North Korea (?)

       China's 'most valuable literature IPs'

       The Hurun Report has released their list of Mopian Hurun Most Valuable Creative Works IP 2017, "ranking the 'Harry Potters' of China, the 100 creative works with the most valuable franchises"; see also the fuller Chinese press release.
       Summing up in the Global Times, Huang Tingting finds Hurun's list of most valuable literature IPs reflects growing power of online works -- as:
The top 10 online literature writers in China have created franchises worth a staggering 1 billion yuan ($150 million) each,
       As I've frequently noted: an area that really should get more attention (and press coverage ...).

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       Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award

       The Dayton Literary Peace Prizes are a book award that honors books that: "that have led readers to a better understanding of other cultures, peoples, religions, and political points of view", and aside from honoring a work of fiction and one of non each year, they also award a 'Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award', an author-award that, they've announced, this year will go to Colm Toíbín.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Stories from North Korea (?)

       I reviewed Bandi's The Accusation earlier this year and, unsurprisingly, the story-around-the-stories has continued to attract interest, with Mythili G. Rao now writing about A Collection of North Korean Stories and the Mystery of Their Origins at The New Yorker's Page-Turner weblog.
       Some interesting background about the publishing process -- and some doubters, such as Barbara Demick:
"If I were to put my money on it, I would say the story is not exactly what it seems," she said. "It doesn't mean it's completely forgery," she added. Perhaps, she speculated, the stories could be the work of a defector -- in her experience, most North Koreans have trouble recognizing the regime's internal contradictions until they've spent a significant amount of time outside its borders. "I find it hard to believe that this was written by somebody in North Korea," she said.
       As Rao also notes:
But very few works of North Korean literature are available in English. There's Han Sorya's 1951 novella, "Jackals," [available in Brian Myers' Han Sorya and North Korean Literature] which is often cited as the epitome of juche literature -- propaganda promoting a uniquely North Korean brand of ethnic-nationalist self-reliance. More contemporary work is hard to come by. A smattering of stories from North Korea's official state magazine, Chosun Munhak, and its state-run publishing house have been translated into English in recent years, but most writing about life in North Korea that is accessible to non-Korean readers is built around defector testimony.
       As I noted in my review of the Bandi-stuff, what would be most interesting to see is fiction actually being published in North Korea; it's disappointing that so little of that makes it into English. (And I suspect it would be more revealing -- though in an entirely different way -- than The Accusation-stories.)

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13 July 2017 - Thursday

Leonardo Padura Q & A | Translation in ... Iran
The Reef review

       Leonardo Padura Q & A

       At the Literary Hub Dwyer Murphy has a Q & A with Leonardo Padura on a Lost Generation of Cubans, and the Arrogance of Trump.
       Padura's most recent novel (in translation) is Heretics, which is discussed here -- and I hadn't realized there was a TV version of his 'Havana'-quartet -- available on Netflix (where they use the original (Spanish) titles of the novels, not the seasonal English ones).

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       Translation in ... Iran

       Iran is one of the few international copyright holdouts -- leading to the free-for-all of multiple translations of (unprotected foreign) hot titles appearing (as I've often mentioned), and in the Tehran Times they now report on a translator who complains about one of the obvious consequences of this situation: Arsalan Fasihi: Iran's literary world suffers from bad translations.
       He's pretty harsh about some of the translators' (non-)qualifications:
"Many of these translators are not acquainted with the written and literary language in Persian."

"These translators have not read Persian books and cannot write in Persian, and since Persian is their native language they assume that they can be translators," he lamented.
       He also comes to the obvious conclusion:
There is no way to stop this chaos except by joining the Berne convention.
       (I do note that there is something to be said for the chaos too: sure, the (original) authors and publishers get screwed, by not getting a cut of the proceeds, but more variety -- even (or especially ?) in translation -- is generally desirable, giving consumers choice (which they rarely have in the US, for example, except for with translations of older, out-of-copyright titles ...). So maybe it's not all a bad thing ? (The cost-savings -- some of which are presumably passed on to consumers -- of not paying for foreign rights are presumably a market positive too.))

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       The Reef review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Juan Villoro's The Reef, now out in English, from George Braziller.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

12 July 2017 - Wednesday

'Most Anticipated' books | Literary notes by Mao | Seagull Books profile

       'Most Anticipated' books

       The Millions now offer their list of the Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview: 80 US titles that they ... anticipate.
       Only one of them is already under review at the complete review -- Laurent Binet's The Seventh Function of Language -- but I have a handful of others, and look forward to seeing a few more.
       Still: there's a lot beyond these, too, so keep an eye out .....

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       Literary notes by Mao

       They won't win any calligraphy prizes, but some Mao Zedong 'autograph manuscript notes on classical Chinese literature' were up for auction at Sotheby's yesterday, and the £60,000-80,000 estimate proved to be a woeful under-estimate, as the lot sold for a whopping £704,750.
The notes provide numerous valuable insights into Mao's thinking on literature. Not surprisingly, his attention is mostly focused on the intersection of poetry and politics.
       As to why the notes exist:
Di had difficulty understanding what Mao was saying. On later visits she asked Mao to write his thoughts into a notepad to ease communication, and she also made her own notes of the conversation.
       If his speech wasn't very clear, his writing was only slightly better:

Mao notes

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       Seagull Books profile

       Via I'm pointed to (yet another ...) profile of The Little Publisher That Could, by Sandip Roy in the current Indian Quarterly -- Seagull Books.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

11 July 2017 - Tuesday

Indian book village | Conversations with Vladimir Nabokov review

       Indian book village

       This got some coverage in May, when it opened, and at Nupur D'Souza follows up, finding Maharashtra's books village seems like a good idea -- but what do its residents think of the project ?
       The town is Bhilar -- a small town located between two hill stations -- and it is the first 'पुस्तकांचे गाव' ('book village') in India.
       Apparently: "modelled along the lines of Hay on Wye", it seems way different:
The Rajya Marathi Vikas Sanstha chose 25 locations around the village as homes for the new books. The selection criteria were simple: the homes should have enough space for both books and furniture, be located at a convenient distance from the main road and that the home's residents should be willing to join the enterprise as caretakers of the books.
       Yes, most of these book-spaces have apparently been set up in private homes.

       I do like how the official logo in this otherwise-known-for-its-strawberries town covers all the local bases:

Book Village logo

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       Conversations with Vladimir Nabokov review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Conversations with Vladimir Nabokov, edited by Robert Golla, a recent volume in the University Press of Mississippi's admirable (and extensive) 'Conversations with ....' series.

       (I do find it amusing that the one other volume in the series Golla edited is Conversations with Michael Crichton .....)

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

10 July 2017 - Monday

Coetzee's computer-poetry | Irina Ratushinskaya (1954-2017)
Translations from ... Russian (2017) | Deborah Smith Q & A

       Coetzee's computer-poetry

       Tantalizing stuff from the Harry Ransom Center, where they have Nobel laureate and Slow Man- (etc.) author J.M.Coetzee's archive and where Rebecca Roach reports on The computer poetry of J. M. Coetzee's early programming career -- with a picture of some "computer code poetry, dated May 30, 1965". Somebody collect and publish this !
       Peter Johnston's PhD thesis, on 'Presences of the Infinite': J.M.Coetzee and Mathematics (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) includes a significant section discussing Coetzee's computer poetry -- and reprints the two (very different from the HRC stuff) published ones in an Appendix: 'Computer Poem' (p. 309) and 'Hero and Bad Mother in Epic' (pp. 310-311) -- but see the discussion in the text proper as well. (The Appendix includes other poems by Coetzee, so it's worth it just for that, too -- not stuff that's easy to find elsewhere.)

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       Irina Ratushinskaya (1954-2017)

       Irina Ratushinskaya, a writer sent to the camps very late in the Soviet day (1983 !), has passed away; see Michael Bourdeaux's obituary in The Guardian and Harrison Smith's in The Washington Post.
       She is best known for her camp-account, Grey is the Colour of Hope, recently re-issued (along with several of her other works) in the UK (get your copy at or
       No surprise that my preference is for her novel, Fictions and Lies -- get your copy at or -- because ... well, obviously. (I still have my copy at hand; maybe I'll get a review up.)

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       Translations from ... Russian (2017)

       The Three Percent databases are obviously the most useful resource for seeing what gets translated into English every year, but they do have their limitations -- they only cover US published/distributed titles, are limited to fiction and poetry, and exclude new translations of previously translated works -- and so it's good to see they're not the only game in town.
       Other databases/listings tend to be even more limited -- generally by language -- but do provide valuable additional information -- such as the just-posted Russian-to-English Translations for 2017 at Lizok's Bookshelf. (Several of these are already under review at the complete review.)

       Other useful lists:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Deborah Smith Q & A

       The most recent 'The PEN Ten' is a Q & A with Deborah Smith -- translator-from-the-Korean (of Bandi's The Accusation, and Han Kang's The Vegetarian, for example), and Tilted Axis Press founder.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

9 July 2017 - Sunday

Murakami Q & A book | Summer-read suggestions

       Murakami Q & A book

       I missed this a couple of weeks back, but in The Asahi Shimbun Kan Kashiwazaki reported on how Haruki Murakami talks of how he goes with the flow, as there's a new book out (only in Japanese, alas), subtitled: 'Haruki Murakami: A Long, Long Interview by Mieko Kawakami', みみずくは黄昏に飛びたつ; see the Shinchosha publicity page.
Ten hours of intimate interviews with Haruki Murakami that reveal unique insights into the popular novelist's elusive methodology, or eccentric lack of it, have been compiled into a book.
       Kawakami herself is an up-and-comer -- with her Ms Ice Sandwich due out from Pushkin Press in a couple months; pre-order your copy at or; it's certainly something I expect to get to.
       Sounds like the Murakami-interview volume would be of interest to US/UK readers as well, so maybe there will be a translation ? Or are the questions too 'Japanese' for publishers to take a chance on it ... ?

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       Summer-read suggestions

       Yes, it's summer, so lots of newspaper (and weblog ...) filler of the 'best summer reads' sort.
       At least The Guardian has writers give their suggestions, in their 'Best holiday reads 2017, picked by writers', parts one [updated:] and two. (And Geoff Dyer gets it right in the latter, selecting Reve's The Evenings and Solstad's Novel 11, Book 18.)
       I've only read/reviewed a few of these, but it is a decent variety.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

8 July 2017 - Saturday

Diagram Prize shortlist | The Zoo review

       Diagram Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year -- with readers apparently able to vote for their favorite, and the winner to be announced on 28 July.
       The five titles in the running are:
  • An Ape's View of Human Evolution

  • The Commuter Pig-Keeper: A Comprehensive Guide to Keeping Pigs when Time is your Most Precious Commodity

  • Nipples on My Knee

  • Love Your Lady Landscape: Trust Your Gut, Care for "Down There" and Reclaim Your Fierce and Feminine SHE Power

  • Renniks Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors: The Premier Guide for Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Coin Errors
       And, no, none of them are under review at the complete review.

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       The Zoo review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Christopher Wilson's new novel, The Zoo, just out (in the UK).

       Several other Wilson titles are under review at the complete review -- though I haven't revisited old favorites such as Baa and Fou yet -- but I'm surprised his backlist is largely out of print (though available in his own e-book line).
       But good to see he's not entirely overlooked: Moonstone-author Sjón, for example, listed Gallimauf's Gospel among his top 10 island stories at The Guardian a couple of years ago.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

7 July 2017 - Friday

Ingeborg Bachmann Prize
Q & As: Lydie Salvayre - Fiston Mwanza Mujila

       Ingeborg Bachmann Prize

       The 41st 'Days of German-Language Literature' have started, and, as always, the centerpiece is the read-aloud literary competition, the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis -- and among the competing authors is one who is quite well-known in the US, The Lost Time Accidents-author John Wray. His text, Madrigal (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) apparently impressed, making him an early prize-favorite.
       Shigekuni has a first-day recap (in English).

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Q & A: Lydie Salvayre

       At Music & Literature Adrian Nathan West has A Conversation with Lydie Salvayre -- mainly about her Cry, Mother Spain (which doesn't seem to have a US publisher yet ...?); get your copy at or

       I haven't seen that one yet, but I'm a big admirer and six other Salvayre titles are under review at the complete review -- see, for example, The Award.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Q & A: Fiston Mwanza Mujila

       At DeutscheWelle Sabine Kieselbach has a Q & A with Tram 83-author Fiston Mwanza Mujila.
       Among his responses:
French is a colonial language. To me, it's a fictional language, a fake language. But it's also an intimate language, if I succeed to reinvent it as a new language for myself.

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6 July 2017 - Thursday

Daniil Granin (1919-2017) | Elle review

       Daniil Granin (1919-2017)

       Soviet/Russian author Daniil Granin has passed away; see, for example, the AP report (here at CBC).
       Much of his fiction was of the very documentary kind, and several of his works were published in English translation; The Bison (published by Doubleday in 1990; get your copy at or even got a(n 'In Short') review in The New York Times Book Review.
       At Russia Beyond the Headlines Anna Sorokina offers a list of 5 must-read novels by Soviet docufiction writer Daniil Granin.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Elle review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Philippe Djian's Elle -- recently out in English (from Other Press, in the US), but better-known as the basis for the widely acclaimed Paul Verhoeven film, starring Isabelle Huppert.
       I am a bit surprised that this hasn't gotten more review-coverage -- though that's also been the case for Djian's other recent books to appear in translation. Still, a stark contrast to how huge he is in continental Europe. (Sometimes I think it's all because US/UK publishers and readers simply can't take seriously an author who wrote a six-volume series that he called: Doggy bag (see the Julliard publicity page for the one-volume collected edition). Of course, the original French title of Elle was ... "Oh ...")

       This is the second book that Paul Verhoeven adapted for the screen that I've reviewed this year -- the other being the (also woefully under-covered) new translation of Jan Wolkers' Turkish Delight (which was filmed more than forty years before Elle). Heinlein's Starship Troopers next ?

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

5 July 2017 - Wednesday

Philip Larkin exhibit | Szerb Antal reminiscences

       Philip Larkin exhibit

       A Philip Larkin exhibit, Larkin: New Eyes Each Year opens in Hull today, and with curator Anna Farthing saying: "We've tried to piece together a life from objects rather than from words", it looks ... interesting:
There is his lawnmower, typewriter, stationery, camera, photographs and briefcase. There are 33 souvenir tea towels, some of which bear comic verses, and a "tree" made of 119 ties.
       In The Guardian Hannah Ellis-Petersen also previews it, in Philip Larkin exhibition in Hull offers fresh insights into poet's life -- and notes that:
Also on display are the empty spines of the diaries that Larkin ordered to be shredded after he died

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

       Szerb Antal reminiscences

       They held a Szerb Antal-conference last month -- celebrating also the publication of his Reflections in the Library: Selected Literary Essays 1926-1944; see the Legenda publicity page, or get your copy at or
       At hlo they now publish György Gömöri: Growing up with Antal Szerb, which was first read at the conference.

       Several Szerb titles are under review at the complete review, including The Pendragon Legend.

(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

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