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The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 February 2003

11 February: Monterroso obituaries | Women in publishing | García Márquez review
12 February: McDougal book advert | Nicholson Baker/Stephen King | Sebald review
13 February: National character books | A successful case of "writer's block"
14 February: Geoff Dyer interview | Review of Magueijo book | Coast to NY
15 February: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize | B.S.Johnson as anti-Franzen
17 February: Vivir para contarla ! | Contemporary French lit. overview | Norm T. di G. on Borges -- again | Kourouma's Waiting ... - version two | Review disconnect ? | Salon woes
18 February: What Joseph Roth saw | Waggish
19 February: Kate Taylor / Mme Proust | African literary information
20 February: Ambiguous Ambiguous Adventure | Digesting Will Self's Dorian

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20 February 2003 - Thursday

Ambiguous Ambiguous Adventure | Digesting Will Self's Dorian

       Ambiguous Ambiguous Adventure

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Cheikh Hamidou Kane's well-known (and prize-winning) novel from the early 1960s, Ambiguous Adventure.
       One of the early African-student-in-Europe novels, it remains in print and widely taught and read. Chinua Achebe says it is one the books he teaches, and suggests it is one he would include in any 20th century world literature course.
       It is interesting, but we didn't like the religious focus at all. Granted, it's welcome to find a book where the African-student-in-Europe had a Muslim upbringing (the vast majority of these titles are by African writers educated by Christian missionaries and their work generally reflects that particular background) but the spiritual contrast (Africa v. Europe -- or rather: Islam v. Europe) seems far too simplistic to us. The book is about maintaining and losing tradition, but the local African tradition here (threatened by the French colonialists' different philosophies) is a wholly religious one: Kane doesn't explore any larger idea of tradition -- which seems particularly odd given that Islam was a relatively new imposition on this area, and one which itself had displaced earlier traditions (ones which may well have been -- though Kane never even bothers to wonder -- spiritually far more satisfying).

       The one other review of the book we link to may also be of interest; certainly they take an interesting approach: the review at new improved head compares the book with the American TV sitcom, Frasier (really).

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Digesting Will Self's Dorian

       We're not much for pared-down fictions -- there is more to most books than the just the gist, after all -- but readers might like to compare two versions of Will Self's Dorian (and see also, of course, our review):
(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

19 February 2003 - Wednesday

Kate Taylor / Mme Proust | African literary information

       Kate Taylor / Mme Proust

       We mentioned Kate Taylor's new book Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen a few weeks ago, because we were so stunned by her approach to historic fiction (see our comments).
       For those who are interested: the first reviews are rolling in -- so, for example, Michael Arditti's in today's issue of The Times, where he writes about "Kate Taylor’s magnificent first novel". Slightly less enthusiastic was Jessica Mann in the 9 February Sunday Telegraph: "Kate Taylor has done meticulous research, and in making use of it tells us more about everyday life in the Proust household than a non-Proustian wants to know.".
       It's also been reviewed by Toby Lichtig in the 31 January Times Literary Supplement (not freely accessible online). Lichtig concludes that it is "an ambitious project by a promising writer".
       Lichtig is also the only one of these three to discuss Taylor's fictional (or rather: factual) liberties, noting:
Her tinkerings with history add little to the novel's literary merits. This debate over the requirements of fictional biography has already gained valuable publicity for Madame Proust. One wonders if the author was able to foresee this.
       An author foreseeing free publicity with a bit of controversy ? Yes, one might wonder about that .....

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       African literary information

       African literary information, especially about current goings-on, isn't particularly readily found even on the Internet -- but the books section at does pretty good job of collecting current articles and reviews from all across the continent. Worthwhile.

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18 February 2003 - Tuesday

What Joseph Roth saw | Waggish

       What Joseph Roth saw

       A couple of weeks ago we offered information about Joseph Roth's Radetzkymarsch (recently newly translated by Michael Hofmann as The Radetzky March). Now another of Roth's works -- this time a collection of non-fiction pieces -- is much in the news: What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33, also translated by Mr. Hofmann. Again, we don't really see ourselves reviewing this, but it might be of interest, so here a few links:
       Recent review include Claire Harman's in yesterday's Evening Standard ("Roth's love of recording the minutiae of everyday life makes this book often read like a brilliant existentialist novel"), David Jays in the 2 February The Observer ("The tone is tender and caustic, all at once"), Katherine A. Powers in the December 2002 Atlantic Monthly (scroll down for review), and Ruth Franklin in this week's issue (24 February) of The New Republic (not available online -- and we haven't seen the review yet). And Thane Rosenbaum wrote in the 15 December 2002 issue of The Washington Post:
Amid all the wonderment, there is also regret in his voice. Roth knows he is bearing bad news, and no amount of lyricism can disguise the sorrow that singes each of his observations. He glides through the book as a roving reporter of human interest stories, a man looking for the miniature amid the majestic, the forgotten among the horde of giddy, thrusting followers.
       (Updated - 19 February): See also reviews by Lesley Chamberlain in The Independent (18 February; "The only fault of this lovely book lies with its production: misplaced asterisks and notes, pale pictures, photographs used twice, absent captions, an inexplicable blank page. Roth would not have stood for it.") and Richard Overy in the Sunday Telegraph (16 February; though he seems more interested in discussing Amos Elon's The Pity of it All).

       Other links of interest:        (And while you're paying so much attention to Joseph Roth don't forget about Ernst Weiss -- check out Ernst Weiss: A Preliminary Survey at the crQuarterly.)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -


       Waggish looks like an interesting weblog with something of a literary focus. Certainly, lots of the books covered are of interest -- so, for example, most recently Ann Quin's Berg (see also our review).

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

17 February 2003 - Monday

Vivir para contarla ! | Contemporary French lit. overview
Norm T. di G. on Borges -- again | Kourouma's Waiting ... - version two
Review disconnect ? | Salon woes

       Vivir para contarla !

       So, within a week of patting ourselves on the back for offering one of the few English-language reviews of Gabriel García Márquez's new memoir, Vivir para contarla, we find a couple more have appeared.
       Less enthusiastic is The Economist's (review will only be freely accessible on or after 21 February) -- though they still think it's worthwhile.
       More taken is Gioconda Belli in yesterday's issue of The Los Angeles Times, in a review that is generously offered in both Spanish and English (well done ! let's see more of that !).
       The LA Times-folk explain their reviewing the book:
Without benefit of reviews or publicity, Vivir para contarla found its way onto The Times' bestseller list. Book Review has decided that a review, in Spanish with accompanying English translation, is in order.
       We're surprised they missed the publicity the book has gotten -- which we presume was far, far greater in the Latino press (not to mention the Spanish-speaking press abroad) --, and we hope it's not just because it became a bestseller that they decided to review it: it's deserving of the attention regardless -- and maybe this will lead to a new trend of reviewing significant foreign-language publications before they appear in translation .....
       (Dear god, sometimes even we can't believe what absurd and naïve dreams we harbour .....)

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       Contemporary French lit. overview

       The February/March issue of the Boston Review is now available online.

       Of particular interest to us: Patrick Erouart-Siad on Skirting the Issue: French literature out of touch with social realities, a round-up comparable to (and including many of the same titles as) Anita Brookner's Prize-winning novels from France (The Spectator, 28 December 2002).
       Among the books he discusses: Christine Angot’s Why Brazil, Olivier Rolin’s Paper Tiger, Anne F. Garréta’s Not One Day, Chantal Thomas’s Farewells to the Queen, Pascal Quignard’s The Wandering Shadows, Pierre Michon’s The King’s Body, and Amélie Nothomb’s new book, The Dictionary of Proper Names (English titles are all Erouart-Siad's; none of these books are available in translation yet).
       We haven't gotten our hands on a copy of the new Nothomb yet, much to our regret -- but Erouart-Siad wasn't too enthusiastic:
But this Dictionary of Proper Names is beyond my comprehension. Northomb’s 2002 entry is enough to put me to sleep. But her trademark eccentricity, it seems, sells.
(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Norm T. di G. on Borges -- again

       Norman Thomas di Giovanni is a name that can't be avoided when discussing Jorge Luis Borges-in-English -- though his ... contributions have often met with considerable critical comment.
       Now di Giovanni offers: The Lesson of the Master, milking his Borges-connection some more. (We can't find it at, but the UK edition is available at
       It's also been reviewed: read Stephanie Merritt's review in yesterday's issue of The Observer. She opines: di Giovanni's prose is "artless to a degree that makes you wonder how Borges ever put his own work into this man's hands".
       Still, continuing Borges-interest will likely lead to healthy sales of even this account.

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       Kourouma's Waiting ... - version two

       Ahmadou Kourouma's novel Waiting for the Vote of the Wild Animals has been available in a translation by Carrol F. Coates for two years now (see our review). Now Heinemann has come out with a second translation, by Frank Wynne: Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote.
       The first notice we found was a good (if brief) one: Steve Jelbert's in The Times (15 February).
       We haven't had an opportunity to compare the two different English versions, but it's an impressive and important book and if you can't read the French original it's still probably worth your while checking out one (or both) of the translations.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Review disconnect: Is Max Barry's "book" actually readable ?

       Few books have annoyed us as much as Max Barry's Jennifer Government; see our review and previous comments here and here.
       The book appears to have sold quite well, which perhaps isn't that surprising (it does sound sort of fun) -- but what we've found stunning is that the reviews have been pretty good. In fact: very good, in large part. Lev Grossman was enthusiastic in Time ("Barry is a smart writer"), while Nicholas Thomas raved in USA Today ("Jennifer Government is delightful")
       O.k., Time and USA Today are pop magazines whose standards, on the whole, aren't all that high. But we expected a bit more from The New York Times Book Review -- which gave this book a full-page review. In yesterday's Book Review Rob Walker acknowledged a few faults:
If the last two-thirds of the book don't quite live up to that promise, it's because keeping up the breakneck pace means sketching too many flat characters and a plot that tends toward the black-and-white. (...) Barry rarely has the patience for a paragraph that lasts more than a few sentences.
       But on the whole he's impressed -- he thinks the book is "funny and clever", and he thinks it's pretty darn good satire.
       What are we missing ? Except for the pace -- relentless -- and a decent idea behind it (which is ruined in the poor execution) this book has nothing going for it. But it's getting very positive notices, pretty much across the board. And we just don't understand that. (This is also one of the few reviews at our site that readers write to us about -- though reactions are mixed, with half expressing outrage at our opinion and half agreeing with us.)
       A rare voice closer to our opinion is Sean Ferguson's in the Long Island Press. But even he is too generous (in our opinion) when he writes:
Jennifer Government is a mediocre novel, an extremely good mediocre novel, but mediocre nevertheless. The characters, without exception, are one-dimensional plot pushers. They go from A to B collecting their personality quirks, and one by one disappear at the end when they satisfy their relevancy.
       So are we just stuck-up, over the hill fuddy-duddies, out of touch with the hip tone of new voices ? Possibly. But when, for example, Jeff Noon speeds along similarly, and writes lines that include: "In style it's manic-frenetic, / With language mistreated genetic" (in Pixel Juice) -- we're amused and impressed. (Fact is, that single sentence is better than any in Barry's book -- but then Noon is a real writer, and Barry hasn't yet demonstrated that he could be one.)
       Still: users of this site should be aware that we apparently look at books a bit differently than many other reviewers -- and that we aren't quite as forgiving if a book has "too many flat characters and a plot that tends toward the black-and-white" or if the "characters, without exception, are one-dimensional plot pushers"

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Salon woes

       Just three weeks ago Salon embarked on their newest ploy to keep their heads above water, with a nutty pay-per-view-or-watch-tons-of-ads-for-access program. That was enough to chase us off (see our previous comments), but we understand that a site has to do what a site has to do in order to survive. In fact, we're all for it. The problem here: this wasn't a viable plan in the first place. (We're amazed anybody thought it might be -- though note that the market (Salon is still (very occasionally) publicly traded) wasn't in the least impressed (or moved).)
       From the first this looked like a really bad business plan to us (as have, quite honestly, all of the business plans implemented by Salon). Maybe it wasn't their worst -- but their timing was certainly off. It looks like it was: far too little, and far too late. Yes, that's right, Salon again announced that things aren't looking good as far as their chances for survival go. And now they're apparently even delinquent on their rent, which can't be a good sign. See the AP report from 15 February, or the more detailed article by Verne Kopytoff in the San Francisco Chronicle.
       Also well worth your while are their most recent SEC filings -- especially that quarterly report from 14 February that paints a particularly bleak picture. (Strangely -- and pretty outrageously --, this fascinating information isn't given much -- indeed any (so it appears) -- attention at the Salon-site itself (apparently they don't think themselves newsworthy).) Amazingly, Salon got money to tide them over yet again from related-party investors (we're wondering where we can get generous friends like that) -- and yet it's never enough. They note:
Salon believes with its cash on hand, together with collections of accounts receivable, $0.2 million from finalizing two Note and Warrant Purchase Agreement in January and February 2003, that it will be difficult to meet working capital needs during February 2003. Salon needs to raise additional funds within February 2003 and is currently in the process of exploring financing options. If Salon is unable to complete the financial transactions it is pursuing or if it were unable to fund its liquidity needs, then Salon would not be able to continue operations.
       We also like they cover-our-asses-and offer-all-the-excuses language they use:
Many of our websites contain, and will continue to contain, content that is politically and culturally controversial. As a result of this content, current and potential advertisers and Salon Premium subscribers may refuse to do business with Salon. Salon's outspoken stance on political issues has and may continue to result in negative reactions from some users, commentators and other media outlets.
       When Salon came up with it's pay-per-view-or-endure-ads plan a couple of weeks ago several commentators were almost enthusiastic about it -- so Don Hazen at AlterNet, writing Salon Goes for Broke. He was willing to make the sacrifice (i.e. pay):
Hence Salon's bold – some think desperate – step, which could be its death or its salvation. The message: Essentially, everybody must pay. (...) It's a no-brainer. I say: Sign up as fast as you can ! (...) We need Salon solvent (...) Sign up for Salon and say you were there at the beginning of a new era in media.
       Bookslut expressed similar sentiments. But Salon's plan turns out to have been an attempt to put a tiny band-aid on a near-corpse with so many gaping wounds that there's no blood left to staunch. This wasn't even a temporary solution: the additional revenues apparently weren't even enough to cover their rent. It sure doesn't look like it was worthwhile to us.

       (At this point we'd also like to remind users (i.e. rub it in) that the complete review has been in operation for nearly four years now and over that period total expenditures have amounted to considerably less than the weekly salary taken home last year by any of Salon's generously paid officers. Our humble little (and very amateur site) obviously can't compare to the enormity that is Salon, but we do note that, after a small, initial start-up investment (recouped in a matter of months), we've managed not to spend more than we've made. For what it's worth: we've found this to be a sensible way of running the site.)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

15 February 2003 - Saturday

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize | B.S.Johnson as anti-Franzen

       Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

       The longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is now available.
       It's not really a prize for best foreign fiction, of course: only foreign fiction translated into English qualifies -- making for such a small number of books to choose from that it's surprising they even need to bother with a longlist.
       Still, anything that brings attention to foreign literature -- and offers perhaps a small additional incentive to translate more -- is to be commended. So we commend it.
       The test of importance of a literary prize in the UK is, of course, whether or not bookies are taking bets on who will win. We haven't heard that they are .....

       We can't help you too much with background information about most of the longlist-titles, as we only have three under review:

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       B.S.Johnson as anti-Franzen

       B.S.Johnson would have turned 70 a couple of weeks ago -- not that much was made of that. In the English-speaking world everyone presumably eagerly awaits Jonathan Coe's biography, which will then occasion much B.S.-commentary.
       Meanwhile, he at least isn't entirely forgotten elsewhere: in today's Die Welt Wieland Freund offers a long piece about Der Anti-Franzen ("The Anti-Franzen"). All in German (and nothing particularly new), but a nice overview of the author.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

14 February 2003 - Friday

Geoff Dyer interview | Review of Magueijo book | Coast to NY

       Geoff Dyer interview

       Prolific interviewer Robert Birnbaum now offers one with Geoff Dyer at Identity Theory.

       (See also our Geoff Dyer page, and our review of his new book, Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It.)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Review of Magueijo book

       João Magueijo has been getting quite a bit of press for his book, Faster Than the Speed of Light (see, for example, this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education) -- with much, if not most of the focus on his personality rather than the substance of his theory (and book).
       Our review of the book is now available here.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia NY-bound (eventually)

       After being honoured at the local National Arts Club earlier in the week, Tom Stoppard got down to some serious business in New York -- mainly finalizing plans to bring his most recent work, the mammoth-trilogy The Coast of Utopia (see our review), to a local stage. The New York Times reports today that it's all set for Lincoln Center -- but only in the spring of 2005. (Hey, that's not so bad -- it took six years to transport Hapgood from London to NY, and about four for The Invention of Love .....)
       Jesse McKinley's report also notes that the production will be an entirely new one, directed by Jack O'Brien, and stage-designed by Bob Crowley (who did a magnificent job with the Invention of Love production). And he writes:
Before then, Mr. Stoppard is expected to be working on the plays, doing some cutting and addressing some issues raised by the London critics, including the play's sometimes lagging momentum.
       We know Sir Tom likes to fiddle with his texts, but we've rarely seen improvement (and think the revised Hapgood is a near-travesty compared to the original). We hope he doesn't pay too much attention to the London critics and doesn't do anything too drastic.
       (If he wants to improve things, how about a bit more embellishment ? The plays could do with occasionally greater exposition -- and we wouldn't mind another hour of each (though we're guessing it would be a hard sell to the plays' producers).)

       (Updated - 16 February): Note that The Coast of Utopia didn't fare well at the 2003 Laurence Olivier Awards -- it was nominated for best play, and in the design categories (set, costume, and lighting), but didn't win a one. (Note also that director Trevor Nunn didn't even get nominated.)

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13 February 2003 - Thursday

National character books | A successful case of "writer's block"

       National character books

       Literary value apparently isn't enough to make a book interesting, so for World Book Day (note: site "designed and built by HarperCollins Publishers") in the UK they've tried to figure out which books "best represent the national characters of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish" (very worldly, eh ?). The Guardian (12 February) has the "shortlist"

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       A successful case of "writer's block"

       Andre Paine writes in today's Evening Standard about Alex "The Beach" Garland's continuing inability to churn out yet another novel. We weren't aware that: "Alex Garland was the great young hope of British literature" (on the basis of The Beach ? dear god !), and we're fascinated by the media's continuing obsession with the so-called "writer's block" afflicting the one-time author.
       Fortunately, Garland doesn't seem to be taking it quite so seriously (and doesn't seem to be forcing the issue), sensibly saying:
I am not working at the moment. If I am going to write another novel, then I need a good idea and I just have not got one.
       Would that more writers recognized their limitations ! There's no shame in stopping to write, if one has nothing more to say or no more stories to tell (though to blame it on some sort of "writer's blockage" is pretty feeble) -- but apparently many writers feel that once they've published something they have to continue publishing (and unfortunately too many publishers are willing to humour them).

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

12 February 2003 - Wednesday

McDougal book advert | Nicholson Baker/Stephen King | Sebald review

       McDougal book advert

       How low will advertisers stoop ? Check out this example:
       There's been a bit of fuss about Beverly Lowry's 26 January review in The New York Times Book Review of Susan McDougal and Pat Harris' The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk. Gene Lyons wrote a commentary for the Arkansas Democrat–Gazette (available at MobyLives), documenting why he believes Lowry didn't read the book (certain that: "Assuming minimal competence, Lowry simply cannot have done so"). (See also The Case of the Reviewer Who Didn't Read at Poynter Online and Alex Good's commentary, Reviewed and Unread.)
       At the very least, there are some questions about Lowry's review -- as even The New York Times acknowledged, printing at least a small corrections-notice about the review.
       So what do we find in yesterday's issue of The New York Times ? An ad for ... The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk. And guess what the top quote is ? That's right:
"Moving and compelling" -- The New York Times Book Review
       Bad enough, quoting from a dubious review (and not mentioning the reviewer's name) -- but consider the sentence from which the quote comes from. It actually begins:
This part of the book is altogether moving and compelling
       Suggesting, of course, -- as the ad-copy doesn't -- that most of the rest most certainly wasn't. (Aren't there consumer protection agencies that are supposed to look out for hapless consumers and guard against this sort of misleading twisting of words ?)
       Which leads us to the second problem we have with the ad: it appeared in The New York Times, where someone surely must have been aware both of the errors in the review the quote is taken from, as well as the fact that the quote itself is taken out of context.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Nicholson Baker/Stephen King

       We're bored of the reviews of Nicholson Baker's A Box of Matches -- wherein the popular sentiment always seems to be: "Only Nicholson Baker could get away with this." (Tim Adams in The Observer, 9 February). (Though note that many of the reviews have been quite favourable.)
       But at least the Adams-review offers Stephen King's opinion on Baker's writing (at the end of the review), which is at least worth a laugh.

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       Sebald review

       Another review of W.G.Sebald's On the Natural History of Destruction of interest (see also this previous mention): Antony Beevor's in today's issue of The Times.
       (Disappointing again: barely a mention of the secondary essays included -- with, for example, the name Peter Weiss not even mentioned in the review.)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

11 February 2003 - Tuesday

Monterroso obituaries | Women in publishing | García Márquez review

       Monterroso obituaries

       As we mentioned yesterday, Guatemalan writer Augusto Monterroso passed away last Friday. A sign of how little he is known outside the Spanish-speaking world is the dearth of death-notices -- a few stray agency reports but little more so far, both in the US and Europe.
       The Spanish-language press, at least, paid a bit more attention. El Pais unfortunately only offers their content as pay-per-view, but in ABC you can find a brief notice by Mario Vargas Llosa, as well as a profile by Manuel M. Cascante (who calls Monterroso: "uno de los grandes maestros del relato en español").
       El Mundo also offers an obituary and a longer profile.

       There are also English-language reports from EFE -- Guatemala mourns death of Augusto Monterroso and Monterroso's ashes to remain in Mexico (noting that "Gabriel Garcia Marquez attended the wake and said the deceased 'was a great man and a great writer.' ")

       We assume publications like The Times and The New York Times will eventually get around to offering obituaries; still, it's sad to see that a writer of this stature isn't better remembered.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Women in publishing

       In yesterday's Evening Standard Clare Alexander writes about Women on top (in the publishing industry, that is).
       Thank god for those good old sexual stereotypes which help explain feminine success in the biz:
Natural "multitaskers", women make the ideal managers in a business that requires one part of the brain to be making a qualitative judgment (how good is this ?), while another is thinking about jacket design and promotion and yet another is assessing how much money has to be spent on marketing, and how many copies are likely to be sold.
       (It makes you wonder how men -- apparently unnatural multitaskers (so the implication of her statement) -- managed for so long .....)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -

       Review of Gabriel García Márquez's Vivir para contarla

       So is it just plain mean of us to offer our review of Gabriel García Márquez's Vivir para contarla when it isn't yet available in English ?
       The first volume (apparently of three) of his long-awaited memoir appeared in the Spanish-speaking world last October -- and quickly topped all the bestseller lists. The Germans managed to get a translation out before Christmas (which is what most of us here relied on) -- but the English-language edition will still be a while. (How long, we do not know.)
       We're sorry for all of you who have to wait for it .....

       The memoir got some press coverage even in the English-speaking world, because it was such a big literary event and because Alfred A. Knopf actually published the Spanish-language edition in the US. Impressively, this Spanish edition is number four on The Los Angeles Times non-fiction bestseller list for the week of 9 February (up from eleventh place last week). Way to go Gabo !
       As far as we can tell, there haven't been many reviews in the English-language press -- only the venerable Times Literary Supplement (not freely available online), as far as we can tell. (An impressive almost-exception: the Houston Chronicle's review -- but it's in Spanish.)

       We wish we could tell you when the translation is slated to appear so you could count down the days, but it's not even listed at yet (and we haven't even heard who is translating it ...). We're thinking it's going to be a while.

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