the
Literary Saloon

the literary
weblog at the
complete review

the weblog

about the saloon

support the site

archive

cr
crQ
crF

RSS

to e-mail us:


literary weblogs:

  Arts Journal
  The Book Bench
  Bookninja
  Books, Inq.
  Bookslut
  Booksquare
  Brandywine Books
  BritLitBlogs
  Confessions/IM
  Con/Reading
  Critical Mass
  Elegant Variation
  GalleyCat
  Guardian Unlimited
  Laila Lalami
  Maud Newton
  NewPages Weblog
  Omnivoracious
  PowellsBooks.Blog
  Reading Experience
  ReadySteady Blog
  Three Percent

  La Feuille.
  Moleskine
  De Papieren Man
  Perlentaucher
  Rép. des livres

  Arts & Letters Daily
  Bookdwarf
  Buzzwords
  Chekhovís Mistress
  Collected Miscellany
  Emerging Writers
  Light Reading
  MetaxuCafé
  The Millions
  MobyLives
  The Page
  Paper Cuts
  splinters
  This Space
  The Valve
  Waggish
  wood s lot

  See also: links page






saloon statistics

the Literary Saloon at the Complete Review
opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 November 2008

11 November: Goncourt and Renaudot prizes | 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award longlist | More 2666 coverage | Diary of a Blood Donor review
12 November: 2 x Krasznahorkai | Scotiabank Giller Prize | The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague review
13 November: New Bookforum | 2666 odds and ends | Esther's Inheritance review
14 November: Ilustrado takes M'A'LP | Books of the year lists | More Ehrenreich on Bolaño | Somali event | Reading in ... Kerala | Tor profile
15 November: Another review of The Jewel of Medina | A Brief Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature review
16 November: Vargas Llosa sees good (cultural) times ahead | Paco Ignacio Taibo I (1924-2008) | King of a Hundred Horsemen review
17 November: Literature in ... Viet Nam | Literature in ... the Arabic world | New Solstad novel ! | François Caradec (1924-2008)
18 November: Yale University Press centennial | Handling the Nobel at Godine | Robert Silvers/NYRB profile | Hard Case Crime reviews
19 November: Dmitri Nabokov at Newsnight | Achebe at Harvard | Whitbread Costa Book Awards shortlists | GGs ! | Das Kapital as manga ? | Wolf Haas in conversation
20 November: (American) National Book Awards | How to (not) award literary prizes ? | Call for pocket paperbacks ! | The Moon Opera review


go to weblog

return to main archive



20 November 2008 - Thursday

(American) National Book Awards | How to (not) award literary prizes ?
Call for pocket paperbacks ! | The Moon Opera review

       (American) National Book Awards

       They've announced the winners of the (American) National Book Awards; Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country won in the fiction category; we don't have any of the winners under review.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       How to (not) award literary prizes ?

       Yes, it's that time of year again: they named the winners of the Sacred Defense Book of the Year awards in Iran:
This is the 12th edition of the event, which is annually held by the Foundation for the Preservation and Publication of Sacred Defense Works and Values (FPPSDWV) to honor writers of books on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, which is known as the Sacred Defense in Iran.
       As MNA report, Sacred Defense literati honored -- but what's really notable is how many Sacred defense literati were not honoured. Here a rundown in the various categories:
  • Poetry Section: No work merited the first prize
  • Childrenís Poetry Section: No works deserved the first and third prizes
  • Verbal Memory Section: No work was awarded the second prize
  • Fiction Section: No entry was given the first prize in this section.
  • Fictionalized Biography Section: No work was able to win the first and second prizes
  • War and Biography Section: No second or third prize was awarded.
  • Literary Research Section: No work was deemed worthy of the first, Second or third prizes in this section.
  • Military Research Section: No first or second prize was given.
  • Art Section: No work was able to win first, second or third prize in the Drama Section as well as in the Illustration and Photo Section.
  • Best Cover Design: No work deserved the first or third prize.
       Our thoughts:
  • At least they have standards
  • Another argument for fewer categories
  • Children's war poetry ? What the hell are they thinking ?

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Call for pocket paperbacks !

       At The Millions there's a call for Pocket Paperbacks and Digital Editions, and we can only nod in vigorous agreement: "What better time than now to bring back the pocket paperback ?" -- though actually we've always been convinced it's always been a good time to bring back the good old true (i.e. mass-market and similar sized) paperback (and do away with the abomination that is the trade paperback format).
       (We don't mention this that much since we tend to start foaming at the mouth with loathing at the trade paperback size whenever the subject comes up .....)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       The Moon Opera review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Bi Feiyu's The Moon Opera.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



19 November 2008 - Wednesday

Dmitri Nabokov at Newsnight | Achebe at Harvard
Whitbread Costa Book Awards shortlists | GGs !
Das Kapital as manga ? | Wolf Haas in conversation

       Dmitri Nabokov at Newsnight

       At BBC Newsnight Stephen Smith writes about Nabokov's final literary striptease, re-hashing the whole The Original of Laura-publicity stunt with Dmitri Nabokov who faced that 'difficult' choice between burning it in or cashing in on it.
       Apparently:
"My father told me what his most important books were. He named Laura as one of them. One doesn't name a book one intends to destroy."
       Funny, that he didn't bring up that argument when he was supposedly considering torching the thing. Presumably he's been working on his lines with Andrew Wylie as publication day approaches.
       See also Chris Green's Nabokov's last, unfinished, novel finally to be published by his son at The Independent.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Achebe at Harvard

       At The Harvard Crimson Anna E. Sakellariadis reports on a Chinua Achebe appearance at Harvard, in Achebe's Poems Awe Listeners, as:
From the moment that he entered the room, the audience fell silent in deference to a man whom many deem the face of African literature for the past half-century.

Achebe immediately surprised the crowd by assuring them that it was not his intention to give a lecture.

"I will be celebrating with you the 50 years of the arrival of African Literature. I will do that celebration through poetry, not prose," he said.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Whitbread Costa Book Awards shortlists

       They've announced the Whitbread Costa Book Awards shortlists, with its odd categories -- this year even they are confused by them on the official site, as they've conflated two of the categories and apparently think they're presenting a: 'Costa Children's Biography Award' (yeah, they'll probably get that sorted out pretty soon).

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       GGs !

       They've announced all the winners of the GGs (the (Canadian) Governor General's Literary Awards).

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Das Kapital as manga ?

       In The Times Leo Lewis reports that Karl Marx goes manga in a Kapital comic strip, as:
across the worldís second biggest economy, bookstores from Hiroshima to Hokkaido are preparing for what they expect to be the publishing phenomenon of the year: Das Kapital -- the manga version.

The comic, which goes on sale early next month, plays into a growing fascination among Japanís hard-working labour force with socialist literature and joins a collection of increasingly fierce literary critiques of the global capitalist system.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Wolf Haas in conversation

       Next Tuesday, 25 November at 18:30, at the austrian cultural forum in New York, local barkeep M.A.Orthofer will be in conversation with Austrian author Wolf Haas. (The official acf site prevents direct linking to their calendar, and the available event information is ... limited, but if you'd like to attend note that admission is free but reservations are necessary; Call (212) 319 5300 ext.222 or email reservations@acfny.org )
       Best known for his series of Brenner-mysteries -- two of which have been made into films that will also be screened at the acf on 26 November and 5 December -- , Haas is also the author of Das Wetter vor 15 Jahren (coming relatively soon in translation !). They also already have an interview with him in transforum, but we should probably be able to cover a bit more ground next Tuesday.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



18 November 2008 - Tuesday

Yale University Press centennial | Handling the Nobel at Godine
Robert Silvers/NYRB profile | Hard Case Crime reviews

       Yale University Press centennial

       Yale University Press is celebrating its centennial, and at the Yale Daily News Snigdha Sur reports on the three panel discussions on "Why Books Still Matter" they held last week as part of the celebrations, in In tech age, a case for books.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Handling the Nobel at Godine

       At Conversational Reading Scott Esposito asks David R. Godine-man Daniel E. Pritchard How Does the Nobel Change A Small Press ? in an interesting interview. (Nice to see also that they highlight Godine's excellent selection of Georges Perec-titles.)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Robert Silvers/NYRB profile

       Another profile of The New York Review of Books and head man Robert Silvers, as Matt Harvey finds that 'Skepticism lives on as New York Review of Books ages but thrives' in Brawls and books in The Villager.
       Among the observations of interest:
That Chabon -- at 45 -- is one of the NYRBís youngest writers is a sensitive subject for Silvers. "I donít separate the world into people in their 20s and their 40s," he said with polite annoyance. But when I asked him whether young writers are having a difficult time developing a unique voice in the age of the Internet he smiled and remarked, "Aha ! Thatís something you may know more about than I do." After giving it some more thought, he added, "In all these 45 years writers always have emerged with a special voice, a special perception of their own." The clear implication was that this was bound to happen again.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Hard Case Crime reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are our reviews of the two Hard Case Crime novels by publisher Charles Ardai
  • Fifty-to-One, the fiftieth volume in the impressive series -- and a nice way of celebrating that
  • Songs of Innocence, published under his pen name of Richard Aleas

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



17 November 2008 - Monday

Literature in ... Viet Nam | Literature in ... the Arabic world
New Solstad novel ! | François Caradec (1924-2008)

       Literature in ... Viet Nam

       At Thah Nien News Thuy Linh reports on A bird that canít fly, as: 'Literary critics say Vietnam's lack of literary leadership is due to outmoded worldviews and historical problems.'

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Literature in ... the Arabic world

       The National argues A literary tradition begins at home, noting:
The lack of a vibrant literary culture here is striking because the region is world-renowned for its tradition of storytelling.
       And:
Literary tradition does not start in university classes: it begins with a culture of reading that is first cultivated in the home.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       New Solstad novel !

       Why didn't anyone tell us ?!? More importantly: why hasn't anyone sent us a copy ?!??!?
       We were tremendously impressed by Dag Solstad's Shyness and Dignity yet only learn now -- via Melissa McClements' review in the Financial Times -- that, at least in the UK, there's a new Solstad out, Novel 11, Book 18 from Harvill Secker (get your copy at Amazon.co.uk).
       McClements finds:
Novel 11, Book 18 is an uncompromising and controversial book. Preoccupied by his usual existentialist themes, Solstad takes the idea of man controlling his own destiny to a bizarre extreme.
       And:
It might be a profound exploration of philosophical ideas but as a novel itís an emotionless and unsettling read.
       We want to see !
       (See also review at TheBookbag and The List.)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       François Caradec (1924-2008)

       Oulipo member François Caradec has passed away; see, for example, Mort de l'écrivain François Caradec at Le Figaro.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



16 November 2008 - Sunday

Vargas Llosa sees good (cultural) times ahead
Paco Ignacio Taibo I (1924-2008) | King of a Hundred Horsemen review

       Vargas Llosa sees good (cultural) times ahead

       The Latin American Herald Tribune has an EFE report that Peru's Vargas Llosa: Economic Crisis Spurs Literature, Predicts Good Cultural Times Coming. Oh, yeah, party time !
       Among the odds and ends of interest:
  • "Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa considers "great traumas" like the current financial crisis "very stimulating" for literature, and therefore predicts the beginning of a "good period" for literary creativity."

  • He was recently in the Congo, "to gather documentation for his next novel, which he has given the provisional title of El Sueño del Celta (The Dream of the Celt)" -- a work: "inspired by the life of Irish nationalist politician Roger Casement".

  • And: "For the writer, the U.S. president-elect, Democrat Barack Obama, is "the first intellectual" to enter the White House in the history of the country."
       (Admittedly, recent White House residents have been decidedly anti-intellectual, none more so than the lame dud still running the country, but surely some have qualified as intellectual over the centuries.)
       Well, we're waiting to be stimulated ......

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Paco Ignacio Taibo I (1924-2008)

       Well-known author Paco Ignacio Taibo I -- not to be confused with his far better known crime-writing son, Paco Ignacio Taibo II -- has passed away; see, for example the obituary in El País, Paco Ignacio Taibo, periodista de dos exilios and Noemí Gutiérrez's Adiós al Gato Culto in El Universal. See also the LAHT report, Distinguished Mexican Journalist and Novelist Paco Ignacio Taibo dies.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       King of a Hundred Horsemen review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Marie Étienne's King of a Hundred Horsemen.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



15 November 2008 - Saturday

Another review of The Jewel of Medina
A Brief Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature review

       Another review of The Jewel of Medina

       We've mentioned that Sherry Jones' controversial The Jewel of Medina doesn't sound like a particularly good book, and the first reactions certainly seemed to support that notion. Now Glenn Altschuler reviews it in The Jerusalem Post and also finds A jewel it's not.
       He thinks:
The novel isn't worth the attention it's getting. As reliable, historically, as Disney's Aladdin and the King of Thieves, The Jewel of Medina is a "chick lit" feminist tract, painted in purple prose.
       And:
It's an outrage that publication of this book -- or any book -- was held hostage to threats of violence. But as a work of historical fiction The Jewel of Medina is a non-precious stone that ought to be allowed to sink without a trace.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       A Brief Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of David Tresilian's A Brief Introduction to Modern Arabic Literature.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



14 November 2008 - Friday

Ilustrado takes M'A'LP | Books of the year lists | More Ehrenreich on Bolaño
Somali event | Reading in ... Kerala | Tor profile

       Ilustrado takes M'A'LP

       They've announced the winner of the 2008 Man 'Asian' Literary Prize, and it is Ilustrado, by Filipino author Miguel Syjuco.
       (As we've mentioned every time we mention this award: given that it does not tolerate entries from a vast number of countries that you and we and every geographer would consider Asian, including all the Arabic-speaking nations, Iran, and the Central Asian states of the former Soviet Union, it is outrageous and unacceptable that this prize claims to be "Asian".)
       While we support the general idea behind this prize -- to provide a leg up for Asian authors (well, authors from those parts of Asia they deign to consider ...) -- we have to wonder once again about the winner. Ilustrado actually sounds like a fun book and we look forward to seeing it in print -- as the Crispin Salvador Wikipedia-page suggests, Syjuco is onto something -- but this is also an author who has been through the Columbia University MFA programme, and who lives in Montreal. We're all for the breaking down of literary borders, bla bla bla, but can't help but notice how many of the authors sold to us as of X nationality live in country Y -- which, something like eight times out of ten, turns out to be the US or UK (and the ninth time out of ten, as here: Canada); nine times out of ten they also conveniently write in English.
       We understand that this is the way the industry works, and that writers obviously choose the easiest route to publishing acceptance -- obviously you increase your chances of getting any sort of publishing deal if you go through the US MFA-mill rather than, say, staying in Manila and write in Tagalog ... -- but we'd love to see some more fostering of local literary scenes, and not just that transnational one.

       (Updated - 15 November): See now also Mark Medley's Q & A with Ilustrado author Miguel Syjuco at the National Post's The Ampersand.

       (Updated - 18 November): See now also Richard Lea on Running a literary prize in the real world at The Guardian's Book Blog.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Books of the year lists

       By popular demand -- everybody seems to love these -- some 'Books of the year' lists (but don't expect too many of these hereabouts). And, as far as these sorts of things go, these aren't the worst:
  • Books of the year 2008: "The New Statesman's round up of the best books of 2008 as suggested by critics and contributors"
  • Books of the year: "A selection of the best and worst books of 2008, chosen by some of our regular reviewers" at The Spectator (but not enough worst-suggestions !)

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       More Ehrenreich on Bolaño

       2666 is getting all the attention, but as we've mentioned (and reviewed), Roberto Bolaño's The Romantic Dogs now offers the first good dose of his poetry in English. Not much mention or coverage yet, but at the Poetry Foundation's Online Journal Ben Ehrenreich (who also, sort of, reviewed 2666, in The Los Angeles Times) gets a nice amount of space to write about 'Roberto BolaŮoís legions of fictional poets and his own heartbroken insurrectionary poems', in "Appearing and Disappearing Like True Poetry".
       He notes:
Like his fictional double, Bolaño left Mexico in 1977, vagabonding about Europe for years, ultimately settling down in Spain. But the poems in Romantic Dogs remain obsessed with what he left behind. Theyíre thick with melancholy and residual awe, as if life had ended at 24.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Somali event

       Mareeg has a report on the recent Somali Language Literature Festival and Touring Book Fair event with the theme, 'The Word and the Way to a better world'; see also the official page at Somali PEN.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Reading in ... Kerala

       The Hindu has a PTI report that Book sales in Kerala goes up as reading remains alive, as:
The emergence of television as a major medium of news and entertainment has failed to dent the reading habit of Keralites where the sale of books continues to keep up growth trend.

The sale of Malayalam books have been growing by at least 30 per cent a year
       And:
Among the titles that made roaring sales this year was Booker Prize winning White Tigers of Aravind Adiga.

O V Vijayan's Khasakkinte Ithihasam and M T Vasudevan Nair's Randamoozham top the list of Malayalam novels.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Tor profile

       At Reason Katherine Mangu-Ward profiles publisher Tor, in Tor's Worlds Without Death or Taxes.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



13 November 2008 - Thursday

New Bookforum | 2666 odds and ends | Esther's Inheritance review

       New Bookforum

       The December-January issue of Bookforum is now available online; as always, well worth a look.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       2666 odds and ends

       As we've mentioned, space limitations for reviews are particularly tough on a book like Roberto Bolaño's 2666, so it's nice to see that some of the reviewers have already added comments elsewhere about A Few Great Things About Bolano's 2666 That Won't Make the Reviews and The Part about What Doesn't Fit in a Review.
       Meanwhile, we thought The New Yorker's 'Briefly Noted' mention was the biggest review slap in the face of the book, but now The New York Times has topped that, by assigning their review to ... Janet Maslin. What, James Patterson didn't have a book coming out this week they could have tossed her way ?

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Esther's Inheritance review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of the latest Márai Sándor to be translated into English, Esther's Inheritance.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



12 November 2008 - Wednesday

2 x Krasznahorkai | Scotiabank Giller Prize
The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague review

       2 x Krasznahorkai

       At hlo they have two pieces on Krasznahorkai László: János Szegő's review of his new (in Hungarian) story collection, Seiobo járt odalent, In essence concealed, in appearance expressed (see also the Magvető publicity page), and Ottilie Mulzet's piece on 'The Chinese journeys of László Krasznahorkai', Asian simulacrum.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Scotiabank Giller Prize

       They've announced the winner of the Canadian Scotiabank Giller Prize; no information at the official site, last we checked, but see, for example, Joseph Boyden wins Giller Prize by Mark Medley in the National Post.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Sylvie Germain's The Weeping Woman on the Streets of Prague.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



11 November 2008 - Tuesday

Goncourt and Renaudot prizes
2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award longlist
More 2666 coverage | Diary of a Blood Donor review

       Goncourt and Renaudot prizes

       They've announced the two major French literary prizes, the Goncourt and Renaudot, and, as Richard Lea reports in The Guardian, Immigrants take France's top literary honours.
       Syngué sabour by Atiq Rahimi took the prix Goncourt -- the second time in three years that an author who previously wrote in another language (Dari, in Rahimi's case) takes the prize with his first novel written in French. (Jonathan Littell took the 2006 prize for The Kindly Ones (see our review-overview), after his English debut, Bad Voltage; we understand ARCs of The Kindly Ones are coming into circulation and very much look forward to having a look.)
       Syngué sabour apparently won rather handily, beating out La beauté du monde by Michel Le Bris seven votes to three in only the second round of voting (it took a lot longer last year).
       Get your copy of Syngué sabour at Amazon.fr, or see the P.O.L. publicity page; for more on the prize, see the prix Goncourt page at Prix-litteraires.net; the Académie Goncourt site is pretty useless.

       Le roi de Kahel by Tierno Monénembo won the prix Renaudot; get your copy at Amazon.fr, and see the prix Renaudot page at Prix-litteraires.net.

       Rahimi's Dari fiction has been translated into English, though we don't have any under review at this time; we do have Tierno Monénembo's The Oldest Orphan under review.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award longlist

       They've announced the longlist for the 2009 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award -- a weird and wildly uneven assortment of 146 titles, by authors from 41 countries. Disappointingly, a mere 29 are translated titles (from 18 languages).
       As usual, we have a fair number of the longlisted titles under review:        We also have review-overviews of two of the titles:
(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       More 2666 coverage

       Roberto Bolaño's 2666 hits American bookstores today; see our review, as well as our mention yesterday.
       Review coverage continues apace; keep up with it on our review-page, but note also that in Time Lev Grossman judges it to be The Best Book of 2008.
       Interestingly, however, The New Yorker quickly dismisses it, offering nothing more than a 'Briefly Noted' mention -- this despite the fact that James Wood is now on board there, and recall that he penned The New York Times Book Review review of Bolaño's The Savage Detectives, writing that it was a: "marvelous, sad, finally sustaining novel". Too bad, it would have been interesting to learn what he makes of 2666 in a longer piece.
       We may still learn that elsewhere, but The New Yorker is one of very few print outlets that could have devoted appropriate space to the book and now they obviously won't.
       Space -- i.e. how much reviewers can devote to the book -- is of some interest and concern with regards to 2666. As already (very early in the game, with less than a dozen reviews out) noted at Conversational Reading :
After Kirsch's love letter, I'm beginning to get a little disappointed in the coverage, as these reviews seem altogether too credulous. There are plenty of sky-high, arcing statements about redefining the form of the long novel, etc., etc., but I'm seeing little critical engagement beyond a few generalized insights that sound quite similar from review to review. Perhaps these reviewers believe that they can back up these broad statements they're making, but I do not see much evidence forthcoming from them.

Of course, part of this is a space issue.
       And:
So I don't know if this is purely a space issue or what, but it's disturbing that this book is being treated with a very hands-off approach, especially after The Savage Detectives met with virtually universal adulation. In my opinion, now that Bolano's wave is higher than ever, there is an immense onus on critics to be absolutely clear in their critique of future books from him. Since 2666 is about as hyped as any book will be this year, and such much of the hype is coming from people who are well-respected, there is an especially large responsibility to justify your praise or criticism of it.
       Our review comes in at just over 2800 words, a length we only reach about half a dozen times a year (out of ca. 200+ reviews), yet here that was barely enough to scratch the surface. (The last time we hit that many words was for Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a review in which we said close to everything that need be said about the book in question.) But how far can one dig, especially in an initial reaction (and, after all, in coverage that is meant to be informative (i.e. give potential book-buyers a sense of whether or not this might be something for them) rather than solely critical-analytical) ?
       But part of the fun of this book seems to us to be in how it will sink in -- far more so, we imagine, than The Savage Detectives (or the near-perfect literary exercise that is Nazi Literature in the Americas, which people really don't seem to know what to do with). As we mentioned yesterday, it seems obvious that this book will be part of the literary conversation for a while to come -- something actually discussed (if people get around to reading it, and not just carrying it around for show) in a way that The Savage Detectives never could. (As we've also noted, we're far more taken and impressed by 2666 than The Savage Detectives, and we wonder whether part of the discussion will see two factions form, one favouring each of these books .....)
        The hype is a problem, though we actually find the personal baggage -- the focus on Bolaño (and the fact that he done died) rather than the book -- far more irritating. Still, we think we can bear this flood of rather superficial coverage and wait for the book to grab hold of enough readers for a true dialogue and critical engagement to emerge. It is certainly a title we can well imagine re-engaging with -- repeatedly.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



       Diary of a Blood Donor review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Mati Unt's Estonian Dracula-variation, Diary of a Blood Donor.

(Posted by: complete review)    - permanent link -



previous entries (1 - 10 November 2008)

archive index

- return to top of the page -


© 2008 the complete review

the Complete Review
Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links