"I don't know how my writing will change," Nesbø later said.
"It will change ... I will not address the massacre itself.
But it's so influenced our way of thinking and our society. So it will be there in my novels somewhere, I'm sure."
Jan Kjærstad -- not strictly a crime writer, but the author of, for example, the Wergeland-trilogy (which begins with The Seducer) -- also weighs in:
Kjaerstad thinks it will take a long period of creative gestation before a good novel is produced dealing with 22 July.
In the meantime, he's doubtful that the search for societal answers will prove all that fruitful.
"People are going too fast and coming to very easy conclusions.
It is of course an illusion that you can fix something like this.
If someone goes into a bubble, you can't reach them. When they pass a certain level of rationality, they are beyond reach."
Daniel Sada -- born just a few months before Roberto Bolaño, who was a fan ("Of my generation I admire Sada, whose goals seem the most daring to me" he said in one of the interviews collected in Between Parentheses) -- has passed away; see, for example, the report in the Latin American Herald Tribune.
He hasn't broken through in English translation yet -- but might have been on the cusp: Graywolf is bringing out Almost Never -- the translation of his prize-winning 2008 novel Casi nunca -- in April; pre-order your copy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The Anagrama foreign rights page calls it a: "Rabelaisian tale of lust and longing".
To judge Bhagat by the yardstick of the quality, rather than the effectiveness, of his prose is to miss what he is trying to do.
He is saying something to young Indians that hasn't been said before in quite that way; he is reaching an extraordinarily large number of readers; and he is seeking to use his reach to bring about a change in the country, starting with the mindsets of young Indians.
This is why he must be read.
I don't know if one can give Bhagat quite that much credit, buy, yes, he (or rather his work) certainly can't be ignored.
There's also some interesting data here, as Tharoor notes that:
The typical Indian literary "bestseller" sells between 3,000 and 5,000 copies; a true success is one that remains in print for years, with successive reprints of 1,500 copies or so every nine or twelve months.
(Thus my Indian publishers tell me that my The Great Indian Novel, now in its 36th printing in India, has only sold a grand total of 41,000 copies in all of 22 years.)
In this modest market, Bhagat's novels reportedly sell over 1,00,000 copies in the first month after publication, mainly in small towns where literary fiction is rarely found, and keep selling
I went to Cairo to interview writers for I went to Cairo to interview writers for Talking Books, a BBC programme At one hotel we were told we could film whatever we wanted, as long as none of the material was political.
The prize-winning Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina has attacked the insularity of British authors, describing their work as "indigestible" for Kenyan readers, and suggesting that "you'd struggle to find any significant books that come out of Britain" about the African experience.
Expect to see a lot more of these, as lists of writers choosing "their best books of the year" begin to appear (in addition to the usual simple 'best books of the year' lists): first up, The Telegraph's Books of the Year 2011, which includes selections by John Banville and Ali Smith (but also the likes of Jeffrey Archer and even Orlando Figes).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Toon Tellegen's children's book, The Squirrel's Birthdayand Other Parties.
(Why review a book for young kids ?
As I mentioned last week, Judith Wilkinson's translation of Raptors -- a poetry collection by Tellegen -- was awarded the Corneliu M. Popescu Prize, and his "poetic, philosophical animal stories" sounded interesting.
This was the one the local library branch had.)
They've announced the winners of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards (though not, sigh, at the official site, last I checked ...).
Ronan McGreevy has the run-down in the Irish Times, in Heaney honoured at book awards.
The 'Irish Novel of the Year' went to Mistaken by Neil Jordan; get your copy at Amazon.co.uk, or pre-order at Amazon.com.
My favorite category ?
Definitely: 'Best Irish Published Book of the Year' -- though I'm disappointed there's not a corresponding award for the 'Best Irish Unpublished Book of the Year'.
They've announced the winner of the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books -- though ... well, do I even have to say it: not yet at the official site, last I checked.
Am I the only one who finds this situation beyond ridiculous.
Sure, they'll have it up by the time many of you read this, sixteen or twenty-four hours after the official announcement, but how hard is it to put it up immediately ?)
At The Independent Steve Connor reports that Expert in idleness is surprise winner of science book prize, as The Wave Watcher's Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney took the prize; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
"The trouble with the publishing industry in UK is that it is staffed from white, middle class backgrounds.
There's no diversity and the books being published are not representative of the multicultural UK population.
Some of the bigger publishers are making an effort, but in a recession time, they prefer to play safe," says Mehta.
It might take time, but Mehta is convinced that with enough promotion, South Asian publishing can gradually take its place with Bollywood in the UK market.
Brian Boyd is best-known for his Nabokov books (the latest one is Stalking Nabokov; see the Columbia University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), but it's exciting to hear him report: "I'm writing a biography of philosopher Karl Popper."
[Updated: A reader points me to this University of Auckland press release, noting that Boyd was recently awarded a Marsden Fund grant to the tune of NZ$687,000 (still over half a million in US dollars ...) to complete his work on Karl Popper: A Life.]
I very much enjoyed Malachi Haim Hacohen's Karl Popper: The Formative Years (1902-1945), and Popper's own autobiographical writings, but I certainly think Boyd can help complete the picture and very much look forward to this.
(Popper's Conjectures and Refutations ranks among the ten most influential reads of my rather well-read life, and while I'm generally unimpressed by meeting or seeing famous folk, having the opportunity to hear him lecture live was among the handful of my most memorable famous-people-encounters.)
On Monday Sotheby's auctioned off Bridge No. 114 by the fictional artist, Nat Tate -- Lot 214, which went for £7,250, considerably more than the estimate; click on the 'Catalogue Notes & Provenance' or see this print version (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) for more information.
Tate is, of course, the invention of author William Boyd -- who wrote Nat Tate: An American Artist: 1928-1960; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
For more on the picture and the auction, see also Maev Kennedy's report, Painting by mythical artist Nat Tate sells for very real £7,250 at Sotheby's in The Guardian.
I'm still working my way through many of the titles eligible for this year's Best Translated Book Award, but yesterday I received a galley of one of my most eagerly (and long ...) anticipated books (and surely a likely contender for next years's BTBA), George Szirtes' translation of Krasznahorkai László's Satantango from New Directions.
Well known from the Tarr Béla film-version (get the DVD at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), this 1985 (!) novel is one of the most over-due English translations of any contemporary author, and while several of his works have been published in translation -- most recently Animalinside -- and James Wood wrote about 'The very strange fictions of László Krasznahorkai' in The New Yorker a couple of months ago (abstract here) -- this might well finally be the breakthrough work for him.
Review of this (and several of his other works) to follow; the book is due out in February -- pre-order your copy at at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
So I got two other books in the mail yesterday, both of which I've been looking forward to: Birdbrain, by Not Before Sundown (Troll)-author Johanna Sinisalo (see the Peter Owen publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) and Gregory Rabassa's translation of José Maria de Eça de Queirós' The Correspondence of Fradique Mendes (see the Tagus Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
Curiously, both of these books, which have nothing in common, mention Poe on their respective first page: the Sinisalo has an epigraph by Poe, while the Editor's Note to the Eça de Queirós mentions him as an influence.
The fact that Poe's name appears on the first page of each of these texts is an odd if not unimaginable coincidence, but what is truly strange is that in both books his name is misspelt, as 'Edgar Allen Poe' (it should, of course, be: Allan).
I know that this is one of the most common literary misspellings, right up there with the incorrectly apostrophized Finnegans Wake, but still ... what are the odds ?
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jeffrey D. Sachs on Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity (or, as the British and Canadian subtitle has it, Economics and Ethics After the Fall), in The Price of Civilization.
They've announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the shortlists for the Whitbread Costa Book Awards.
There were 149 novel entries (considerably more than for the Man Booker ...), 87 in the first novel category, 123 biographies, 79 books of poetry, and 130 children's book entries.
(None of the shortlisted titles are under review at the complete review.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sembène Ousmane's Xala -- probably (deservedly) better known in its film version (also by Sembène).
(That's the 2782nd review at the site, by the way, and the first of a book whose title begins with 'x'.)
In other Senegalese literary news: it's good to see that Melville House is bringing out a re-issue of Cheikh Hamidou Kane's classic, Ambiguous Adventure, early next year; see their publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com.
So the shortlists for the New Media Writing Prize are apparently out -- though not at the official site, last I checked.
In The Independent Lisa Gee does report on the shortlists, in A beginning, a middle, but no end in sight -- but, in a bizarre but telling disconnect, doesn't bother to provide the URLs or links to the relevant content and sites.
Yeah, old media clearly still has a way to go until it comes to grips with how to handle 'new media'.
(Though given that the official site doesn't have the information and links up in a timely fashion either, this whole effort suggests that no one knows quite how to handle it yet .....)
Anyway, because at least the 'Online works'-category looks pretty interesting, here the shortlist -- with links !
The National Book Development Board and the Manila Critics' Circle held the 30th National Book Awards recently, honoring the: "most outstanding Philippine books of 2010"; at Business World there's a good run-down, in Best books of 2010.
The fiction prize -- the Juan C. Laya Prize for Best Novel -- went to Blue Angel, White Shadows by Charlson Ong; not readily available in the US in print -- but you can get it on Kindle.
(Disappointingly, Filipino fiction -- much of it written in English -- remains woefully underrepresented/published in the US and UK.)
Chinua Achebe was to be one of some 360 awardees receiving various Nigerian honors today, but, as for example PM News reports, Again, Chinua Achebe Rejects Nigerian Award -- that award being being named 'Commander of the Federal Republic', which he also rejected seven years ago.
Achebe said he is rejecting the award because the condition that made him do so seven years ago still exist in the country today.
"The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved.
It is inappropriate to offer it again to me.
I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again," Achebe said in the letter which he reportedly sent to Nigeria Ambassador to the United States.
In The Scotsman David Robinson profiles Philip Kerr, whose latest Bernie Gunther-novel, Prague Fatale, is coming out (in the UK; American readers will have to wait until April).
Get your copy of Prague Fatale from Amazon.co.uk -- or pre-order from Amazon.com.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Emmanuel Carrère's Lives Other Than My Own -- forthcoming in the UK as Other Lives But Mine.
(You'd think that US and UK publishers could agree on a title, but ... well, it's publishers we're talking about.
They couldn't agree on the title for his last book, either.)
Another attempt to offer search capability at the complete review ... yes, I've added a search box on selected page (the main Literary Saloon page, the main, new, and index pages).
Apparently visitors like to have search-capability, so I hope it's of some help/use.
And let me know if it causes you any problems -- previous attempts have found them to be more trouble than they're worth.
In The Bookseller Baldur Bjarnason looks In depth: Iceland's book market.
With its tiny population but relatively thriving literary culture, Iceland is a very odd case study, and Bjarnason offers an interesting overview -- especially also in considering what is changing.
Among the oddities of the Icelandic market: there's almost no backlist -- "Unless the book demonstrates a constant and steady demand, it will go out of print and be unavailable, even if a bestseller" -- and, in what won't be much comfort to authors elsewhere:
Finally, one of the biggest reasons why the Icelandic publishing industry is so vibrant is almost counter-intuitively that Icelandic authors are underpaid
They've announced that this year's Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for Poetry Translated from a European Language (the CMPPfPTfaEAL ?) has gone to Judith Wilkinson's translation of Raptors by Toon Tellegen.
Tellegen is apparently best-known for his "poetic, philosophical animal stories" -- see the NLPVF information page -- but this sounds interesting as well; see the Carcanet publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the shortlist for the Finlandia-palkinto -- the prestigious €30,000 Finlandia Prize, Finland's top literary prize -- and, as YLE note, Only women nominated for top literary prize, as: "men are conspicuous by their absence" on the six-title list.
Would that translations were just a matter of translation ... but, no: publishers like to fiddle further (almost always without giving readers the slightest clue as to what they've perpetrated).
For a cautionary tale, see Raphael Ahren's profile of translator Jeff Green in Haaretz, Taking matters literally.
Green describes his work on Sara Shilo's The Falafel King is Dead -- and reports:
He was proud of his originality, as were the author and the literary agent, he said.
But the publication house, the London-based Portobello Books, apparently was not.
"They rewrote it completely," Green fumed.
"I was extremely angry because the person who rewrote it doesn't even know Hebrew.
They just said, oh, we consulted the German translation."
He stressed, "I was very proud of the work that I did, and I still think the readers are smart enough to figure it out."
The publishers agreed to remove his name from the book, but in reviews and online articles Green is still occasionally mentioned.
(Yes, I have mentioned this particular outrage before, but it's certainly worth repeating -- and alas, not nearly as uncommon as one might wish for.)
See also the Portobello publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.co.uk.
At ekathimerini.com Olga Sella reports that in Greece Book market stagnating under crisis pressure [via].
Booksellers and publishers are both suffering -- and that of course also affects the (few) book buyers, as bookstores aren't able to stock as many titles, compounding the whole vicious circle.
Don't worry, this isn't likely to be the kind of stuff that becomes a mainstay of the site, but over the years quite a few of these titles have piled up hereabouts, so I figured it was worth having a look at a few.
Who knows ? -- maybe I'll get to the Harry Potters someday too.