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The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 November 2018

11 November: 'Difficult' books | Library of Bangladesh
12 November: Swiss Book Prize | Translation is ... hot ? | Blue Label review
13 November: FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year | Grand prix de littérature américaine | Kirkus' Best Fiction in Translation - 2018 | Charles Bovary, Country Doctor review
14 November: Warwick Prize for Women in Translation | Newcomer review
15 November: Fernando del Paso (1935-2018) | Goldsmiths Prize | (American) National Book Awards | Baillie Gifford Prize | Farewell, My Orange review
16 November: Premio Cervantes | Salzburg Festival | DSC Prize shortlist | The History of Akbar (I) review
17 November: Cundill History Prize | Tawada Yoko Q & A | Daša Drndić remembrance | 'The Story of The Untranslated'
18 November: Bookselling in ... South Korea | Insurrecto review
19 November: Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis | Mythological fiction in India
20 November: International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist | NYTBR 100 Notable Books of 2018 | Scotiabank Giller Prize | The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years review

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20 November 2018 - Tuesday

International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist
NYTBR 100 Notable Books of 2018 | Scotiabank Giller Prize
The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years review

       International DUBLIN Literary Award longlist

       They've announced the longlist -- i.e. the nominated titles -- for the €100,000 2019 International DUBLIN Literary Award, 141 books nominated by libraries across (some of ...) the world, with 39 of them novels in translation, translated from 16 languages (all down from last year's 150 nominated titles, 48 of which were translations, translated from 18 languages).

       Several of the nominated titles are under review at the complete review -- including two that aren't translations:        As usual, the list is a very mixed bag. It's good to see some books that haven't attracted much attention -- at least in the US -- get a nod (Kruso and The Consequences, for example), while there are some top-notch literary titles (Compass and Radiant Terminus, among others). But also in the running: E.L. James' Darker -- enough to call the whole exercise into question .....

       As is consistently the case with this prize, certain languages -- basically the non-European ones ... -- are woefully under-represented. While there is admirably a translation from the Māori (Sleeps Standing Moetu by Witi Ithimaera), and one from the Korean, there are no translations from: Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, or any of the Indian languages, among others -- rather disappointing for a prize styling itself as international .....

       The (much shorter) shortlist will be announced 4 April of next year, and the winner on 12 June.

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



       NYTBR 100 Notable Books of 2018

       The New York Times Book Review has announced its 100 Notable Books of 2018.
       Nine titles are translations -- all fiction/poetry -- while four titles are under review at the complete review:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Scotiabank Giller Prize

       They've announced that Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan, has won this years C$100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize.
       See also the publicity pages from Alfred A. Knopf and Serpent's Tail, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ricardo Piglia's The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years, the second in his semi-fictional autobiographical trilogy, just out from Restless Books.

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



19 November 2018 - Monday

Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis | Mythological fiction in India

       Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis

       They've announced the winners of this year's Luxembourg Book Prize -- not yet at the official site, it seems, but see for example Les lauréats du Lëtzebuerger Buchpräis révélés in the Luxemburger Wort.
       The top literary prize went to Kuerz Chronik vum Menn Malkowitsch sengen Deeg an der Loge, a 500-page Luxembourgish novel by Nico Helminger; see the Édition Guy Binsfeld publicity page.

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



       Mythological fiction in India

       At Scroll.in Urmi Chanda-Vaz offers a 'select list of what to read in the genre if you are looking for unique versions', in reporting how Mythological fiction in India is finally heading off the beaten path.

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



18 November 2018 - Sunday

Bookselling in ... South Korea | Insurrecto review

       Bookselling in ... South Korea

       In Publishers Weekly Ed Nawotka reports on how In South Korea, Booksellers Look for Ways to Compete.
       Depressingly:
“Book sales in Korea are steadily in decline, of 3%–4% a year,” said Han Woo Lee, CEO of Kyobo, who blamed the ubiquity of high-speed internet as one reason for the decline.
       Of course, there's always that possibility for market-expansion:
One opportunity for growth booksellers foresee is finding new book buyers in North Korea—should reconciliation between the two nations ever happen.

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



       Insurrecto review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Gina Apostol's Insurrecto, just out from Soho Press.

       A lot of great odds and ends -- and bonus points for the shout-out to:
Wilfrido Nolledo, author of But for the Lovers, his Philippine masterpiece reissued too late by Dalkey Archive Press and out of print, of course, in his home country
       (See also the Dalkey publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)

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



17 November 2018 - Saturday

Cundill History Prize | Tawada Yoko Q & A
Daša Drndić remembrance | 'The Story of The Untranslated'

       Cundill History Prize

       They've announced that this year's winner of the Cundill History Prize -- "the world's leading history prize (US$75,000)" -- goes to The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World, by Maya Jasanoff.
       See the publicity pages from Penguin and William Collins, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Tawada Yoko Q & A

       At The Paris Review's The Daily weblog Alexandra Pereira has Between Two Languages: An Interview with Yoko Tawada -- the author whose The Emissary (published in the UK as The Last Children of Tokyo), in Margaret Mitsutani's translation, was just awarded the (American) National Book Award for Translated Literature.

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



       Daša Drndić remembrance

       In Granta's 'The Editor's Chair'-series, Katharina Bielenberg writes On Daša Drndić -- the author of Belladonna and Doppelgänger.

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



       'The Story of The Untranslated'

       The Untranslated is: "A blog about literature not yet available in English", pointing to many interesting titles not yet available in English (so obviously you have it bookmarked ...), and now posts about its Five-Year Blog Anniversary: The Story of The Untranslated, giving you lots more background -- and a: "personal top 10 of great untranslated novels".

       (Quite a few of the titles under review at the complete review are not available in English yet, either -- a lot of relatively minor things but certainly also some very worthy titles.)

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



16 November 2018 - Friday

Premio Cervantes | Salzburg Festival
DSC Prize shortlist | The History of Akbar (I) review

       Premio Cervantes

       They've announced that the 2018 Premio Cervantes -- the leading Spanish-language author prize, paying out €125,000 -- will go to Uruguayan poet Ida Vitale.
       If the name sounds familiar, it may be because I just mentioned her some two months ago, on the occasion when they announced she would be getting this year's US$150,000 Premio FIL de Literatura en Lenguas Romances, an author-prize for any Romance-language author -- not quite as well-established as the Cervantes, but with a decent winners-list of its own.
       Just turned 95 (!), Vitale will pick up the Premio FIL de Literatura on the 24th, at the Guadalajara International Book Fair; she'll have to wait until next April for the Cervantes ceremony and that check .....
       As I noted previously: she's not very well-known in the English-speaking world, and very little has been published in translation; it'll be interesting to see if this unheard of one-two punch of highest honors will smooth the way for more to appear.

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



       Salzburg Festival

       They've announced the programme for next year's Salzburg Festival -- the summer Salzburger Festspiele -- and in The New York Times Michael Cooper has a good overview of what's coming, in The Salzburg Festival is Planning a Mythic Summer.
       As always, the music is the big draw -- and it's an impressive selection, including performances of Mahler's Fifth and Ninth, Bruckner's Seventh, Strauss' Salome, and the intriguing-sounding Medeamaterial -- Pascal Dusapin's operatic take on Heiner Müller's text. Of course, there will also be theatrical performances -- the traditional open-air Jedermann and Ödön von Horváth's Youth Without God, for example.
       Oh, yes -- and one more thing: yours truly in performance: on 11 August you can attend my lecture On Reading, as part of the 'Drama Investigations'-series. [Note that I suspect (hope !) that the times listed -- not just of my event -- are off by a bit; I'm quite certain the performances will be at more reasonable and realistic hours.]
       The lecture will be in German (so, yes, it will actually be: Über das Lesen), but I expect to put together a written version, in English, afterwards, maybe somewhat expanded from the talk itself, which I'll make available in one form or another.
       I'm honored to have been invited to participate, and I very much look forward to it.

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



       DSC Prize shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
       I've only seen one of these -- Mohsin Hamid's Exit West -- but not even that one is under review at the complete review (yet).
       The winner of the US$25,000 prize will be announced in late January.

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



       The History of Akbar (I) review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the first volume of Abu'l-Fazl's The History of Akbar, published in Harvard University Press' Murty Classical Library of India.

       The fifth volume will be coming out next month, so I still have some catching up to do .....

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



15 November 2018 - Thursday

Fernando del Paso (1935-2018) | Goldsmiths Prize
(American) National Book Awards | Baillie Gifford Prize
Farewell, My Orange review

       Fernando del Paso (1935-2018)

       Sad to hear that the great Mexican author Fernando del Paso has passed away; see, for example, the AP report.
       Only his Palinuro of Mexico is under review at the complete review -- but News from the Empire is also an impressive work.

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



       Goldsmiths Prize

       They've announced that The Long Take by Robin Robertson has won this year's Goldsmiths Prize, which rewards: "fiction that breaks the mould or extends the possibilities of the novel form".
       The US edition is actually due out next week; see also the Picador publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

       (Updated): See now also chair of judges Adam Mars-Jones' explanation Why we chose Robin Robertsonís The Long Take as the winner of the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize at the New Statesman.

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



       (American) National Book Awards

       They announced the winners of this year's (American) National Book Awards last night.
       The resurrected -- after several decades absence -- translation prize went to Margaret Mitsutani's translation of Tawada Yoko's The Emissary (published in the UK as The Last Children of Tokyo).
       The fiction prize went to The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez.

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



       Baillie Gifford Prize

       They've announced that Chernobyl, by Serhii Plokhy, has won this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction.
       See also the publicity pages from Basic Books and Allen Lane, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Farewell, My Orange review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Iwaki Kei's Farewell, My Orange, just out in English from Europa Editions.

       Interestingly, Europa write the author's name as 'Iwaki Kei' -- the 'Japanese' order (sur/family-name first), which has almost completely fallen out of use among US/UK publishers (except for academic presses). (Japanese names are now almost invariably written 'Western'-style -- 'Haruki Murakami'; with Korean names the trend is towards Western-style, but it seems to be about half-half; with Chinese Western style is very much the exception ('Cixin Liu' is the most prominent example).)
       I'm all for the Japanese style for Japanese names (which remains the house style at the complete review) -- but consistency seems more important to me, and since Europa publishes, for example, the work of 'Hiromi Kawakami' this seems an ... unusual choice. (Also, booksellers are going to shelve this under 'K', aren't they ? Not librarians, but booksellers will.))

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



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14 November 2018 - Wednesday

Warwick Prize for Women in Translation | Newcomer review

       Warwick Prize for Women in Translation

       They've announced the winner of this year's Warwick Prize for Women in Translation -- and it is Belladonna, by Daša Drndić, translated by Celia Hawkesworth.
       Certainly a worthy winner.

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



       Newcomer review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Higashino Keigo's Newcomer, just out in English.

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



13 November 2018 - Tuesday

FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year | Grand prix de littérature américaine
Kirkus' Best Fiction in Translation - 2018 | Charles Bovary, Country Doctor review

       FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year

       They've announced that Bad Blood, by John Carreyrou -- the story of the Theranos-scam/fiasco --, has been named this year's Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.
       See the Knopf publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Grand prix de littérature américaine

       The (American) National Book Foundation will announce the winners of this year's National Book Awards tomorrow -- but the French have their own ideas, and they've now announced that The Overstory, by Richard Powers, has won this year's Grand prix de littérature américaine; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.

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



       Kirkus' Best Fiction in Translation - 2018

       Kirkus has announced its Best Fiction of 2018 lists in quite a few categories -- including: Best Up-To-The-Minute Fiction, as well as Best Fiction in Translation.
       Several of these 'Best Translations' are already under review at the complete review:        And I should be getting to more -- certainly the Barba, and the Higashino (later today, as a matter of fact ...).
       A somewhat odd choice is the re-issue of Kono Taeko's Toddler Hunting, since ... well, it's a re-issue; Kirkus even reviewed it back in 1996 (and then again this year).

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



       Charles Bovary, Country Doctor review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jean Améry's Portrait of a Simple Man, Charles Bovary, Country Doctor -- an alternate-Bovary, combining both fiction and essay, recently out in English from New York Review Books.

       Améry isn't the first to focus on his side of the story -- recall the Monsieur Bovarys by Laura Grimaldi (1991) and Antoine Billot (2006) -- but the variation I really want to see now is Claro's Madman Bovary; see, for examples, the publicity pages at Gallimard and Actes Sud.
       (Claro's Electric Flesh has been translated into English, but I'm surprised more hasn't been.)

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



12 November 2018 - Monday

Swiss Book Prize | Translation is ... hot ? | Blue Label review

       Swiss Book Prize

       They've announced that Die sanfte Gleichgültigkeit der Welt, by Peter Stamm, has won this year's (German-language) Swiss Book Prize.
       This isn't available in English yet (see the S.Fischer publicity page for now), but most of Stamm's work has been/gets translated (Agnes, etc.), so this probably will be soon too.

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



       Translation is ... hot ?

       This year the (American) National Book Foundation added (back) a translation category to their National Book Awards (which will be announced this week), and at The Atlantic Liesl Schillinger takes the occasion to suggest The Hottest Trend in American Literature Isn't From the U.S..
       There certainly has been a resurgence of interest in literature in translation, but Schillinger doesn't note the previous waning (until ca. 2000) before the current waxing -- which included the National Book Awards previously having a translation category, discontinued in 1984. And for all the Knausgaard-Ferrante excitement, aren't there books like this -- more or less 'serious' literature that sells well and/or gets a lot of coverage -- every decade or so ? Ten-twelve years ago the craze was all Bolaño, in the late-1990s Sebald, in the mid-80's it was The Name of the Rose.

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



       Blue Label review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Venezuelan author Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles' Blue Label.

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



11 November 2018 - Sunday

'Difficult' books | Library of Bangladesh

       'Difficult' books

       In The Guardian Sam Leith writes at some length on Pretentious, impenetrable, hard work ... better ? Why we need difficult books -- a sensible overview of the subject of 'difficult' books.

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



       Library of Bangladesh

       Reporting from the Dhaka Lit Fest Qazi Mustabeen Noor writes about the Library of Bangladesh: Taking translation to the world.
       The Dhaka Translation Center-based initiative: "has brought some much-needed order and cohesion that Bangla to English translation has for so long demanded".
       Several books have already been published by Bengal Lights Books: see their publicity pages for Two Novellas by Syed Shamsul Haq (which is also published by Seagull Books (as Blue Venom. Forbidden Incense)), Beloved Rongomala by Shaheen Akhtar, and Selected Poems by Shaheed Quaderi.

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



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