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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


28 July 2021 - Wednesday

Kawakami Mieko Q & A | The Last Days of Immanuel Kant review

       Kawakami Mieko Q & A

       At the arts fuse Izzy Smith has 10 Questions for novelist Mieko Kawakami (though, in fact, I count less than ten ...).
       The three titles by Kawakami translated into English are all under review at the complete review: Breasts and Eggs, Heaven, and Ms Ice Sandwich.

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



       The Last Days of Immanuel Kant review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Thomas De Quincey's The Last Days of Immanuel Kant, now also out in a nice pocket-sized edition from Sublunary Editions.

       This was translated into French by Marcel Schwob, and into Italian by Fleur Jaeggy, which certainly speaks for it .....
       There's also a movie-version: at The New Yorker Richard Brody enthused about it -- and you can see it, with English subtitles, at YouTube.

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



27 July 2021 - Tuesday

Booker Prize longlist | Caine Prize | And Other Stories profile
Henri Vernes (1918-2021) | Chitambo review

       Booker Prize longlist

       They've announced the thirteen-title longlist for this year's Booker Prize, selected from 158 (unfortunately not revealed ...) titles:
  • Bewilderment, by Richard Powers
  • China Room, by Sunjeev Sahota
  • The Fortune Men, by Nadifa Mohamed
  • Great Circle, by Maggie Shipstead
  • An Island, by Karen Jennings
  • Klara and the Sun, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Light Perpetual, by, Francis Spufford
  • No One is Talking About This, by Patricia Lockwood
  • A Passage North, by Anuk Arudpragasam
  • The Promise, by Damon Galgut
  • Second Place, by Rachel Cusk
  • The Sweetness of Water, by Nathan Harris
  • A Town Called Solace, by Mary Lawson
       I actually have two more of these title -- the Sahota and the Cusk -- and suppose I should try to get to them.
       The shortlist will be announced 14 September.

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



       Caine Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, "awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words)", and it is 'The Street Sweep', by Meron Hadero
       You can read the story here (warning ! dreaded pdf format !).

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



       And Other Stories profile

       At The Bookseller Caroline Carpenter reports on how And Other Stories celebrates 10th year with revamp and events.
       And Other Stories has certainly had an impressive first decade, and quite a few of their titles are under review at the complete review.

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



       Henri Vernes (1918-2021)

       Belgian author of the popular Bob Morane-books Henri Vernes has passed away; see, for example, the France 24 report.
       Apparently Morane featured in: "200 novels that sold 40 million copies worldwide"; several were translated into English in the 1960s -- The Dinosaur Hunters, for example -- but are hard to come by.

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



       Chitambo review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hagar Olsson;s 1933 novel, Chitambo, out from Norvik Press last year.

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



26 July 2021 - Monday

Jeanette Winterson profile | The Illustrious House of Ramires review

       Jeanette Winterson profile

       Jeanette Winterson has a new book coming out -- 12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next -- and in The Observer Claire Armitstead profiles her, in Jeanette Winterson: 'The male push is to discard the planet: all the boys are going off into space'.

       See also the publicity pages for 12 Bytes from Jonathan Cape and Grove, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       The Illustrious House of Ramires review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of José Maria de Eça de Queirós' The Illustrious House of Ramires.

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



25 July 2021 - Sunday

Jabbour Douaihy (1949-2021)

       Jabbour Douaihy (1949-2021)

       Lebanese author Jabbour Douaihy has passed away; see, for example, Saeed Saeed's report in The National, Lebanese novelist Jabbour Douaihy dies at 72: 'The world is dimmer'.

       Two of his novels were shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and another was longlisted.
       Several of his novels have been translated into English, but only one is under review at the complete review -- Printed in Beirut.

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



24 July 2021 - Saturday

Slavenka Drakulić on Irena Vrkljan

       Slavenka Drakulić on Irena Vrkljan

       At Eurozine Slavenka Drakulić offers A personal reflection -- on Irena Vrkljan, the Croatian author who passed away earlier this year.

       Vrkljan's The Silk, the Shears and Marina came out in Northwestern University Press' classic Writings from an Unbound Europe-series; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



23 July 2021 - Friday

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year | Noah Gordon
Dead Horse review

       Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

       They've announced the winner of this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and it is We Begin At The End, by Chris Whitaker; see also Sian Bayley's report in The Bookseller.
       See also the Henry Holt publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Noah Gordon

       An interesting look by Andrew Silverstein in Forward at The most phenomenally successful Jewish author you've probably never heard of -- Noah Gordon, who is: "a household name, just not in the United States".
       Debuting with a novel that spent 26 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, it's not like he hasn't enjoyed some considerable success in the US -- but that was back in in 1965, and it's true that ever since he's enjoyed much greater success (and sales) abroad.

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



       Dead Horse review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Walter Satterthwait's Raoul Whitfield-mystery, Dead Horse.

       One can see why Satterthwait was attracted to this character and material -- and the colorful (and once very popular and successful) Whitfield certainly seems like a subject deserving a thorough biography.

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



22 July 2021 - Thursday

Κρατικά Λογοτεχνικά Βραβεία 2020 | Arabic literature in translation
The Atom Station review

       Κρατικά Λογοτεχνικά Βραβεία 2020

       The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports has announced the 2020 State Literary Awards; see also the Athens 9.84 report, The State Literary Awards 2020 have been announced.
       The lifetime-achievement Grand Prize for Letters went to Jenny Mastoraki; the novel award went to Ilias Magklinis, for his Είμαι όσα έχω ξεχάσει; see also the Metaichmio publicity page.

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



       Arabic literature in translation

       At the Middle East Eye AJ Naddaff reports on the recent Bila Hudood literary festival, in From Babel to Berlin: How Arabic literature can unite the world, reporting that:
The three-day festival was packed with raw conversations on writing from an array of experts, leaving this writer at least feeling invigorated and hopeful for the future of Arabic literature in translation.
       Sounds good.

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



       The Atom Station review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness' 1948 novel, The Atom Station.

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



21 July 2021 - Wednesday

Georg-Büchner-Preis | Sylvia Plath | Bullet Train review

       Georg-Büchner-Preis

       They've announced that this year's Georg Büchner Prize -- the leading German-language author prize -- will go to Clemens J. Setz; he gets to pick up the €50,000 prize on 6 November.
       He's still under forty years old -- less than half the age of last year's winner, Elke Erb, when she got the prize -- and the youngest winner since Durs Grünbein got it in 1995.
       His novel Indigo appears to still be the only one of his works available in English; get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Sylvia Plath

       At the BBC Lillian Crawford considers, at considerable length, Sylvia Plath: Will the poet always be defined by her death ?
       She focuses on the biographical works about Plath -- but recall that Connie Palmen's Plath-novel Your Story, My Story also came out in English this year.

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



       Bullet Train review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Isaka Kotaro's Bullet Train, now also out in a US edition.

       No doubt the reason this has now appeared in English translation is because the movie version -- starring Brad Pitt -- is coming out next year.
       This is only the second Isaka novel to appear in English -- Remote Control came out a decade ago. Interestingly, while more of his work has been translated into French -- see, for example, the Éditions Picquier page -- apparently this one has not yet been published in French.

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



20 July 2021 - Tuesday

Tsitsi Dangarembga profile | AUC's Center for Translation Studies

       Tsitsi Dangarembga profile

       In Prospect Catherine Taylor finds: 'The Zimbabwean novelist is today admired worldwide, but hounded at home -- and by the very regime whose postcolonial pathologies she has spent a lifetime documenting' as she profiles Tsitsi Dangarembga's trials of freedom.

       The only Dangarembga book under review at the complete review is Nervous Conditions.

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



       AUC's Center for Translation Studies

       The American University in Cairo's Center for Translation Studies, launched in 2009, sounds like a great and useful institution -- so it's all the more disappointing that, as ArabLit reports, AUC Shuts Down Center for Translation Studies; that seems like a big loss.

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



19 July 2021 - Monday

The Luminous Novel review

       The Luminous Novel review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mario Levrero's The Luminous Novel, just about out from And Other Stories.

       I hope they go with this from the Publishers Weekly review for a blurb:
This is literature in the same way that John Cage’s 4’33” is music.

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



18 July 2021 - Sunday

International authors in English this summer | 'Translating sounds and signs'
Book-based sculptures

       International authors in English this summer

       In The Guardian several critics introduce the foreign "writers who are making waves", in Going places: The international authors to read this summer.
       Several of these nine authors have already had numerous titles published in English -- in fact, books by five of the nine are under review at the complete review -- so they're not exactly new to the scene; still, it's good to see some foreign writing being highlighted among all the summer-reading lists.

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



       'Translating sounds and signs'

       In The Hindu Mini Krishnan takes a look at Say it out loud: Translating sounds and signs, with a variety of interesting examples.

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



       Book-based sculptures

       Some neat pictures in The Guardian as Alice Fisher looks at Stephen Doyle's Sculptures that make novel use of books -- in pictures.
       Very impressive -- but it does also break my heart to see this kind of thing done to books.

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



17 July 2021 - Saturday

Ibrahim al-Koni Q & A | New Asymptote

       Ibrahim al-Koni Q & A

       At The Collidescope George Salis has A Bilingual Interview with Ibrahim al-Koni.

       Two of al-Koni's novels are under review at the complete review: The Fetishists and Gold Dust.

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



       New Asymptote

       The July issue of Asymptote is now up -- the usual extensive variety of great material, more than enough to get you through the weekend.

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



16 July 2021 - Friday

Japanese literary prizes | Miles Franklin Literary Award
The Millions' second-half of 2021 book preview
Midnight, Water City review

       Japanese literary prizes

       They've announced the latest batch of winners of the biannual Akutagawa and Naoki Prizes -- the best-known Japanese literary prizes. There were two winners for both prizes -- though so far English-language coverage has focused almost entirely on only one of the Akutagawa winners; see, for example, Satoshi Yamazaki's report in the Asahi Shimbun, Taiwan-born novelist Li Kotomi nabs Akutagawa Prize; for a report on all the winners you have to check out the Japanese coverage, e.g. the Bunshun report.
       Li Kotomi won the prize for 彼岸花が咲く島 ('An Island where Red Spider Lily Blooms'); she is only the second winner of the prize whose mother tongue isn't Japanese. Li shared the prize with Mai Ishizawa, who won for her book 貝に続く場所にて ('At a Place that follows Shellfish').
       The Naoki Prize was shared by Satō Kiwamu, who won for his テスカトリポカ, and Sawada Toko, who won for 星落ちて、なお.

       US/UK publishers have shown great interest in recent Akutagawa winners -- see how many are under review at the complete review -- and the Li sounds like a strong contender to get picked up sooner rather than later.

       (Updated - 23 July): See now also Nojima Tsuyoshi's profile at nippon.com Beloved Japanese: Taiwanese Writer Li Kotomi's Journey to Akutagawa Fame.

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



       Miles Franklin Literary Award

       They've announced the winner of this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award, and it is The Labyrinth, by Amanda Lohrey.
       It does not appear to be readily US/UK-available yet, but see, for example, the Text publicity page.

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



       The Millions' second-half of 2021 book preview

       The Millions has released their Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2021 Book Preview.
       Yes, it's dominated by the big books you probably have/will hear of anyway, but is certainly useful as an overview of such.

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



       Midnight, Water City review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Chris McKinney's Midnight, Water City, just out, and the first in a planned trilogy.

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



15 July 2021 - Thursday

2022 International Booker Prize judging panel
Marie-Claire Blais profile

       2022 International Booker Prize judging panel

       They've announced the judging panel for next year's International Booker Prize: translator Frank Wynne will chair the panel, and the other judges are: Merve Emre, Petina Gappah, Mel Giedroyc, and Jeremy Tiang.
       The longlist will be announced next March.

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



       Marie-Claire Blais profile

       At Quill & Quire Marie-Claire Blais reflects on her 10-book novel cycle, as Steven W. Beattie profiles the author.
       He notes that: "in English Canada, Blais is more spoken about (usually in hushed, reverent tones) than actually read". (Recall also Pasha Malla in The New Yorker, wondering a couple of years ago: Will American Readers Ever Catch on to Marie-Claire Blais ?.)

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



14 July 2021 - Wednesday

Warwick Prize entries | Hotlist 2021 | Birds review

       Warwick Prize entries

       The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation is awarded for a literary work written by a woman in English translation and published by a UK or Irish publisher.
       They also do what far too few literary prizes do (and, indeed, what every one of them should): reveal all the titles actually being considered for the prize, and they've now released this year's list of eligible titles entered (warning ! dreaded pdf format !). 115 titles, translated from 28 languages, with French easily leading the way (27), ahead of Spanish (15), German (9), and Dutch (8).
       The list also makes for a great resource to see what's been published in translation in the past year -- yes, only books written by women, but you (and I ...) read far too few of these, so it's good to see what the possibilities are.

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



       Hotlist 2021

       They've announced the German "Hotlist' for 2021 -- 30 titles selected from submissions by 179 independent German publishers (each gets to submit one title). Admirably, they also reveal all 179 submitted titles; somewhat disappointingly they only provide that information on a supremely annoying page where they divide the submissions into twelve categories and you have to click on the category to learn what the books are. (Lists, folks; simple lists. Really. Everything on one page. It's not that hard.)
       Quite a few of the 30 titles on the Hotlist are works in translation and/or available in English; as best I can tell, only two of the titles are under review at the complete review: How to Order the Universe by María José Ferrada and I am a Japanese Writer, by Dany Laferrière.
       Readers can now vote (until 20 August) for their favorites; the three top vote-getters are guaranteed a place among the ten finalists, from which the jury will then select the winning title.

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



       Birds review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Aristophanes' classic comedy, Birds -- the Loeb Classical Library edition, in Jeffrey Henderson's translation.

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



13 July 2021 - Tuesday

De Sade manuscript stays in France | The Death of Vazir-Mukhtar review

       De Sade manuscript stays in France

       In France The Ministry of Culture announces the acquisition by the State of major literary manuscripts that enter the collections of the BnF following their classification National Treasures.
       The manuscripts include several by André Breton, and the Marquis de Sade's (in)famous roll-manuscript of The 120 Days of Sodom. The latter was purchased for €4.55 million -- provided entirely by Emmanuel Boussard, facilitated by: "the use of the tax system for the acquisition of national treasures provided for in Article 238a 0A of the General Tax Code", i.e. he got a big tax write-off.
       The de Sade has now gone to the Bibliothèque nationale de France -- see their press release -- and:
This manuscript will be presented at a conference in 2022, bringing together specialists and intellectuals, aiming to question the figure of Sade, the reception of his work over the centuries and its reading today.
       Sounds good !

       See also the AFP report at France 24, France acquires de Sade's 'Sodom' manuscript for over $5 mn.

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



       The Death of Vazir-Mukhtar review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Yury Tynyanov's 1927 novel The Death of Vazir-Mukhtar, recently out from Columbia University Press in a new translation in their Russian Library series.

       The Vazir-Mukhtar of the title is Alexander Griboedov -- whose Woe from Wit is also available in the Russian Library.

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



12 July 2021 - Monday

Book sales in the US | Döblin's Mountains Oceans Giants

       Book sales in the US

       At Publishers Weekly John Maher has an overview of The Bestselling Books of 2021 (So Far) -- helpfully including actual numbers.
       None of the top twenty adult bestselling titles are under review at the complete review; interesting to see that Orwell's 1984 makes the top 20, at eighteenth, with 230,763 copies sold.

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



       Döblin's Mountains Oceans Giants

       Alfred Döblin's Mountains Oceans Giants is now out in English from Galileo -- see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and it's good to see some coverage at the Los Angeles Review of Books, where Alex Langstaff reviews it, in Alfred Döblin's Anthropocene.
       Great to see this English -- and, perhaps even more impressively, Manas, too; see the Galileo publicity page. I'm a big fan; so was Arno Schmidt (his library (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) was well-stocked with Döblin; he had a first edition of Manas); when Günter Grass endowed a literary prize, he called it the Alfred-Döblin-Preis (and it's had a pretty solid list of winners).
       I actually have these two at hand, in the original German; I really should get around to returning to them and reviewing them.

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



11 July 2021 - Sunday

Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne shortlist
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize | Danielle Mémoire Q & A

       Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne shortlist

       They've announced the three finalists for this year's prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne -- A cause de l'éternité, by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud; From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan; and The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi.
       The winner will be announced on 20 November.

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



       Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, awarded for comic writing, and it is The Accidental Collector by Guy Kennaway; see, for example, the British Comedy Guide report.
       See also the Mensch publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Danielle Mémoire Q & A

       At The Collidescope George Salis has This Is Not an Interview / Ceci n'est pas une interview: A Bilingual Interview with Danielle Mémoire.
       Dalkey Archive Press recently brought out Mémoire's Public Reading Followed by Discussion.

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



10 July 2021 - Saturday

US book sales | (Not) judging a literary prize
Barack Obama's summer reading list
Future War and the Defence of Europe review

       US book sales

       In Publishers Weekly Jim Milliot reports that in the US Print Book Sales Soar in Year's First Half.
       The numbers are impressive, with unit sales up 18.5% in the first six months of 2021 over the comparable period in 2020.
       Good to see adult fiction led the way, with an increase of 30.7% -- but:
The big story in adult fiction was the strength of the graphic novel format. Unit sales soared 178.5% in the first half of the year, rising to 16.2 million copies sold, making graphic novels the second-largest adult fiction subcategory. Graphic novels made up nearly 20% of adult fiction unit sales in the first six months of 2021, compared to 9.3% last year.
       Graphic novels made up nearly 20% of adult fiction unit sales ?!??

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



       (Not) judging a literary prize

       In the Sydney Morning Herald David Free writes on Judge a literary prize ? No thanks, they're all a giant waste of time.
       He finds:
They pose as trusty gauges of literary merit, but they’re thoroughly random and subjective. You get a sudden appreciation of that when a stranger rings you up one day and asks you to judge one yourself.
       He also suggests:
Not that I advocate the abolition of all literary awards. But if I had the funds to establish my own prize, I’d introduce some major tweaks. For instance, I’d lose the judging panel. I’d have one judge only – a different person each year, chosen strictly on the strength of his or her literary expertise.
       This is actually not unheard of: German author-prizes such as the Kleist-Preis and the Erich Fried Preis work this way.

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



       Barack Obama's summer reading list

       Former American president Barack Obama's has released his summer reading list.
       Two of the titles are under review at the complete review: David Diop's At Night All Blood Is Black and Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun -- though I am also looking forward to seeing the not-yet-out-in-the-US When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut.

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



       Future War and the Defence of Europe review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of John R. Allen, Frederick Ben Hodges, and Julian Lindley-French's Future War and the Defence of Europe, just out from Oxford University Press.

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



9 July 2021 - Friday

Premio Strega | PEN Translates awards | Keith Ridgway Q & A

       Premio Strega

       They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Strega, the leading Italian literary prize, and it is Due vite by Emanuele Trevi; see also the Neri Pozza publicity page.
       Due vite received 187 of the 589 votes; runner-up Borgo Sud by Donatella Di Pietrantonio got 135 votes.
       World Editions brought out his Something Written a couple of years ago; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       PEN Translates awards

       English PEN has announced this year's twelve PEN Translates awards.
       Some great-sounding titles here -- and great to see a translation from the Tibetan (by Christopher Peacock), Flowers of Lhasa by Tsering Yangkyi, as well as more by Daša Drndić -- Canzone di Guerra, translated by Celia Hawkesworth, coming from Istros Books in the UK and New Directions in the US.

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



       Keith Ridgway Q & A

       At The Paris Review's the Daily Christopher Notarnicola has In the Gaps: An Interview with Keith Ridgway.
       Ridgway's A Shock is just out; I hope to get to it -- and Hawthorn & Child -- soon.

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



8 July 2021 - Thursday

South Korean literature abroad | Adorable review

       South Korean literature abroad

       In The Korea Herald Kim Hae-yeon reports that: 'New head of Literature Translation Institute of Korea vows to break stereotype of Korean literature', in Giving Korean work a place in global literature.
       Kwak Hyo-hwan is the new president of the Literature Translation Institute of Korea.
       Interesting to hear that:
When asked if there are any plans to work with North Korean literature, Kwak said, “We face two big problems that prevent us from opening a dialogue on the literature of North Korea. First is the ideological differences of the two sides. Second, there is no way to solve the copyright issues.”
       But I have my doubts about this:
A close examination of global readers’ interest in North Korean literature shows that the interest is not in the works and the authors, but in that country’s reality and the peoples’ lives, according to Kwak.
       My interest is most definitely in the works (less so the authors).

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



       Adorable review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ida Marie Hede's Adorable, just out in English from Lolli Editions.

       This is yet another Danish title from Lolli that shows just how interesting writing, especially by women, in that country currently is. (Olga Ravn's The Employees seems to be their break-out title so far, but the whole list is worth a look.)
       As far as this one goes: if my review doesn't convince you, maybe this quote from this one will:
In the physical sense alone, Adorable is a beautiful book. A minimalist graphic decorates the cover, the blurb is subtly embossed with a textured pattern, and the cover flaps lend it a sense of classiness. Don't be fooled: the stylish appearance belies one of the most viscerally nauseating books released this year.
       Viscerally nauseating ! How can you resist ?
       (Note that I didn't quite see it that way, but, yes, there is a ... graphic element to the work.)

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



7 July 2021 - Wednesday

New Royal Society of Literature fellows
A History of Modern Chinese Popular Literature | The Sword of Justice review

       New Royal Society of Literature fellows

       The Royal Society of Literature has announced the election of 44 new Fellows and Honorary Fellows.

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



       A History of Modern Chinese Popular Literature

       I have a copy of Fan Boqun's very interesting A History of Modern Chinese Popular Literature, but only in an e-format, which has so far kept me from properly reviewing it; it's good to see it now reviewed, by John A. Crespi, at the always useful MCLC Resource Center.
       See also the Cambridge University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       The Sword of Justice review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Leif GW Persson's third Evert Bäckström-novel, The Sword of Justice.

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



6 July 2021 - Tuesday

Lispector's Translators | Richard Lewontin (1929-2021)
Grands Prix de la SGDL

       Lispector's Translators

       In the Los Angeles Review of Books Sarah McEachern considers The Many Souls of Clarice Lispector's Translators.

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



       Richard Lewontin (1929-2021)

       Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin has passed away; see, for example, Jerry Coyne's remembrance of his Ph.D. advisor at his Why Evolution is True weblog.

       Lewontin wrote a great deal for The New York Review of Books -- and two of his books are under review at the complete review: The Triple Helix and It Ain't Necessarily So.

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



       Grands Prix de la SGDL

       The Société des gens de lettres has announced the winners of six of their seven 2021 Grands Prix de la SGDL (with the Grand Prix SGDL-Ministère de la Culture pour l'Œuvre de traduction to be announced in September).
       The life's work/author prize, the Grand Prix SGDL pour l'Œuvre, went to Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès, author of Where Tigers are at Home and Island of Point Nemo.

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



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