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opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review


24 February 2021 - Wednesday

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021) | Walter Scott Prize longlist
Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne longlist | Bookselling in ... Istanbul

       Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021)

       American poet and founder of City Lights -- the bookstore and the publishing house - Lawrence Ferlinghetti has passed away; see, for example, the Lawrence Ferlinghetti page at City Lights, or the obituary in The New York Times.
       He was certainly a tremendously influential figure in American letters.

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



       Walter Scott Prize longlist

       They've announced the eleven-title-strong longlist for this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
       Always an interesting selection, which this year includes Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light, Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, and Paul Griffiths' Mr Beethoven.
       The shortlist will be announced at the end of April.

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



       Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne, for a work by a European author written in or translated into French -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Eight titles from seven countries -- though notably nothing from the UK, nothing translated from the German.

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



       Bookselling in ... Istanbul

       In Daily Sabah Matt Hanson writes On the passage of books: In a reader's market by Galatasaray.

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



23 February 2021 - Tuesday

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire longlists | Layli and Majnun review

       Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire longlists

       They've announced the longlists for this year's Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire, a French prize for fantasy fiction, in the broadest sense.
       Among the titles in the French novel category are Hervé Le Tellier's prix Goncourt-winning L'Anomalie and new books by local favorites Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès (see the Zulma publicity page) and Mathias Enard (see the Actes Sud publicity page).
       Titles in the foreign novel category -- somewhat disappointingly, all translations from the English -- include works by Jeff VanderMeer, Ann Leckie -- and Doris Lessing; yes, they've really only gotten around to finishing translating the Canopus in Argos-series now .....
       Impressively, there is also a translation category -- though here too, disappointingly, it's all also from the English.

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



       Layli and Majnun review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nezami Ganjavi's classic, Layli and Majnun, in Dick Davis' recent translation, now out as a Penguin Classic.

       This is the third of Nizami's (Nezami's) quintet under review at the complete review; I'd love to get to the remaining two as well, eventually.

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22 February 2021 - Monday

'Crime fiction from the Maghreb' | Bookselling in ... South Korea
Your Story, My Story review

       'Crime fiction from the Maghreb'

       At Al-Fanar Media M. Lynx Qualey finds that Crime Fiction From the Maghreb: Not So Hidden After All, a useful overview.
       Of course, too few of these are available in English -- but at least some titles are, including by Yasmina Khadra (e.g. Dead Man's Share) and Abdelilah Hamdouchi (e.g. Whitefly).

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       Bookselling in ... South Korea

       While many bookstores in South Korea continue to struggle, Park Ji-won reports in The Korea Times that Despite falling book sales, number of small bookshops increases six times, increasing from 97 in 2015 to over 600 now.
       She talked with Nam Chang-woo, and:
He said that falling book sales ironically played a part in increasing the number of small indie bookstores.

"I think there is no future for physical books because people don't buy them," he said. The reason why indie bookstores flourish in terms of numbers, he said, is because they serve various purposes. We can buy books about our interests there, but also meet people with shared interests, according to Nam. Bookshop owners' motives also vary. Designers open bookshops to sell books about design and design products. Some people even open a travel bookstore while running a travel agency, he said.
       I'm still kind of hoping there is a future for physical books .....

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       Your Story, My Story review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Connie Palmen's Sylvia Plath-Ted Hughes novel, Your Story, My Story.

       This 2015 novel got quite a bit of attention in Europe, but this recent English translation hasn't garnered much review-attention. I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that it's an AmazonCrossing title (certainly not a favorite of booksellers anywhere (very few stock this)). But the subject matter would seem to appeal to quite a large audience -- and, indeed, last I checked there were a staggering 1,223 customer ratings at the US Amazon.com for this title. (Few titles reviewed at the complete review get more than a handful of ratings.)

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



21 February 2021 - Sunday

Klara and the Sun countdown | Translating Bangla literature
Iranian Book of the Year Awards

       Klara and the Sun countdown

       The release of Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun, on 2 March, is one of the big publishing events of the year, and the PR blitz is beginning.
       You can read 'exclusive' extracts at both The Guardian and npr, and at The Guardian Lisa Allardice also has a lengthy profile, Kazuo Ishiguro: 'AI, gene-editing, big data ... I worry we are not in control of these things any more'. And The Guardian has now also asked a variety of authors to name the: 'Kazuo Ishiguro novels closest to their hearts', in My favourite Ishiguro: by Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin and more.
       Technically 'embargoed' until the second, there are nevertheless already reviews out from Publishers Weekly ("This dazzling genre-bending work is a delight") and Kirkus Reviews ("A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible"). I have my copy, but will wait to post a review until early March, with the first (no doubt huge) batch of reviews to link to.
       Meanwhile, pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

       A couple of Ishiguro titles are already under review at the complete review: Never Let Me Go and When we were Orphans.

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       Translating Bangla literature

       In The Daily Star Niaz Zaman looks at Navigating Bangla literary: Translations, addressing a variety of issue regarding translation from Bangla into English.

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



       Iranian Book of the Year Awards

       They've announced the Iranian Book of the Year Award winners, with President Hassan Rouhani handing out the prizes; see, for example, the Tehran Times report, Iran's Book of the Year Awards announces winners.
       The best novel prize went to Mansur Alimoradi's Mid-Day Incantations, which was also one of the three finalists for the Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award a few months ago; see also the Nimaj publicity page.

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



20 February 2021 - Saturday

Jaipur Literature Festival | Premio Primavera de novela
Publishing Scotland Translation Fund

       Jaipur Literature Festival

       The Jaipur Literature Festival has started; it runs through tomorrow, and then continues 26 - 28 February -- all virtually. Lots of good stuff, as always.

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



       Premio Primavera de novela

       They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Primavera de novela, another high-pay-out Spanish literary prize -- €100,000, for an unpublished novel -- and it is Los ingratos, by Pedro Simón; see, for example, the report at El mundo.
       Until 2011 this prize, inaugurated in 1997, paid out €200,000, but apparently they couldn't sustain that. Still, €100,000 is nothing to sneeze at either.

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       Publishing Scotland Translation Fund

       Publishing Scotland helps subsidize translations of works by Scottish authors into foreign languages, and they've just announced the latest batch of grants, awarded to fifteen publishers from ten countries.
       As they note, unsurprisingly: "Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart was a popular choice with applicants".
       Grants supporting translation are always helpful -- even for works written in the most-translated-from language, English -- so it's good to see Publishing Scotland dedicating some funds to this.

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



19 February 2021 - Friday

Sadean tax break in France | Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards
Dissipatio H.G. review

       Sadean tax break in France

       The French government has issued an official call for corporate help in order to purchase the manuscript of the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom (plus étui), dangling generous tax breaks as an incentive.
       The Ministry of Culture declared the manuscript a 'national treasure' in 2017, meaning also it could not be sold abroad, but now they're apparently hoping to purchase it themselves; the value is currently pegged at an impressive €4,550,000. I do wonder what companies will want to explain to their shareholders that they contributed to the purchase of this -- having the company's name associated with that in perpetuity; it is, after all, a very controversial (and problematic) text. But, yes, attitudes towards culture are different in France (at least than in the US) -- and there's no denying this object's cultural-historical significance.
       Beyond any literary considerations, the manuscript -- a roll, rather than the usual pile of papers -- is pretty neat itself; see some images at this Marquis de Sade site.

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



       Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards, and S. Hareesh's Malayalam novel Moustache -- which had preciously won the JCB Prize for Literature -- won the best novel prize.
       In almost (entirely ?) predictable knee-jerk reaction BJP state chief K. Surendran complained:
Kerala has not seen such a derogatory novel. The decision to award Meesha should be seen as an act against the Hindu community.
       Is there anything these guys -- and they do appear always to be guys -- don't see as insulting Hinduism ?
       (The right-wing BJP party is the nationally ruling party in India, but not exactly a force in Kerala: of the 140 seats in that state's legislative assembly they currently hold exactly ... one.)
       See the PTI report, here at The Wire, ‘Meesha’ Wins Best Novel at Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards; BJP Says Move 'Anti-Hindu'.

       Moustache does not appear to have a US or UK publisher yet -- though hopefully it will; meanwhile, see the Harper Collins India publicity page; it is available at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Dissipatio H.G. review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Guido Morselli's last-man-on-earth novel, Dissipatio H.G.: The Vanishing, recently out in English from New York Review Books.

       (I wonder if they worried the title might be too ... intimidating for US readers, and that's why they added the subtitle; it doesn't appear in the original Italian edition.)

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



18 February 2021 - Thursday

US bookstore sales 2020 | Fondazione Gesualdo Bufalino | GRM review

       US bookstore sales 2020

       As Jim Milliot reports in Publishers Weekly, Bookstore Sales Fell 28.3% in 2020 in the US, with sales down to US$6.34 billion compared to US$8.84 billion in 2019.
       While the numbers were improving towards the end of the year -- December sales were *only* down 15.2% -- the year-total numbers are pretty dismal, if not unexpected.

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



       Fondazione Gesualdo Bufalino

       Italian author Gesualdo Bufalino celebrated his centenary last year -- he lived 1920 to 1996 -- and in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Andreas Rossman writes about him and his hometown, Cosimo, in Das Palastgefängnis eines Poeten -- mentioning also the Fondazione Gesualdo Bufalino, which holds all things Bufalino, including his extensive archives.
       Impressively, they also have Bufalino's entire -- huge -- private library, always a fascinating thing to see, noting:
The consistency of Gesualdo Bufalino's personal library is about 10.000 volumes.
       And, yes, they also have his videotape collection -- "The video library has about 350 VHS videocassettes, mostly recorded by Bufalino himself". Not too many writer's archives you'll find with VHS-tape collections of this size, I imagine .....

       Only two Bufalino titles are under review at the complete review -- Tommaso and the Blind Photographer and Qui pro quo. (I read most of the others before I started the site.)

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



       GRM review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sibylle Berg's Swiss Book Prize-winning 2019 novel, GRM.

       The Kiepenheuer & Witsch foreign rights page says the US/World English rights are: "under negotiation". I imagine this will come out in English -- and am very curious how it will play in the UK, where it is set. As to whether US/UK publishers will also use subtitle, Brainfuck .....

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



17 February 2021 - Wednesday

The future of Japanese literature ? | '100 books from Eastern Europe and Central Asia'

       The future of Japanese literature ?

       In Metropolis Eric Margolis wonders: 'With Japanese literature in translation finally breaching feminist frontiers, what's next ?' in 2021: What is the Future of Japanese Literature ?
       The focus is very much on fiction in (mainly English) translation, which is of course only a slice of present-day Japanese literature, but it's always interesting to see what catches on and works abroad.

       Quite a few of the authors and books mentioned are under review at the complete review.

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



       '100 books from Eastern Europe and Central Asia'

       The Calvert Journal recommends no less than 100 books to read from Eastern Europe and Central Asia -- lots of good books that are indeed worth your attention.

       Many of these are also under review at the complete review; see the (overlapping) indices of Eastern European literature and literature from Russia and the former Soviet Union under review.

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



16 February 2021 - Tuesday

Swedish Academy Nordic Prize | Goncourt sales success | Urs Jaeggi (1931-2021)

       Swedish Academy Nordic Prize

       The Swedish Academy has announced the winner of this year's Nordic Prize, a SK400,000 (almost US$50,000) author prize for a Scandinavian author, and it is poet Eldrid Lunden.
       There doesn't appear to be any collection of her poems available in English yet, but you can find a short biography and some samples at Poetry International.
       Among the poems there:
Lacan's emptiness has not

turned up
       Not bad.
       The Nordic Prize has a good track record; recent winners include Dag Solstad (2017) and Karl Ove Knausgård (2019).

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



       Goncourt sales success

       Winning the prix Goncourt always provides a big sales boost -- and last year's prize certainly seems to have helped the sales of Hervé Le Tellier's L'Anomalie, pushing it to sales some twenty times what his books usually do. The top-selling Goncourt-winner of all times remains the 1984 winner, Marguerite Duras' The Lover, and with 1,630,000 copies shifted no one is going to catch up to that anytime soon, but, as reported at Livres Hebdo, L'Anomalie is now number two on the all-time list, having moved past ... the 2006 winner, Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones.

       Several Le Tellier titles are under review at the complete review -- see, e.g. All Happy Families. This one is forthcoming in English from Other Press, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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       Urs Jaeggi (1931-2021)

       Swiss sociologist and author Urs Jaeggi has passed away; see, for example, the swissinfo.ch report.
       He wrote several works of fiction, though none appear to have been translated into English; he also won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 1981.

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



15 February 2021 - Monday

Mourid Barghouti (1944-2021) | Iran Book of the Year Awards finalists
How to Order the Universe review

       Mourid Barghouti (1944-2021)

       Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has passed away; see the BBC report or, for example, the Maya Jaggi profile in The Guardian from 2008, A life in writing: Mourid Barghouti.
       He is probably best-known for his memoir, I Saw Ramallah; see the publicity pages from Anchor and Bloomsbury, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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       Iran Book of the Year Awards finalists

       As the Tehran Times reports, Iran's Book of the Year Awards announces nominees in literature category -- "the subsections of Literary Criticism, Classical Literature, Non-Persian Literature and Arabic Literature".
       Always interesting to see what gets translated -- and the Non-Persian Literature section finalists include translations of Andrei Bely's Petersburg, Olga Tokarczuk's Flights, and Richard Powers' The Overstory.

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



       How to Order the Universe review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of María José Ferrada's How to Order the Universe, just out from Tin House.

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



14 February 2021 - Sunday

Sergei Lebedev profile -- and top 100 Russian books of the 21st century ?

       Sergei Lebedev profile -- and top 100 Russian books of the 21st century ?

       Sergei Lebedev's Untraceable is just out, and in The Guardian Luke Harding profiles him, in 'In Russia, the new evil is rooted in the old evil': novelist Sergei Lebedev on Putin, poison and state terror

       Among the interesting bits: "he mentions a list of the 100 best Russian books of the 21st century, compiled by the Moscow literary journal Polka", which sounds intriguing -- as indeed it is: check out the 100 главных русских книг XXI века.
       Quite a few of these have been translated into English -- indeed quite a few are under review at the complete review -- including the number two title, Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus.
       The top title ? The conveniently just-translated In Memory of Memory, by Maria Stepanova; see the publicity pages from New Directions and Fitzcarraldo Editions, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       (I have an e-copy of this, but probably will wait to get a print copy before having a go at it.)

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



13 February 2021 - Saturday

'Crime Fiction' changing of the guard at NYTBR
Fragments of an Infinite Memory review

       'Crime Fiction' changing of the guard at NYTBR

       After an incredible run, longtime (since 1988 !) 'Crime Fiction'-columnist at The New York Times Book Review Marilyn Stasio is stepping down and, as The New York Times has announced, Sarah Weinman Becomes New Columnist for Crime Fiction as Marilyn Stasio Retires.
       No question that Weinman is incredibly well-qualified to succeed Stasio -- few people devour as much crime fiction as she does, or are as knowledgeable about the subject; given her background, from her early days as a 'lit blogger' -- she started her Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind (whose earliest incarnation I'm pleased to see is still online) in that early golden age of lit-blogging, not long after I started this Literary Saloon -- to her success as editor of crime anthologies (e.g. Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s (Library of America) and author of The Real Lolita, she is indeed, as the announcement has it, the: "obvious suspect" for the position.

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       Fragments of an Infinite Memory review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Maël Renouard's Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet, just out from New York Review Books.

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



12 February 2021 - Friday

Society of Authors' Translation Prizes | Prix Sade longlist

       Society of Authors' Translation Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's (British) Society of Authors' Translation Prizes -- prizes for translations from five different languages this year (it varies from year to year, as some of the other prizes are bi- or triennial), as well as the TA First Translation prize.
       The only winning title under review at the complete review is the winner of the John Florio Prize, for translation from Italian -- Jhumpa Lahiri's translation of Domenico Starnone's Trick.

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



       Prix Sade longlist

       They've announced the twelve-title strong longlist for this year's prix Sade; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       It includes the obligatory de Sade-related titles -- Alberto Brodesco's Sade et le cinéma and the Dictionnaire Sade (which is something I definitely want to see; see also the L'Harmattan publicity page) -- and quite a variety of other titles, including Garth Greenwell's Cleanness. Hard not to root for Murder Most Serene-author Gabrielle Wittkop's Hemlock, however; see also the Quidam publicity page.
       The shortlist will be announced on 24 June, and the winner on 2 October.

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



11 February 2021 - Thursday

PEN America Literary Awards finalists | PEN Translates awards
Folio Prize shortlist | An I-Novel review

       PEN America Literary Awards finalists

       They've announced the finalists in the eleven different categories for this year's PEN America Literary Awards.
       The only title under review at the complete review is one of the PEN Translation Prize finalists, Chris Andrews' translation of Kaouther Adimi's Our Riches (published as: A Bookshop in Algiers in the UK).
       The winners will be announced 8 April.

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       PEN Translates awards

       English PEN has announced their PEN Translates awards -- grants for the translations of 15 books, covering 14 countries and 12 languages.
       Only one previous book by any of these authors is under review at the complete review -- Daniela Hodrová's A Kingdom of Souls -- and I'm definitely curious about this new work of hers, but quite a few of the others look to be of considerable interest as well.

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       Folio Prize shortlist

       They've announced the eight-title shortlist for this year's Rathbones Folio Prize, awarded to: "works of literature in which the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression", regardless of genre.
       It looks like an interesting variety, though I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced 24 March.

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       An I-Novel review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mizumura Minae's 1995 An I-Novel, now in English from Columbia University Press -- certainly one of the most anticipated translations of the year for me.

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10 February 2021 - Wednesday

Premio Alfaguara | Naguib Mahfouz Medal shortlist | Taschen profile

       Premio Alfaguara

       I missed this a couple of weeks ago, but they've announced the winner of this year's Premio Alfaguara de Novela -- one of those ridiculously rich Spanish literary prizes, paying out US$175,000 -- and it is Los abismos by Pilar Quintana.
       Quintana recently attracted some notice in the English-speaking world as well, her The Bitch -- see the World Editions publicity page -- a finalist for the (American) National Book Award for Translated Literature last year.

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       Naguib Mahfouz Medal shortlist

       The American University in Cairo Press has announced the shortlist for this year's Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature -- the first time they have announced a shortlist.
       Six titles, selected from 270 submissions, with the winner to be announced in March and the winning title to be translated into English and published under the AUC Press imprint Hoopoe.

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



       Taschen profile

       At Deutsche Welle Sabine Oelze profiles publisher Taschen, in How Benedikt Taschen conquered the global book market.

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



9 February 2021 - Tuesday

ACFNY Translation Prize | Cowboy Graves review

       ACFNY Translation Prize

       They've announced the winner of the 2020/21 Austrian Cultural Forum New York Translation Prize, and it is Georg Bauer for his translation of Walter Kappacher's Hugo von Hofmannsthal-novel, Der Fliegenpalast ('The Palace of Flies'), which will now be published by New Vessel Press in 2022.
       I was one of the jurors for this prize, and am very pleased with this selection: it's a very fine novel -- and an excellent translation --, and will introduce a significant contemporary Austrian author -- awarded the 2009 Georg-Büchner-Preis -- to English-speaking readers. (Indeed, hopefully it will also bring its subject, the wonderful and underappreciated (in the US/UK) Hugo von Hofmannsthal, closer to to English-speaking readers; until then, the collection The Lord Chandos Letter (NYRB) is a good entry-point.)
       See also the New Books in German information page, or the (German) Residenz Verlag publicity page for Der Fliegenpalast.
       The online event described on the ACFNY page at Trafika Europe Radio on 28 February, with Andrew Singer speaking with Georg Bauer, along with contributions by Michael Maar, New Vessel Press publisher Michael Wise, and ACFNY director Michael Haider, certainly also sounds like it will be worth a listen.

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       Cowboy Graves review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the latest posthumous publication of Roberto Bolaño's work, the Three Novellas of Cowboy Graves, just about out in English, from Penguin Press in the US and Picador in the UK.

       Are the literary heirs and publishers capitalizing on the author's name in serving up this stuff, dug out from his archives ? Maybe -- but I have to say, in Bolaño's case, I don't have that much of a problem with this sort of thing: this book's publication seems to be justified on its quality alone. (I do take a bit more issue with it being presented as ostensibly being 'three novellas'; I don't really see that.)

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8 February 2021 - Monday

Burma | The Passion according to Renée Vivien review

       Burma

       Unlike in the United States, the sore but clear losers of recent national elections in Burma (also called Myanmar) were better-positioned to succeed with what amounts to a coup -- as they now, for the moment, have; see, for example, the BBC's explanation, by Alice Cuddy, of Myanmar coup: What is happening and why ?
       There's regrettably little Burmese literature available in English, but there are a few books from and about Burma under review at the complete review. No doubt, there will be more factual accounts and analyses written about this next sad chapter in the country's history, but I do hope we eventually get to see more fiction, too.

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       The Passion according to Renée Vivien review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Catalan poet Maria-Mercè Marçal's novel, The Passion according to Renée Vivien.
       This was published by the remarkable Francis Boutle, who really do a remarkable job bringing the literature of the 'lesser used languages of Europe' to English-speaking audiences.

       I was also amused to see that Salomon Reinach figures prominently in this story -- just a few months after reviewing Adrien Goetz's Villa of Delirium, in which his brother Théodore plays a major role.

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7 February 2021 - Sunday

Clayton Eshleman (1935-2021) | Japanese translation partnership

       Clayton Eshleman (1935-2021)

       Noted translator Clayton Eshleman recently passed away; no newspaper coverage I can find yet, but see, for example, the PennSound post In Memoriam: Clayton Eshleman (1935-2021) or Ron Silliman's reminiscences at his Silliman's Blog.

       Among Eshleman's most notable translations was the impressive volume of The Complete Poetry by César Vallejo.

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



       Japanese translation partnership

       The (UK) National Centre for Writing: 'announces new three-year partnership with the Tadashi Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities at UCLA', in Bringing fresh Japanese voices to the English-language readership. That sounds promising.

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



6 February 2021 - Saturday

PEN Nicaragua | Censorship in ... Iran
'The Interaction between Art and Literature' exhibit

       PEN Nicaragua

       As Beatriz García reports at Al Día, Nicaraguan literature loses footing amid Ortega regime conspiracy, as Nicaragua is one of the many countries that has recently enacted a toughened 'foreign agents law', adding immense bureaucratic hurdles to running an organization like the local chapter of PEN -- and now leading them to suspend their operations.
       See also the statement by PEN Nicaragua president Gioconda Belli, Why PEN Nicaragua Suspends Operations, here in the Havana Times.
       While practically every country has forms of such laws -- the US has long had a Foreign Agents Registration Act -- in recent years (too) many countries have expanded the reach of these laws and the obligations posed under them into areas far beyond the necessary, to the detriment of their citizens, who benefit from the services of many of these organizations; this is a prime -- though far from the only -- example.

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



       Censorship in ... Iran

       I missed that this came out a month ago, but Censorship of Literature in Post-Revolutionary Iran by Alireza Abiz certainly sounds of interest; see the Bloomsbury publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       At Qantara.de Gerrit Wustmann writes about it, in Iranian literature -- the censor's mindset. He notes, for example:
An analysis of the ministry's work in the years 1996 and 1997 shows that at least 10 percent of all fiction titles were banned. Most of the published books had sometimes undergone drastic revisions and deletions. This drives some writers to self-censorship; others are continually finding new ways to dodge the censor by concealing their content, finding new metaphors or working with old-fashioned terms that some censors may not be familiar with.
       Several of the tiles he mentions are under review at the complete review -- Mahmoud Doulatabadi's The Colonel and Shahriar Mandanipour's Moon Brow -- and see all the Iranian titles under review.

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



       'The Interaction between Art and Literature' exhibit

       An exhibit on The Interaction between Art and Literature has just opened at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in South Korea; it runs through 30 May.
       See also the fuller description of the exhibit at e-flux.

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



5 February 2021 - Friday

Dublin Literary Award longlist | Republic of Consciousness Prize longlist
Maigret Hesitates review

       Dublin Literary Award longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's Dublin Literary Award, nominated by libraries around the world (well, from 30 countries this year) for this, "the world's most valuable annual prize for a single work of fiction published in English, worth €100,000".
       This prize always has a notoriously long longlist, but at 49 titles it's almost manageable this year; last year there were 50 titles in translation alone on the longlist (18 this year), and a total of 156 books -- closer to the historic average.
       Only three of the longlisted titles are under review at the complete review -- oddly enough, three translation from German:        The shortlist will be announced 25 March, and the winner on 20 May.

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



       Republic of Consciousness Prize longlist

       They've announced the ten-title strong longlist for this year's Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses -- rewarding: "the best fiction published by publishers with fewer than 5 full-time employees" (in the UK and Ireland).
       Always an interesting list -- though I haven't seen any of these.
       The shortlist will be announced late next month, and the winner in May.

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



       Maigret Hesitates review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Georges Simenon's Maigret Hesitates, in the new (2019) translation by Howard Curtis, as part of the Penguin series.

       Late Maigret -- this is number 67 in the series, from 1968 -- is fairly dependable, but even so this was a very pleasant surprise.

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



4 February 2021 - Thursday

Victor Martinovich Q & A | Sapir Prize finalists | The Delivery review

       Victor Martinovich Q & A

       At Eurozine Serge Sakharau has a Q & A with Belarusian author Victor Martinovich, ‘Nowadays I often cry’.
       One of his novels has been translated into English -- Paranoia -- and another, Мова, is also under review at the complete review.

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



       Sapir Prize finalists

       In The Jerusalem Post they report that Five writers shortlisted for Sapir Prize for Literature, the leading Israeli fiction prize.

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



       The Delivery review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Peter Mendelsund's The Delivery, just about out from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

       I thought his fiction debut, Same Same, definitely deserved more attention, and while I wasn't quite as impressed by this one, he's definitely doing interesting things and I am curious about what comes next.

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



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