It was Gogo no Eiko, which hinges crucially on the homonym eiko, and can be rendered either 'An Afternoon's Glory' or 'An Afternoon's Towing'.
Mishima's English translator, John Nathan, was stumped (all he could think of was Glory is a Drag) and went to the author for help.
Whatever the title, it's a great first Mishima for those not yet familiar with the author's work (much of which is worthwhile, though we don't yet have any under review); get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
This is, of course, also the Mishima-title that was infamously turned into a film starring Sarah Miles and Kris Kristofferson; get your copy of the DVD at Amazon.com.
J.K.Rowlingís Harry Potter series, Persian translations of Khaled Hosseiniís The Kite Runner and A Thousand of Splendid Sun by Mehdi Ghabraii, books written by the American professional speaker Anthony Robbins and Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne are among the bestsellers in a bookstore on Mirdamad Street, located in a wealthy district in Tehran.
Elsewhere the picture is slightly different:
Other Iranian cities deal with major problems in book distributing and financial pressures.
Many of the bestsellers are editions that date back to two or three years ago.
A bookseller in the Iranian western city Sanandaj that is located 512 km from Tehran told MNA reporter that they do not receive the latest editions of books in a timely manner and then when they arrive, they are no longer up-to-date.
In Words Worth in the Sunday (Deccan) Herald Mita Kapur offers a solid overview of the rise of so-called 'literary' agents in India, finding:
Literary agents in India were and are a realistic need.
With the publishers receiving a barrage of manuscripts every day and not being able to find time to wade through the pile, we may have lost out on some exciting writing talent.
If an agent with a good nose steps in, it is a significant help to both -- the publisher and the author.
Still: far too rosy a picture, to our minds -- and giving literary agents far too much credit (i.e. any).
In Five Best in the Wall Street Journal 'Jackie Collins picks her favorite literary guilty pleasures' and that's just bizarre enough of a combination (
Jackie Collins, the term: 'literary', and the WSJ) that I couldn't help but take a peek; how embarrassing then to note that of the five titles she mentions I've read three (and The Godfather is not one of them).
Talk about misspent youth .....
(And now, of course, an instant widespread loss of what little literary street-cred I might have had .....)
But has this woman not picked up a book since 1974, when the last of these five came out ?
In the 1960s both A.S.Byatt and Penelope Fitzgerald taught at:
the Westminster Tutors, an institution that prepared students, almost all female, for the long-abolished entrance exams to Oxford and Cambridge.
We sat together in the small staff room on sagging sofas, amid a rich and pervasive smell of old upholstery and decaying dogs.
Esterházy Péter's Celestial Harmonies came out in English a few years ago (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk)
, but the essential sequel/revision, JavŪtott kiadás ('Revised Edition'), still has not; at hlo Lajos Jánossy writes about it, in The shadow of a father.
The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Helmut Krausser's Eros.
And, yes, he did write a novel titled Thanatos a decade before this one; still, it's a lot to burden a novel with.
We're fans of Tibor Fischer's fiction, and thrilled to hear that Alma Books will be bringing out a new novel by him, Good to be God, in September (pre-order your copy at Amazon.co.uk; no US listing yet).
In The Budapest Sun Robin Marshall profiles him, in The Fischer King: Good to be God; among the comments of interest: Fischer finds:
Budapest is still more relaxed [than London is], although public transport was better under the Communists.
Thatís the one thing I will give them, they knew how to make the trains run on time !
For some reason, I am very big in Russia.
They have translated all my books. Except one. Under The Frog
Sure she's lived in Japan for decades, and wrote her award-winning book in Japanese, but on the island(s) it's still big news: Yang Yi won the Akutagawa Przie, and the Yomiuri Shimbun thinks that now Japanese literature turns page with foreign writers, as this: "is a symbol of literature's globalization".
At least there are a lot of copies to sign, but we're not sure what this says about Salman Rushdie the writer, who apparently is taking inordinate pride in his speed-signing prowess, as reported by Maev Kennedy in The Guardian, in New writing success for Salman Rushdie:
Rushdie said he had signed 1,000 copies, on his most recent tour promoting The Enchantress of Florence, in a books warehouse in Nashville in 57 minutes.
The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Emilio Calderón's The Creator's Map.
We can sort of understand the fad for Scandinavian crime novels that's going round (the globe), but we're baffled by the widespread interest in (we hesitate to say popularity of) Spanish ... recent-historical thrillers of The Shadow of the Wind-variety (which seems to have been the title that really got this thing rolling).
The Calderón is nowhere near as terrible as Juan Gómez-Jurado's textbook-abomination God's Spy, but it's another title that seems to have bene fitted from
a publisher-frenzy, with editors presumably not having a very thorough look at the books themselves before outbidding each other.
How did the Penguin Press get stuck with this clunker ?
(And how could they have ever imagined that it might earn back whatever they shelled out for it ?)
Some of New Zealand author C.K.Stead's books do make it over one or the other pond (more to the UK than the US), and we have several of them under review (but would desperately like to get our hands on more).
We don't know why he's not more of an international star; at the very least, his books are always interesting.
Now the most recent additions to the complete review are our review-overviews of two of his recent books:
The collection Book Self: The Reader as Writer and the Writer as Critic
host Romanian fiction, poetry, literary criticism and literary history, and news about Romanian writing abroad, all translated into English, French, German, Italian and Spanish starting in May 2008.
Look for single author fiction issues every other month, with more free-wheeling issues in between.
We are proud to announce that the core languages will be joined by an evolving series of guest languages, including Dutch and Polish in our first issue.
So far they only have one month up, i.e. already seem behind schedule, but
the Ştefan Bănulescu-material is worth a look, and we do hope they can keep this up.
They've announced the winner of the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction, and it is The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, by Kate Summerscale.
We don't have it under review, but you can get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Statistics shows that most Turks do not read on a regular basis.
In fact, the average Turk spends only $10 a year on books.
According to the United Nations 2007 Human Development Report, Turkey ranks 101st among 177 countries for its level of adult literacy.
While Turks spend an average of five hours a day watching television, they devote only six hours in an entire year to reading.
Furthermore, only 4.5 percent of the population reported that they are regular readers.
But they're trying to encourage reading, nationally and locally:
In Trabzon local administrators have come up with their own campaign, called "Reading is Everywhere."
To set a good example, officials there have pledged to read for at least 20 minutes every day.
And, of course, there are the heart-warming success-stories:
Some judges have also gotten into the act by ordering minor offenders to read books.
Murat Şenol Demirci, who was convicted for firing shots into the air at a celebration of his friendís enlistment, was sentenced to reading four books every month for one year.
"It was a punishment, but I enjoy reading books; I will continue to read after I finish my sentence," Demirci noted.
We seem to have missed this when they first posted it last year, but Eurozine offer a look at Dutch literature in their 'literary perspectives'-series, as Margot Dijkgraaf's considers "Profound Holland" and the new Dutch, which is worth a look.
We have quite a few of these authors and titles under review -- though we haven't gotten around to Hella S. Haasse yet.
At the Words without Borders weblog Samantha Schnee reports on the recent WALTIC ('Writers' and Literary Translators' International Congress'), in Waltic on the Baltic.
Some confusion about the Nobel nominating procedure (national and international literary organisations also get to nominate candidates), and it seems way early for the Swedish Academy to have decided things (as we understand it, they usually meet in the fall to determine the winner), but maybe she knows a few things we don't:
No hints were dropped, but this yearís candidates have been notified and the decision is imminent, if it hasnít been made already.
If our source is any good, this may be Murakamiís year (in addition to his own work, Murakami has translated a number of English authors into Japanese).
Letís hope s/heís right.
In The Guardian Chris Arnot looks at Stemming flow of literary heritage across the pond.
Yes, you've read variations on this article a dozen times already, but it's always fun: the Brits worry yet again about the Harry Ransom Center (or 'Ransom Centre', as they have it in the article ...) and assorted other cash-rich American institutions buying up all their literary goodies.
This time Jim Crace is (again) the focus, and:
He did have another offer from what he will only call a "university in the Midlands", but the money was "a tenth" of what Texas offered.
"This'll be my pension," he says.
"But there's a serious issue here.
Stuff is bleeding out of this country.
I'm obviously flattered to have this interest from America, but I'm hardly the only British writer there.
allAfrica.com reprints Kelvin Odoobo's piece from The New Times wondering Where Are Our Fiction Writers ? in Rwanda (link likely only short-lived).
One way to promote reading and writing is to provide avenues by setting up Rwandan literary magazines, short story competitions with good monetary rewards, publishing contracts, or by organizing book fairs where local talent can be exposed.
Currently for a determined Rwandan fiction writer, the options are, limited.
Yet in a country like Kenya, you have only one literary journal that can be considered national.
In the whole continent, with an exception of African Writing, there is hardly a literary journal that can considered Pan-African in that it serves the concerns of the whole continent.
Considering Africa has a population that is close to 700 million, we are in terrible shape.
Or take the question of literary prizes.
Again in the West, there are literary prizes for all ages and regions in addition to national ones.
In Africa there are only a handful with the most prestigious being Western.
We still have to wait a bit longer for the English translation of Krasznahorkai László's
Sátántangó, but a new four-disk DVD set of Tarr Béla's film-version is coming out (in the US) next week; see the Facets Video publicity page, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com.
Dead writers are hot this summer. No point wasting oneís time with new authors.
Theyíre unpredictable, demanding.
They require lunch. No, what any literary agent worth his salt needs in 2008 is a classic author with form: famous, prolific and deceased within the past 70 years.
Quite interesting -- and with a variety of quotes, including from The Wylie Agency-man Andrew Wylie, explaining how he makes (or hopes to) cash out of these estates:
"Actually, itís easy to see where the value resides," Wylie says.
"Many estates, when they come to us, have been neglected.
The foreign rights, for instance, are spottily managed. And we take care of a lot of small problems on an international basis: thatís the specialité de la maison.
Itís like walking into a house that hasnít been cleaned in a decade.
We strip the bed, put on new sheets, fluff up the pillows, clean the kitchen -- and suddenly the house increases in value.Ē
Seems to us more like he's consistently just after the big paydays, ignoring readers' interests (i.e. simply having the books available and in print).
But if he claims the specialité de la maison is something different, who are we to say otherwise ?
In The Observer Jay Rayner follows many others in wondering Is it curtains for critics ?, given all the criticism and commentary available on the Internet.
Not much new, but somewhat in-depth -- and includes estimable literary weblogger Lynne Hatwell of dovegreyreader scribbles.
The most recent addition to the complete review is our review of Camille de Toledo's Coming of Age at the End of History.
The French title was Archimondain, jolipunk and apparently they toyed with titling the English edition Superhip Jolipunk, which certainly would have been more catchy.
Even the German solution -- Goodbye Tristesse -- seems preferable .....
The link to the list -- which they describe as "by no means definitive" -- at the SoA site didn't work, last we tried, but fortunately The Times prints the whole list of The 50 outstanding literary translations from the last 50 years (which sure makes it sound more definitive).
Certainly a lot of worthwhile titles here, and some particularly interesting translations -- but we have to wonder what Ralph Manheim's translation of The Tin Drum by Günter Grass is doing on it.
As we mentioned, at an event we attended last summer Grass had to strain himself to remain ... diplomatic regarding what he thought of that translation, and apparently he's been angling for a new one since the 1970s; Breon Mitchell's new translation is due out for the fiftieth anniversary of the book next year.
(On the other hand, at least they didn't select any of Manheim's Céline-translations .....)
Midnight's Children was, and is, an exceptionally good novel, which has a strong claim -- something that can only be said of one book in a generation -- to have changed the face of English literature.
Yet its influence on the fiction of the succeeding quarter-century has been almost entirely malign.