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the Literary Saloon at the Complete Review
opinionated commentary on literary matters - from the complete review

The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 April 2024

11 April: Most challenged books in the US, 2023 | Lauren Oyler Q & A | The Homeless review
12 April: AI and writers/translators | John McGlynn Q & A | Whiting Awards | Guggenheim Fellowships
13 April: Wolfgang-Koeppen-Preis | The Red Handler review
14 April: Faroese Literature | John Braine profile
15 April: Mater 2-10 Q & A | Gabriel review
16 April: Max Lawton profile | Deep Vellum profile | More Salome variations
17 April: Sami Rohr Prize | Walking books
18 April: Republic of Consciousness Prize | Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist | Les aérostats review
19 April: New Asymptote
20 April: Daniel Dennett (1942-2024) | China's hottest genre ? | Salome in Dublin

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20 April 2024 - Saturday

Daniel Dennett (1942-2024) | China's hottest genre ? | Salome in Dublin

       Daniel Dennett (1942-2024)

       Philosopher Daniel Dennett has passed away; see, for example, the obituary in The New York Times.

       The only one of his books under review at the complete review is his Breaking the Spell.

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

       China's hottest genre ?

       At Sixth Tone Zhou Min reports on How 'Farming Literature' Became China's Hottest Genre:
This genre centers around a female protagonist’s efforts to get rich while battling various villains -- mainly in the guise of demanding relatives -- and has become widely popular with Chinese web novel readers and film and TV viewers,

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

       Salome in Dublin

       The title of my novel Salome in Graz refers to a 1906 performance of the Richard Strauss opera, but if you want to get in the mood for reading it there's now another recent perfomance available for free viewing online: via I'm pointed to the recent Irish National Opera production that's now viewable at Operavision; you can watch it there through 19 October.

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

19 April 2024 - Friday

New Asymptote

       New Asymptote

       The April issue of Asymptote is now up -- a ton of content, enough to keep you covered for the weekend.
       And just a few days ago I mentioned that Faroese Literature was getting some good attention -- and there's a good dose of Literature from the Faroe Islands in this issue as well.

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

18 April 2024 - Thursday

Republic of Consciousness Prize | Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist
Les aérostats review

       Republic of Consciousness Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Republic of Consciousness Prize -- rewarding: "the best fiction by small presses [in the UK/Ireland] publishing 12 or fewer titles a year and are wholly independent of any other commercial financial entity" -- and it is Charco Press, for Of Cattle and Men, by Ana Paula Maia, translated by Zoë Perry; see, for example, the report at The Guardian.

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

       Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Griffin Poetry Prize -- "the world's largest international prize for a single book of poetry written in, or translated into English" --, selected from 592 entries (including 49 translations, from 22 languages), with Don McKay getting the Lifetime Recognition Award.

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

       Les aérostats review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Amélie Nothomb 2020 novel, Les aérostats -- the 28th work by Nothomb under review at the site.
       I'm still a few behind -- but getting there .....

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

17 April 2024 - Wednesday

Sami Rohr Prize | Walking books

       Sami Rohr Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's (US$100,000) Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, which alternates from year to year in honoring a work of fiction and of non; this year was a non year, and the prize went to Palestine 1936, by Oren Kessler.

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

       Walking books

       At Outside Peter Moore lists The 50 Best Hiking, Trekking, and Walking Books of All Time -- which I'd normally ignore, but ... props for the inclusion of The Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en.

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

16 April 2024 - Tuesday

Max Lawton profile | Deep Vellum profile | More Salome variations

       Max Lawton profile

       At Prospect Josiah Gogarty profiles The translator bringing Vladimir Sorokin to English readers -- Max Lawton, translator of Blue Lard, among (many) other works.

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

       Deep Vellum profile

       At The Mercury Paola Martinez reports on how Deep Vellum expands literary and translation options in North Texas -- that being publisher Deep Vellum, quite a few of whose books are under review at the complete review.
       Impressive to hear that: "Deep Vellum is now becoming international as they expand their administrative offices to New York and possibly London".

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

       More Salome variations

       Many Salome-variations are covered in my new novel, Salome in Graz, but the focus is on the ones that appeared up to 1906 -- but there is some mention of a few of the ones that came after, including some cinematic adaptations (Ken Russell !). One that my protagonists didn't get to was screened at the Berlinale practically at the same time the book came out -- Atom Egoyan's Seven Veils, starring Amanda Seyfried; it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year.
       I haven't seen this yet, but hope to at some point; meanwhile, see some of the reviews, at:        And of course you can get my at Salome in Graz at Amazon, or here (where the promotional code LULUBOOKS15 at checkout gets you 15% off through 19 April).

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

15 April 2024 - Monday

Mater 2-10 Q & A | Gabriel review

       Mater 2-10 Q & A

       Hwang Sok-yong's Mater 2-10 has been shortlisted for this year's International Booker Prize, and at Harshaneeyam has International Booker interview: How Sora Russell and Youngjae Bae translated ‘Mater 2-10’ from Korea

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

       Gabriel review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of George Sand's 1839 Gabriel.
       I was a bit surprised that this hasn't gotten more attention recently, given it's subject matter -- issues of gender-identity -- but the literary quality is ... well, not great.

       This is published in the very impressive MLA Texts and Translations-series -- well worth working one's way through.

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

14 April 2024 - Sunday

Faroese Literature | John Braine profile

       Faroese Literature

       In New York they're holding Faroe Islands Culture Days this week, including with the interesting-sounding Literature from the Faroe Islands event on 17 April.
       This gives me opportunity to point to the impressive FarLit-site -- a Faroese Literature promotion site. The Nordics are very good with their literary support -- check out Norwegian Literature Abroad, the Icelandic Literature Center, and the Finnish Literature Exchange, for example -- but it's also a reminder of how many languages/countries can't (or can't be bothered) to offer something similar. (Translation-support isn't cheap but, relatively speaking, it isn't expensive either; I think a lot of languages/countries would do well to at least invest in information-sites, if not outright financial support.)
       (A reminder: the Faroe Islands have little more than 50,000 inhabitants.)

       Meanwhile, with convenient timing, The Dedalus Book of Faroese Literature is coming out shortly -- see their publicity page --: twenty-seven texts ! Dedalus has shown an impressive commitment to Faroese literature -- notably in publishing the works of William Heinesen (The Black Cauldron, etc.).

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

       John Braine profile

       At Quilette Brad Strotten profiles John Braine, in Desire and Ambition.
       I'm usually all for the book over the movie, but I have to admit seeing the Laurence Harvey/Simone Signoret Room at the Top before coming to the book, and it -- especially the conclusion -- making a big (and devastating) impression on me.

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

13 April 2024 - Saturday

Wolfgang-Koeppen-Preis | The Red Handler review


       They've announced the winner of this year's Wolfgang Koeppen Prize, a biennial author prize awarded to someone whose work is in the spirit of Koeppen's, and it is Danish author Madame Nielsen; Open Letter published Nielsen's The Endless Summer a few years ago -- see their publicity page -- but much more is available n German.
       This prize has a solid list of winners, but it's of particular interest in how the winner is chosen: it's the previous winner who makes the selection -- in this case, 2022 winner Christian Kracht (The Dead, Imperium, etc.) chose Madame Nielsen.

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

       The Red Handler review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Johan Harstad's The Red Handler -- the Collected Works of (fictional) author Frode Brandeggen, in an (extensively) annotated edition, just out in English, from Open Letter.

       (Two other Harstad titles have also been translated into English and are under review at the complete review, but I wonder if anyone will pick up his (1104-page) Max, Mischa & the Tet Offensive; see, for example, the Gyldendal Agency information page.)

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

12 April 2024 - Friday

AI and writers/translators | John McGlynn Q & A
Whiting Awards | Guggenheim Fellowships

       AI and writers/translators

       The Society of Authors: "ran a survey of its 12,500 members and other authors, and received 787 responses" regarding 'experiences of generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems', and they summarize the findings here.
       Interesting to hear that: 37% of translators, 20% of fiction writers, and 25% of non-fiction writers "said they had used generative AI in their work".
       Also: 36% of translators say they have already lost work due to generative AI, while 43% say the income from their work has decreased in value because of generative AI.
       And 8% of translators said they have used generative AI in their work because their publisher or commissioning organisation asked them to (!).

       Yes, it seems pretty clear that the future is AI -- coming/taking over even more quickly than expected.

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

       John McGlynn Q & A

       At the Asymptote blog Sarah Gear has Translating Indonesia's On-the-Ground Realities: An Interview with John McGlynn of the Lontar Foundation.
       Lontar have published a fantastic selection of books; several are under review at the complete review.

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

       Whiting Awards

       The Whiting Foundation has announced its ten 2024 creative writing fellows -- four in fiction, three in poetry, two in drama, and one in non-fiction; they each receive US$50,000.

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

       Guggenheim Fellowships

       The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced this year's batch of fellowships -- 188, selected from almost 3,000 applicants; see all the fellows listed here, for now, by subject (though, alas, not yet with information about the projects they were awarded the fellowships for ...).
       The only fellow with any works under review at the complete review appears to be James Wood (The Book Against God).
       Fiction fellows include Emma Cline, Laird Hunt, Julia Phillips, and Emma Straub; non-fiction fellows include Jonathan Alter and Adam Shatz. The only translation fellow is Ryan Bloom.

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

11 April 2024 - Thursday

Most challenged books in the US, 2023 | Lauren Oyler Q & A
The Homeless review

       Most challenged books in the US, 2023

       The American Library Association has announced the ten most challenged books in the US in 2023.
       They're all: 'claimed to be sexually explicit', along with a variety of other issues .....

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

       Lauren Oyler Q & A

       At Interview Steven Phillips-Horst has a Q & A with Lauren Oyler Wishes You'd Fact-Check Your Reviews.
       Fact-checking always seems like a good idea, with reviews and most everything else -- but in fact Oyler also says that, while she fact-checks: "Some critics do not care so much about that, and that's perfectly fine". (It's not.)

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

       The Homeless review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Stefan Żeromski's 1900 novel, The Homeless, just out in English, from Paul Dry Books.

       Żeromski was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four years running before his death.

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

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