Literary Saloon

the literary
weblog at the
complete review

about the saloon

support the site





The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction by M.A.Orthofer
The CR Guide

the Complete Review: the book - A Site History
The CR:the book

to e-mail us:

literary weblogs:

  Books, Inq.
  Critical Mass
  Guardian Books
  The Millions
  NewPages Weblog
  Three Percent

  Rép. des livres

  Arts & Letters Daily
  The Millions
  The Rumpus
  Two Words

  See also: links page

saloon statistics

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

27 May 2020 - Wednesday

Prix mondial Cino del Duca | The Czech book market
The Immortals review

       Prix mondial Cino del Duca

       They've announced the winner of this year's prix mondial Cino del Duca, a €200,000 prize that has gone to everyone from Andrei Sakharov (1974) to Jorge Luis Borges (1980), Mario Vargas Llosa (2008), Milan Kundera (2009), and Patrick Modiano (2010). The 2020 prize goes to Joyce Carol Oates; no word yet at the official site, as best I can tell, but see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.

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

       The Czech book market

       At Radio Prague International Tom McEnchroe reports on how Various initiatives seek to support Czech book market recovering from coronavirus lockdown.
       Some interesting ideas -- and also impressive to hear that:
Meanwhile, the Czech Literary Centre (Czech Lit), a relatively new public institution aimed at propagating Czech literature at home and abroad has announced its own form of support. Czech Lit Director Martin Krafl told Czech Television that the organisation has dedicated CZK 560,000 from its budget to provide 16 Czech authors with a monthly stipend of CZK 20,000.
       (CZK 20,000 is a bit more than US$800 -- not a huge amount, but certainly welcome, I'd imagine.)

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

       The Immortals review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of René Barjavel's 1973 novel, The Immortals -- a virus novel ! though the virus is of rather a different nature than the current real-life one people are dealing with.
       Futura Sciences recently included this -- as the only not-written-in-English work -- on their list of le top 5 des meilleurs livres de science-fiction. It's maybe not top-five, but it is decent fun.

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

26 May 2020 - Tuesday

Bengali publishing | Dalkey Literary Awards shortlists

       Bengali publishing

       The latest installment in the series on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on publishing in India has Tridib Chatterjee look at How the lockdown (and then the cyclone) caught Bengali language publishing on the wrong foot -- with a postscript by Esha Chatterjee looking at the cyclone Amphan fall-out.

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

       Dalkey Literary Awards shortlists

       The Dalkey Literary Awards are a new Irish literary award with two categories, Novel of the Year and Emerging Writer; paying out a total of €30,000 they are apparently: "the most lucrative in the Irish literary calendar".
       They've now announced the shortlists for the awards, six titles in each category, with Edna O'Brien's Girl and Kevin Barry's Night Boat to Tangier among the books in the running for best novel.
       Thjey were planning on announcing the winners at the Dalkey Book Festival, but since that's been cancelled this year there will be a digital award ceremony on 20 June.

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

25 May 2020 - Monday

Afrodiasporic literature | Albert Memmi (1920-2020) | The Unicorn review

       Afrodiasporic literature

       At Quartz Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo writes about how Modern African literature is taking a journey through the diaspora back to the continent.

       Some of the African literature under review at the complete review is, of course, diasporic, but as is also the case with other regions, it's probably quite under-represented.

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

       Albert Memmi (1920-2020)

       French-Tunisian author Albert Memmi has passed away; see, for example, the coverage at ArabLit.
       Quite a few of his works are available in English, beginning with The Pillar of Salt; see the Beacon Press publicity page, or get your copy at or

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

       The Unicorn review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Iris Murdoch's 1963 novel, The Unicorn.

       I often complain about how much is not translated into English, but I must say I'm somewhat surprised that Murdoch generally and this in particular isn't more widely available in translation. This doesn't seem to have even ever been translated into German, and it appears to be long, long out of print in French -- baffling.

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

24 May 2020 - Sunday

Publishing in ... Nepal | Chung Chao-cheng (1925-2020) | On Félix Fénéon

       Publishing in ... Nepal

       At publisher and author Ajit Baral: "charts the journey of publishing in Nepal, and its recent and current challenges", in Nepali publishing was thriving. Then it went into a decline. Then Covid-19 struck -- a good overview.

       Not enough Nepali fiction is under review at the complete review -- but Narayan Wagle's Palpasa Café, which Baral calls a turning point, is.

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

       Chung Chao-cheng (1925-2020)

       Taiwanese author Chung Chao-cheng (Zhong Zhaozheng) passed away recently, and in the Taipei Times Han Cheung has an interesting overview of the author, in A great loss for Taiwanese literature.

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

       On Félix Fénéon

       At Frieze Francesca Wade writes about The Man Who Made the News Novelesque, Félix Fénéon; he's been getting more attention recently because of the alas-only-accessible-online-for-now exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art, Félix Fénéon: The Anarchist and the Avant-Garde -- From Signac to Matisse and Beyond.
       The New York Review Books collection Novels in Three Lines is certainly worth picking up, too.

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

23 May 2020 - Saturday

Iulian Ciocan Q & A | Readopolis review

       Iulian Ciocan Q & A

       At Global Voices Filip Noubel has a Q & A with Moldovan novelist Iulian Ciocan, Fighting and writing for Moldova's place in the pantheon of world literature.
       His Before Brezhnev Died is apparently recently out from Dalkey Archive Press; no publicity page at the official site yet, but get your copy at or; see also translator Alistair Ian Blyth on the novel.
       I haven't seen this one yet but certainly hope to; the only Moldovan title under review at the complete review is Vladimir Lorchenkov's The Good Life Elsewhere.

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

       Readopolis review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Bertrand Laverdure's Readopolis.

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

22 May 2020 - Friday

Orwell Prize shortlists | Encore Award shortlist

       Orwell Prize shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for this year's Orwell Prizes, including the award for political fiction; finalists for that include Booker Prize-co-winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, Pulitzer Prize-winner The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, and Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport.
       The winners will be announced 25 June.

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

       Encore Award shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Royal Society of Literature Encore Award, a £10,000 prize for the best second novel of the year in the UK.
       Last year's winner was Normal People by Sally Rooney, and previous winners also include Ali Smith, Amit Chaudhuri, Colm Tóibín, and Iain Sinclair.
       The winner will be announced on 25 June.

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

21 May 2020 - Thursday

Emma Ramadan Q & A | A New Sun Rises Over the Old Land review

       Emma Ramadan Q & A

       At the World Literature Today weblog Veronica Esposito has a Q & A with the translator, in Weird, Funny, Delicious Books Wanted: A Conversation with Emma Ramadan.

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

       A New Sun Rises Over the Old Land review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Novel of Sihanouk's Cambodia, Suon Sorin's 1961 novel, A New Sun Rises Over the Old Land, a rare translation from the Khmer, recently out from NUS Press (as in: National University of Singapore, now also distributed in the US by the University of Chicago Press).

       How few translations into English from Khmer are there ? So few that the Publishers Weekly Translation Database doesn't even bother listing Khmer/Cambodian as an option -- i.e. finds none for the whole covered period (2008 through 2020) .....

       Among the books I've acquired in the last year are Soth Polin's L'anarchiste -- see the La Table Ronde publicity page -- and Patrick Deville's Kampuchéa -- see the Seuil publicity page. But obviously, what I really want/need now is Khun Srun's L'accusé -- see the Les éditions du Sonneur publicity page --; there's also a translated-into-English bit (by Madeleine Thien, from (sigh ...) the French translation), at Brick.
       Meanwhile, see also Teri Shaffer Yamada's informative essay, The Impact of Censorship on Modern Cambodian Literature.

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

20 May 2020 - Wednesday

European Union Prizes for Literature | Griffin Poetry Prizes
Caine Prize shortlist | Libri irodalmi díj | The Man Who Died review

       European Union Prizes for Literature

       They've announced this year's thirteen European Union Prizes for Literature.
       Rotating through practically all the European nations in a three-year cycle, these are national prizes, selected by national juries -- but this prize certainly helps get attention for books from countries and languages that aren't that often seen in translation, and we can look forward to seeing some of these in English at some point; indeed, Catalan-writing Spanish winner Irene Solà's Canto jo i la muntanya balla is forthcoming from Graywolf; see also the Anagrama foreign rights page.

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

       Griffin Poetry Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's Griffin Poetry Prizes
       The international winner was Time, by Etel Adnan, in Sarah Riggs' translation; see also the Nightboat publicity page, or get your copy at or

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

       Caine Prize shortlist

       They've announced the five-title shortlist for this year's AKO Caine Prize for African Writing -- a £10,000 short story prize also open to works in translation (though none made the cut this year). All the stories can be found via the links on the announcement page.
       Over two hundred stories were submitted, with 27 countries of origin for the eligible entries.
       There is no set date yet for when the winner will be announced; they hope to announce the winner in the fall.

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

       Libri irodalmi díj

       They've announced the winners of this year's Libri Literary Prize, a leading Hungarian literary prize; see also the hlo report, Zsolt Láng Wins the Libri Literary Prize; Krisztián Grecsó Wins the Libri Audience Award
       Bolyai by Láng Zsolt -- yes, based on the life of the famous mathematician, Bolyai János -- won; see also the Jelenkor publicity page.

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

       The Man Who Died review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Antti Tuomainen's The Man Who Died.

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

19 May 2020 - Tuesday

'Corona'-books | Daniel Mendelsohn Q & A | Yiddish


       In The New York Times Alexandra Alter reports that Publishers Snap Up Corona Books, From Case Studies to Plague Poetry because ... of course .....
       Hey, Slavoj Žižek's Pandemic ! Covid-19 Shakes the World -- see also the OR publicity page, or get your copy at or -- is even due out in (two different) Persian translations in Iran; see the Tehran Times report.

       I have no intention of reading or reviewing any of these in the nearer future; maybe something will catch my eye eventually, but I suspect it will be a long, long, long time before I cover any book related to these times. (Nothing against this specific time, but treatment -- fictional and non -- of these kinds of things tends to benefit from distance; besides, given what I've been reviewing recently, I clearly haven't been very successful in being au courant in any respect anyway.)

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

       Daniel Mendelsohn Q & A

       In Interview Christopher Bollen has a Q & A with Daniel Mendelsohn.
       He reports that afternoons: "I work on the new translation of the Odyssey that I'm doing".

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


       At Deutsche Welle Sertan Sanderson finds: 'Yiddish enthusiasts around the world are kvelling and plotzing at the revival of their favorite language in recent popular culture. But what makes Yiddish so unique and exciting ?' in Yiddish: Celebration of life, language of remembrance.

       It's good to see more interest in availability of Yiddish literature too, with the Yiddish Book Center winning the Literary Translation Initiative Award at this year's London Book Fair and, for example, Syracuse University Press bringing out a variety of Yiddish literature in translation.

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

18 May 2020 - Monday

The future of ... bookstore browsing | The Wall review

       The future of ... bookstore browsing

       At Bloomberg The Emperor of Ocean Park-author Stephen L. Carter makes the (easy, but certainly still worth making) case that Bookstore Browsing Can't Become a Victim of Coronavirus.
       I'm very curious how retail generally will rebound from this -- but if grocery stores are managing then surely bookstores will be able to as well.
       I must admit that I miss shelf-browsing -- in bookstores and libraries -- a great deal, especially given that far fewer review-copies are coming my way these days (publishers understandably having logistics issues). Online bookstore browsing just isn't the same thing .....

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

       The Wall review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Marlen Haushofer's 1963 novel, The Wall -- a fairly extreme isolated-living story.

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

17 May 2020 - Sunday

Nihilist Girl review

       Nihilist Girl review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sofya Kovalevskaya's only completed novel, Nihilist Girl.
       This is published in the MLA Texts and Translations-series; among the neat things about the series is that beside publishing the translations, they also publish the original versions in separate volumes -- see, for example, their publicity page for Нигилистка

       I pretty much never want novels to be more autobiographical, but this is one where I kind of actually was hoping for that, as Kovalevskaya was a truly fascinating and impressive figure. So I guess I really have to try and find a copy of Michèle Audin's Remembering Sofya Kovalevskaya -- see the Springer publicity page, or get your copy at or (And, yes, that is the Michèle Audin who is a member of Oulipo, the author of One Hundred Twenty-One Days.)

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

16 May 2020 - Saturday

Sophie Kerr Prize | Publishing in ... (Francophone) Africa
Reading in ... the UK

       Sophie Kerr Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Sophie Kerr Prize, the US$63,537.65 (this year -- the amount varies slightly, year to year) Washington College prize that is: "the nation's largest literary award for college undergraduates", and it is Mary Sprague.
       Her prize-winning portfolio consisted of: "a collection of short prose pieces most often about interpersonal relationships, sexuality, sexual assault, and isolation".
       Gotta love this:
Sprague is interested in working in the field of editing and publishing, or as a park ranger.

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

       Publishing in ... (Francophone) Africa

       In The Guardian Olivia Snaije reports that 'It's a real battle': African authors fight for publishing independence, as: 'Francophone African books are still very often published by French imprints, which can make them hard to get at home'.
       One certainly hopes the publishing industry in Africa continues to grow -- and this is a good opportunity to remind you of the indispensable African Books Collective; most of the publishers are English-language, but there are also a few Francophone ones among them.

       Meanwhile, in The New York Times Abdi Latif Dahir reports on An African Literary Festival for the Age of Coronavirus -- Afrolit Sans Frontieres.
       James Murua's Literature Blog seems to be the meeting/starting point for this; see also the corresponding Instagram page.

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

       Reading in ... the UK

       Nielsen Book recently surveyed "a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 UK adults" and now report that Reading Increases in Lockdown (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), as:
Two in five UK adults said they were reading more books since the lockdown began, with just 10% of adults reading less, while the nation as a whole has almost doubled the amount of time it spends reading books
       Sounds good ! -- but:
However, the increase in time spent reading has not necessarily led to an increase in book sales. Of the consumers surveyed, 25% said they had bought more books since the lockdown began, compared to their normal buying habits, but 18% had bought fewer books.
       Crime/thrillers and popular fiction are the kinds of books respondents expressed the most interest in; surprisingly: "There is currently little appetite for dystopian fiction" (as apparently, at least in this case, people are finding: if you're living it you don't need to read it ...).

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

15 May 2020 - Friday

Rolf Hochhuth (1931-2020) | Dylan Thomas Prize
Society of Authors' Awards shortlists | Vāsavadattā review

       Rolf Hochhuth (1931-2020)

       German author Rolf Hochhuth has passed away; he is best know for his plays -- above all The Deputy; see, for example Elizabeth Grenier explaining at Deutsche Welle Why the 1963 Holocaust play 'The Deputy' was so explosive.
       See also the Grove Press publicity page for The Deputy, or get your copy at or

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

       Dylan Thomas Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Dylan Thomas Prize -- a £30,000 prize "for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under" -- and it is the story-collection Lot, by Bryan Washington; get your copy at or

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

       Society of Authors' Awards shortlists

       The British Society of Authors has announced their awards-shortlists, including for the: "inaugural Queen's Knickers Award".
       The Society of Authors' Awards includes prizes for authors under 35 (the Betty Trask Prize and Awards), over 40 (the McKitterick Prize), and over 60 (the Paul Torday Memorial Prize).

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

       Vāsavadattā review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Subandhu's Vāsavadattā, a ca. sixth century novel.

       This appeared in the short-lived Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series, in 1913; a new translation (and better-annotated edition) is long overdue -- though even in this form the work is certainly of interest.
       (In his The Novel: An Alternative History - Beginnings to 1600 Steven Moore described it as: "almost a Sanskrit Finnegans Wake in the density of its language".)

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

14 May 2020 - Thursday

Immanuel Kim Q & A | Sophie Kerr Prize finalists
Support for translation from ... the Dutch

       Immanuel Kim Q & A

       At the Literary Hub Esther Kim has a Q & A with Immanuel Kim about his translation of The First State-Approved North Korean Novel in English -- that would be Paek Nam-nyong's Friend, just out from Columbia University Press.
       Immanuel Kim gives some idea why we've seen so little North Korean literature in translation:
I went to the North Korean collection at the National Library in Seoul and started reading their number one literary journal. I started from the very beginning and read through the 1960s to the '90s. They were difficult. All my preconceived notions of North Korean lit were coming true, and I was bored out of my mind. I thought, I can't say anything significant about North Korean literature ! It's all propaganda and terrible.
       As to Paek, I'm not quite convinced that: "He's like their Tom Clancy or Stephen King" .....

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

       Sophie Kerr Prize finalists

       They've announced the six finalists for this year's Sophie Kerr Prize, the US$63,537.65 Washington College prize that is: "the nation's largest literary award for college undergraduates" (indeed, paying out more than most American prizes for full-fledged authors do ...).
       The winner will be announced tomorrow, at 19:30 EST; you can apparently watch it live here.

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

       Support for translation from ... the Dutch

       The Dutch Foundation for Literature is offering Support measures for translators -- they have freed up €100,000 -- and foreign publishers.
       Good to see this sort of thing -- though I suppose not too many other national organizations in other countries will be able to do the same.

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

13 May 2020 - Wednesday

Ockham New Zealand Book Awards | Sami Rohr Prize
Miles Franklin longlist | The Distant Lands review

       Ockham New Zealand Book Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's Ockham New Zealand Book Awards.
       The Ockham New Zealand Book Awards' Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction went to Auē, by Becky Manawatu; it also won the Hubert Church Prize for a best first book of Fiction; see also the Mākaro Press publicity page; it does not appear to be readily available in the US/UK (yet).

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

       Sami Rohr Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, which alternates between fiction one year and non the next; this was a non year -- and the winner is: Kafka's Last Trial by Benjamin Balint.

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

       Miles Franklin longlist

       They've announced the ten-title longlist for this year's Miles Franklin Literary Award -- a prize for best novel that they call: "Australia's most prestigious and valued literary award".
       Among the titles: a Gerald Murnane, A Season on Earth.

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

       The Distant Lands review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the first in Julien Green's 'Dixie'-trilogy, The Distant Lands. (For some reason the Amazon listing also describes this as: "The second volume of Julian Green's autobiography"; please note that it is not.)

       A long review of a long book -- and quite an odd one. Green apparently began this in the 1930s -- he was born in 1900 -- but then pulled back after learning of Gone with the Wind; he returned to it in the 1980s --yes, as an octogenarian -- and this was published in 1987, with The Stars of the South following in 1989 and (the confusingly titled) Dixie in 1994. It was incredibly popular in France -- the jacket copy of the US/UK edition notes 650,000 copies were sold in France alone, something also noted by many of the reviewers, who wondered how on earth that was possible ... -- but doesn't seem to have really found an audience in the US (or UK); the sequel was also published in translation, but the final volume still hasn't been .....
       Not the worst book for readers looking for long leisurely read in lockdown times -- and I definitely will be taking on the next volume in the trilogy. Just not right away .....

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

12 May 2020 - Tuesday

Best Translated Books Awards shortlists | Jan Michalski Prize longlist
Translation into ... Dutch

       Best Translated Books Awards shortlists

       They've announced the (American) Best Translated Books Awards shortlists.
       The ten fiction finalists are:
  • Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, tr. Frank Wynne

  • Beyond Babylon by Igiaba Scego, tr. Aaron Robertson

  • Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, tr.Sara Moses and Carolina Orloff

  • A Dream Come True by Juan Carlos Onetti, tr. Katherine Silver

  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, tr. Antonia Lloyd-Jones

  • EEG by Daša Drndić, tr. Celia Hawkesworth

  • The Memory Police by Ogawa Yoko, tr. Stephen Snyder

  • 77 by Guillermo Saccomanno, tr. Andrea G. Labinger

  • Stalingrad by Vasily Grossman, tr. Robert and Elizabeth Chandler

  • Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, tr. Geraldine Harcourt
       The one title I'm most surprised didn't make from the twenty-five-title-strong longlist is Welcome to America -- my favorite of the lot.

       The winning titles will be announced 27 May.

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

       Jan Michalski Prize longlist

       They've announced the sixteen-title longlist for this year's Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, a CHF 50,000 prize for: "a work of world literature [...] fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written" (though certainly favoring titles available in English, French, or German ... with nothing in an Asian language making the list, for example).
       Titles remaining in contention include Fran Ross' Oreo, Philippe Sands' East West Street, and Sergei Lebedev's Oblivion; good also to see a recent Yurii Andrukhovych on the list (Коханці Юстиції; see also the Suhrkamp foreign rights page).

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

       Translation into ... Dutch

       Via Schwob, the Dutch Foundation for Literature supports translations into Dutch of foreign classics, and they've announced the latest batch of grants, for eight projects (out of a mere eleven submissions ...); always interesting to see what gets translated into other languages.
       The projects include translations of two Tove Ditlevsen titles, D.H.Lawrence's Kangaroo, and Jean de la Ville de Mirmont's The Sundays of Jean Dézert.

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

11 May 2020 - Monday

Linda Boström Knausgård profile | Bookselling in ... the UK

       Linda Boström Knausgård profile

       In The Observer Lisa O'Kelly profiles Linda Boström Knausgård: 'I would like to be seen as a person and author in my own right' -- a tall order, apparently, given that her former husband reached quite the audience with his autobiographical My Struggle-series in which she features prominently, from the first volume to the last.
       A shame, of course, because her books are worth reading in their own right -- notably the recently-released-in-English Welcome to America, which was among the best books I read last year.

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

       Bookselling in ... the UK

       In The Observer Rachel Cooke wonders: Could lockdown herald an exciting new chapter for the book trade ?
       I'm not sure 'exciting' is the word we want to use, but it's a good overview of the situation now, and trying to look ahead ......

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

10 May 2020 - Sunday

Kawakami Mieko profile | Translations from the ... Dutch

       Kawakami Mieko profile

       In The New York Times Motoko Rich finds: 'Mieko Kawakami, whose novel Breasts and Eggs was just published in English, has become something of a feminist icon in her male-dominated country' in her profile, A Novelist Breaks the Code of Being a Woman in Japan.

       Not quite clear from the article, but Kawakami's 乳と卵 -- the Akutagawa-winning novella, 'Breasts and Eggs' -- was expanded considerably and then published, a decade later, as 夏物語, and that's what the English translation is of .....

       Kawakami's Ms Ice Sandwich is also under review at the complete review; so are the other works mentioned here: Ogawa's The Memory Police (and eleven more of her works), Murata's Convenience Store Woman, as well as Oyamada's The Factory. And, of course, a ton of Murakami.

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

       Translations from the ... Dutch

       The latest batch of translation grants from the Dutch Foundation for Literature have been announced -- always a good way to see what is being translated from the Dutch, and into what languages.
       Disappointingly, only one the seven fiction titles is being translated into English -- an Otto de Kat. Things are slightly better with regards to non-fiction, and children's books.
       Meanwhile, after the whole massive Het Bureau-series being translated into German, there's apparently interest in even more J.J. Voskuil, as they're now also translating De moeder van Nicolien.

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

9 May 2020 - Saturday

Goethepreis | Independent bookshops in ... Delhi | A Czech Dreambook


       The Goethe Prize is a triennial lifetime-work prize -- not limited to authors, awarded since 1927, and paying out €50,000 -- and they've now announced that this year's prize goes to Dževad Karahasan. Previous winners include everyone from Albert Schweitzer (1928) to Max Planck (1945) to Thomas Mann (1949), Georg Lukács (1970), Arno Schmidt (1973), Ingmar Bergman (1976), and Amos Oz (2005).
       The only one of Karahasan's work translated into English appears to be Sarajevo, Exodus of a City; get your copy at or See also the Suhrkamp foreign rights page for his Omar Khayyam-novel, Što pepeo priča and scroll down to links for information about some of his other works.

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

       Independent bookshops in ... Delhi

       At Manjari Sahay finds: "the Delhi experience shows how beloved independent bookstores have been affected by the lockdown", in Independent bookshops: What the lockdown, Covid-19 and its aftermath may mean for them.

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

       A Czech Dreambook

       At the Asymptote blog Julia Sherwood has a Q & A about A Czech Dreambook: Gerald Turner on Translating Ludvík Vaculík
       A Czech Dreambook is recently out from Karolinum Press; see their publicity page, or get your copy at or I have a copy, and hope to eventually get proper coverage up .....
       And of course Turner's new translation of Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk is something to look forward to .....

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

8 May 2020 - Friday

Theakston Crime Novel longlist | UK small presses | Masquerade review

       Theakston Crime Novel longlist

       They've announced the eighteen-title strong longlist for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
       The only title under review at the complete review is Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer.
       The shortlist will be announced on 8 June.

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

       UK small presses

       At The Bookseller Ruth Comerford reports that in the UK and Ireland Small presses fear being 'wiped out' by autumn, presenting the results of a survey which 72 publishers responded to.
       The decline in sales is worrisome -- "85% said they had seen a drop in sales of more than 50%"

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

       Masquerade review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the second in Walter Satterthwait's trio of Pinkerton novels, Masquerade.

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

7 May 2020 - Thursday

Latvian isolation reading | Kusumabale review

       Latvian isolation reading

       At Latvian Literature they suggest five: " works of Latvian literature addressing various types of voluntary and forced isolation", including Alberts Bels' classic The Cage and Anete Melece's Kiosks, which was also just featured at

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

       Kusumabale review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Devanoora Mahadeva's Kusumabale.

       This won the Sahitya Akademi Award -- a leading Indian literary prize -- both for the Kannada original (in 1990) and for this translation by Susan Daniel into English (2019), published by Oxford University Press.

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

go to archive

- return to top of the page -

© 2020 the complete review

the Complete Review
Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links