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13 December 2018 - Thursday

Highest-paid authors | Reading in ... Canada | Worst of the year ?

       Highest-paid authors

       At Forbes Hayley C. Cuccinello reports on who were the World's Highest Paid Authors Of 2018: Michael Wolff Joins List Thanks To 'Fire And Fury'.
       For a 'world's' list the methodology -- "Earnings estimates are based on data from NPD BookScan and Box Office Mojo, as well as interviews with industry insiders, including some of the authors themselves" -- is very US-industry-centric; they don't seem to have looked at, for example, the successful Chinese online-specializing writers: Zhang Wei, known as Tangjiasanshao, reportedly took in US$16.8 million in 2015 and $18 million in 2016, which would put him well in the top ten, for example.
       As far as the Forbes list goes: James Patterson took the top place for the tenth time -- earning more than the second (J.K.Rowling) and third (Stephen King) authors combined.
       The only one of these authors with any titles under review at the complete review is Stephen King.

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       Reading in ... Canada

       There's a new report out, More Canada: Increasing Canadians' awareness and reading of Canadian books (warning ! dreaded pdf format !); in the The Globe and Mail Simon Houpt summarizes the findings in Canadians reading fewer domestic books, report shows -- including:
More Canada, a report from an ad-hoc think tank of industry veterans that included publishers, librarians, broadcasters and booksellers, says the English-language share of sales of books by Canadian authors in this country fell more than 50 per cent in a little more than a decade: to only 13 per cent last year from 27 per cent in 2005.
       Fascinating also that:
In 2017, first-year sales of Canadian-authored books published by multinational-owned companies averaged 2,241 copies for a retail value of $55,414 a title; books published by Canadian-owned companies averaged a mere 343 copies, for a retail value of $8,110 a title. That same year, multinationals released 851 new titles and Canadian-owned companies published 2,551 titles, for a total of 3,604 new titles by Canadian authors. (That represented only 4.6 per cent of the total number of new titles published in Canada, with books by foreign authors totaling 77,721.)
       Canadian-owned French-language publishers have also suffered a decline, but not nearly as much English-language ones.

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       Worst of the year ?

       There seems to be an endless making of best-of-the-year-lists around this time of the year, but far too few people/outlets call out the worst, as well.
       At Entertainment Weekly Seija Rankin and David Canfield at least offer a few examples of the awful in their overview of The year in books: Everything you need to know 2018's biggest titles -- and at the Open Letters Review Steve Donoghue can at least be depended on to give his run-down of The Worst Books of 2018: Fiction ! and The Worst Books of 2018: Nonfiction !

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12 December 2018 - Wednesday

PEN America Literary Awards longlists | WLT's 75 Notable Translations of 2018
Man Booker judging panel | Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature
The Tale of Cho Ung review

       PEN America Literary Awards longlists

       They've announced the longlists for the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards, in categories from debut short fiction collections to biography, essays, 'general nonfiction', science writing, and sports writing.
       Among the categories are also the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation -- and the PEN Translation Prize, for fiction; the semifinalists (as the longlisted titles are being referred to -- I must have missed the quarterfinals ...) for that are:
  • Aetherial Worlds, by Tatyana Tolstaya, tr. Anya Migdal

  • CoDex 1962, by Sjón, tr. Victoria Cribb

  • Disoriental, by Négar Djavadi, tr. Tina Kover

  • The Life and Opinions of Zacharias Lichter, by Matei Calinescu, tr. Adriana Calinescu

  • Love, by Hanne Ørstavik, tr. Martin Aitken

  • Moon Brow, by Shahriar Mandanipour, tr. Sara Khalili

  • Mourning, by Eduardo Halfon, tr. Lisa Dillman and Daniel Hahn

  • Nevada Days, by Bernardo Atxaga, tr. Margaret Jull Costa

  • The Stone Building, by Aslı Erdoğan, tr. Sevinç Türkkan

  • Trick, by Domenico Starnone, tr. Jhumpa Lahiri
       There's quite a bit of overlap -- four titles -- with the longlisted titles for this year's National Book Awards (with another NBA longlisted title longlisted in a different PEN category -- The Beekeeper, in the more remunerative general nonfiction category). It'll be interesting to see whether the Best Translated Book Award will also follow suit, or go in entirely different directions when they announce their 25-title strong longlist next spring .....
       I have to say, I find the list fairly middling -- the Calinescu (which wasn't NBA-eligible -- dead author) is a good get, but I think most of 2018's standouts were elsewhere .....
       (The one title I am really surprised hasn't popped up anywhere -- and has barely gotten any review attention -- is Carlos Rojas' The Valley of the Fallen (translated by no one less than Edith Grossman), one of the most impressive books I've read this year; maybe the Best Translated Book Award will see fit to longlist it .....)
       The finalists will be announced in January.

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       WLT's 75 Notable Translations of 2018

       World Literature Today has announced its '75 Notable Translations of 2018'.
       They note that it is an: "admittedly incomplete curation"; among titles I'd suggest are major omissions are ... Carlos Rojas' The Valley of the Fallen (see also above), the two Dag Solstads, T Singer and Armand V, and Willem Frederik Hermans' An Untouched House.

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       Man Booker judging panel

       They've announced the judges for next year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction: Peter Florence (chair), Liz Calder, Xiaolu Guo, Afua Hirsch, and Joanna MacGregor.
       The longlist will be announced in July.

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       Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature

       They've announced that مسرى الغرانيق في مدن العقيق, by Saudi author Omaima Al-Khamis has won this year's Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature; see also the Dar Al Saqi publicity page; as part of the prize an English translation will be forthcoming from American University in Cairo Press.

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       The Tale of Cho Ung review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Classic of Vengeance, Loyalty, and Romance, the Chosŏn Korean classic, The Tale of Cho Ung, just out in a nice edition from Columbia University Press.

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11 December 2018 - Tuesday

Banipal Prize shortlist | JQ Wingate Prize longlist
Boyd Tonkin's global best for 2018 | Bullseye ! review

       Banipal Prize shortlist

       They've announced the four-title shortlist for this year's Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for translations from the Arabic.
       The four titles are:
  • Concerto al-Quds by Adonis, tr. Khaled Mattawa
  • Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, tr. Jonathan Wright
  • The President's Gardens by Muhsin Al-Ramli, tr. Luke Leafgren
  • Using Life by Ahmed Naji, tr. Ben Koerber
       The winning title will be announced in late January

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       JQ Wingate Prize longlist

       They've announced the thirteen-title longlist for the 2019 JQ Wingate Literary Prize -- "awarded to the best book, fiction or non-fiction, to translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader".
       Quite a variety, with seven works of fiction, and six of non, and with three of the works in translation. None, however, are under review at the complete review.
       The shortlist will be announced mid-January.

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       Boyd Tonkin's global best for 2018

       At the Art Desk Boyd Tonkin selects: "a baker's dozen of translated novels to widen literary horizons", in Global fiction: the pick of 2018.

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       Bullseye ! review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of a collection twenty of Tsutsui Yasutaka's stories, Bullseye ! -- the sixth Tsutsui-title under review here.

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10 December 2018 - Monday

Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Awards | Enrique Vila-Matas Q & A
Portrait of a Man Known as Il Condottiere review

       Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of the Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Awards, one of the leading Iranian literary prizes.
       Reza Amirkhani's رهش won for best novel; see also the Afeg publicity page.
       As to the other categories ... the Tehran Times report notes the jury declined to select any winners, leaving only honorable mentions (with those mentioned getting only one-third of what a prize-winner payout would have been).
       The prize payout is usually 30 Bahar Azadi gold coins, but this year they paid out cash -- 1 billion (!) rial. That's about US$24,000 at the official rate -- but the black market rate is considerably worse; I suspect that is the reason the payout is in cash rather gold ..... (Admirably, whatever the amount, Amirkhani donated his entire winnings to a good cause.)

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       Enrique Vila-Matas Q & A

       At Tin House Veronica Scott Esposito has The Literature of No: An Interview with Enrique Vila-Matas.
       A lengthy Q & A -- including a bit on Vila-Matas' wonderful Because She Never Asked.
       (And Vila-Matas is right to boast about his author site, by the way -- it is exemplary.)

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       Portrait of a Man Known as Il Condottiere review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Georges Perec's Portrait of a Man Known as Il Condottiere (published in the UK simply as: Portrait of a Man), as I finally got my hands on a copy.

       Perec wrote this in 1960 but it wasn't published then and was long thought lost; it was only first published in 2012, and then in an English translation by Perec-expert David Bellos in 2014.
       The UK (MacLehose Press) edition of this seems to have gotten considerably more attention than the University of Chicago Press edition did in the United States; I wonder why. A commercial press has an edge on a university one ? Are UK readers (or at least book review-assigning editors) more open to and interested in Perec/Oulipo ? The shorter title ? (Interesting, too, that this was commercially published in the UK, but that the US edition came from a university press.)

       Meanwhile, Perec's even earlier (1957) L'attentat de Sarajevo has now also been published in French -- see the Seuil publicity page -- so I hope we see an English translation of that soon, too. (I note that there's already a Chinese translation of this ... (really: 萨拉热窝谋杀案; see the Nanjing University Press publicity page).)

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9 December 2018 - Sunday

Writing in ... Kenya | Dror Burstein Q & A

       Writing in ... Kenya

       In the Daily Nation Godwin Siundu makes the case that Kenya's literature is ailing but our local languages can save it
       His starting point is pretty harsh:
At a time when communicative incompetence in both spoken and written mother tongues has become the norm, how can Kenyan writers imbue cultural originality in the literary works that they hope to create ?
       He finds:
I fear that currently, Kenya's literature is in the sick bay -- and the prognosis is shifty -- because upcoming writers are deprived of the analytical depth and nuance that could be easily acquired through mastery of their mother tongues.
       I'm not sure about that 'easily', but still .....

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       Dror Burstein Q & A

       At the Los Angeles Review of Books Ian Dreiblatt has a Q & A with Netanya-author Dror Burstein about his new-in-translation Muck.
       See also the Farrar, Straus and Giroux publicity page and the ITHL information page for Muck, or get your copy at or

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8 December 2018 - Saturday

Sahitya Akademi Awards | Prabda Yoon Q & A
The Act of Roger Murgatroyd review

       Sahitya Akademi Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's Sahitya Akademi Awards -- a leading Indian literary award that honors writing in 24 (!) Indian languages; see the official press release (warning ! dreaded pdf format !).
       This year's awards cover books first published in the past five years (1 January 2012 to 31 December 2016); winners get a plaque, a shawl, and ₹100,000. Seven winning titles were poetry collections, while six each were novels and short story collections.
       The Blind Lady's Descendants by Anees Salim won the English language category; see the Penguin India publicity page. Rama Kant Shukla's मम जननी won the Sanskrit category, while Chitra Mudgal's novel, 203-नाला सोपारा, won the Hindi category.
       Hopefully we'll see some of these in English translation at some point .....

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       Prabda Yoon Q & A

       In The Navhind Times Christine Machado has a Q & A with Thai author, filmmaker, and artist Prabda Yoon, A man of many arts.
       Regarding the general absence of Thai literature on too much of the world stage he notes:
Good translators of Thai literature are also hard to come by. That may be the biggest obstacle. But things are starting to change a bit. In 2019 two books by the same Thai female author, Duanwad Pimwana, will be published in the US by two different publishing houses. That is a really big deal because, amazing as it may seem, it will be the first time that a contemporary Thai author who writes in Thai gets published and distributed commercially in the US.
       That is, indeed, a big deal -- and I look forward to seeing these titles (Bright, coming from Two Lines Press, and Arid Dreams, from The Feminist Press).
       Prabda's The Sad Part Was is under review at the complete review, but I completely missed that Tilted Axis has brought out a second book by him -- Moving Parts; see their publicity page, or get your copy at or Now that I know, I should be getting to this soon.

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       The Act of Roger Murgatroyd review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Gilbert Adair's The Act of Roger Murgatroyd, the first in his Evadne Mount trilogy, an amusing homage-cum-satire of Golden Age mysteries.

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

7 December 2018 - Friday

Justin Cartwright (1945-2018) | Cambodia Book Fair | Hide and Seek review

       Justin Cartwright (1945-2018)

       Justin Cartwright has passed away; see, for example, Heloise Wood's report in The Bookseller.
       I've enjoyed his work -- and two of his novels are under review at the complete review: Leading the Cheers and The Promise of Happiness.

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       Cambodia Book Fair

       The Cambodia Book Fair runs through 9 December; see also Chhum Chaivathanak's report, Celebrate literature at the 7th Cambodia Book Fair in the Khmer Times.
       Of course, what I'd really like to see is more (any !) Cambodian fiction available in English .....

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       Hide and Seek review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dennis Potter's Hide and Seek.

       I reviewed quite a few of his TV works in the early days of the site, as well as some books about him, but this is the first of his novels I've covered; I have the other two (Ticket to Ride and Blackeyes) and expect to get to them too.
       It's certainly ... very Potter. So also with a lot that's really sharp and bitter -- such as:
Honesty is in short supply within the putrefying corpse of the poisoned octopus which slimily tentacles the London literary scene.

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6 December 2018 - Thursday

Prime Minister's Literary Awards | Thanks review

       Prime Minister's Literary Awards

       They've announced this year's (Australian) Prime Minister's Literary Awards -- six titles in six categories, including Gerald Murnane's Border Districts for fiction, and Blindness and Rage by Brian Castro for poetry.
       The Castro -- A novel in thirty-four cantos -- sounds great -- see the Giramondo publicity page -- but doesn't appear to be out in the US (yet ... ?).

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       Thanks review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pablo Katchadjian's Thanks, just out from Dalkey Archive Press.

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5 December 2018 - Wednesday

Andrei Bitov (1937-2018) | More books coverage ?
The New York Times' critics favorites | Solovyov and Larionov review

       Andrei Bitov (1937-2018)

       Sad to hear the great Andrei Bitov has passed away; see, for example, The Moscow Times' report, Writer Andrei Bitov is Dead.
       Two of his books are under review at the complete review: Pushkin House and The Symmetry Teacher.

       (Updated - 8 December): See now also Neil Genzlinger's Bitov-obituary in The New York Times.

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       More books coverage ?

       In the Columbia Journalism Review Sam Eichner considers What's behind a recent rise in books coverage ? as there's apparently been an increase in prominent-outlet book coverage.
       'Coverage' extends way beyond mere reviews -- as, sigh:
But the best format for them to do so is likely no longer the traditional, single-book, literary review. To break through the noise, editors must translate old-fashioned book coverage to the lingua francas of today’s impossibly paced media climate: shareable lists, essays, digestible Q&As, podcasts, scannable email newsletters, hashtags, Instagrams, even book trailers.
       Of course, there's long been a lot of this sort of book coverage -- hell, some of this is exactly what you've gotten at this Literary Saloon for close to twenty years -- but I still think reviews are the most useful form of book-information to provide readers.

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       The New York Times' critics favorites

       At The New York Times staff critics Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai present their Times Critics' Top Books of 2018 (with Janet Maslin getting a separate column for her Favorite Books of 2018).
       Helpfully, the Times Critics Discuss the Year in Books, From Triumphs to Disappointments, talking: "with each other about the wide variety of reading they did in 2018"

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       Solovyov and Larionov review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Eugene Vodolazkin's Solovyov and Larionov -- the third of his novels to appear in English (all from Oneworld, all translated by Lisa C. Hayden), but this was actually his debut.

       It's out in the UK, but American reader will have to wait until ... May.

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4 December 2018 - Tuesday

More best-of-the-year selections | Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award

       More best-of-the-year selections

       The Guardian has their: "favourite authors on the most outstanding books they read this year" -- personal choices by the likes of Jonathan Franzen, Hilary Mantel, and Ian Rankin, among others -- in Best books of 2018: Hilary Mantel, Yuval Noah Harari and more pick their favourites

       Meanwhile, at the Open Letters Review Steve Donoghue continues his listing of the best (and worst ...) of the year in various categories -- including now The Best Books of 2018: Works in Translation !
       Lots of re-translations here -- only three of these books are entirely new --, and classical works -- and missing Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries .....
       Only one of these titles is under review at the complete review: Vuillard's The Order of the Day.

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       Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award

       They've announced the winner of this year's Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, Sian Cain's report in The Guardian on how James Frey wins bad sex in fiction award for 'dubious' Katerina, which sounds about right.

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3 December 2018 - Monday

Jerry Pinto Q & A | Posthomerica review

       Jerry Pinto Q & A

       Via I'm pointed to Kanika Katyal's Q & A at Indian Cultural Forum, "Time for polyphony": Jerry Pinto on the Task of a Translator.
       I haven't seen any of Pinto's translations yet, but two of his works are under review at the complete review: Em and the Big Hoom and Helen.

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       Posthomerica review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Quintus Smyrnaeus' Posthomerica -- the story of the Trojan war, from where the Iliad leaves off !

       This is the new-this-year Loeb Classical Library edition and translation (by Neil Hopkinson) that replaces, after more than a hundred years, the old A.S.Way translation.

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

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2 December 2018 - Sunday

Olga Tokarczuk profile | Open Letter Q & A | The Guardian's best books lists

       Olga Tokarczuk profile

       In The National Malcolm Forbes profiles Olga Tokarczuk: winner of the Man Booker International Prize says she has six novels left in her.
       Forbes notes:
For years she has been widely read and lauded in Europe. The Anglophone world has been slow to recognise her talent, but with luck her Booker win will raise her profile. In her native land, Tokarczuk enjoys commercial and critical success. Moreover, she has emerged as a notable feminist, an environmental activist, and a prominent critic of Poland's right-wing politics.

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       Open Letter Q & A

       At BookMarks Heather Cleary inaugurates a new periodic feature, Publishers Spotlight: Open Letter Books with a Q & A with head man at Open Letter, Chad Post.

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       The Guardian's best books lists

       The Guardian now has its Guardian best books of 2018: across fiction, politics, food and more.

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

1 December 2018 - Saturday

Bad Sex in Fiction finalists | Litprom-Bestenliste | Scenes from a Childhood review

       Bad Sex in Fiction finalists

       The Literary Review's Bad Sex in Fiction Award will announce a winner on Monday, and at The Guardian you can now see what's in the running, in Bad sex award 2018: the contenders in quotes.

       The only one of these titles under review at the complete review is Murakami Haruki's Killing Commendatore.

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       The German Litprom organization was founded to promote African, Asian, and Latin American literature, and several times a year they publish a 'best-list' of recommended titles -- and the 41st, the Winter 2018 list, is now up.
       Always interesting to see the foreign litertaure available in other languages -- and some of these are available in English, with more to follow (e.g. Wang Ting-Kuo's My Enemy's Cherry Tree is apparently due out from Portobello Books next April).

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       Scenes from a Childhood review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of a collection of prose by Jon Fosse, Scenes from a Childhood, now also out in the US, from Fitzcarraldo Editions.

       The collection was selected and translated by Damion Searls -- yes, the translator of Uwe Johnson's Anniversaries (among much else).
       Fosse -- one of the most highly-regarded Scandinavian authors, and one of Europe's leading playwrights -- continues to be quite inexplicably underappreciated in the US/UK; for those who haven't given his work a try, this is a good introductory volume -- representative, but also with quite a bit of variety.

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30 November 2018 - Friday

PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants | Book of the year lists
The Listening Walls review

       PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants

       They've announced the 2019 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants -- ten projects covering works in eight different languages, selected from 237 applications.
       The usual interesting variety -- many of which are still seeking a publisher.

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       Book of the year lists

       The flood of best of the year lists continues, with The New York Times Book Review now announcing its 10 Best Books of 2018, while The Economist lists their books of the year.

       Only one of the NYTBR's top ten is under review at the complete review, the one title in translation -- Leila Slimani's The Perfect Nanny (published in the UK as Lullaby); not a title I would have rated that highly .....
       The only title under review from The Economist's list is Adam Tooze's Crashed.

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       The Listening Walls review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Margaret Millar's 1959 thriller, The Listening Walls.

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29 November 2018 - Thursday

Q & As: Sam Tanenhaus - Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook
Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants review

       Q & A: Sam Tanenhaus

       Former The New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus has (temporarily) fled the country and is: "teaching two courses at the University of Toronto this term as a visiting professor for book and media studies", and at U of T News Mary Gooderham has a Q & A with him, Former New York Times books editor on what makes a great review and why U.S. political coverage needs to change, ahead of a discussion he will moderate tomorrow on The Art of Book Reviewing.
       Among his observations:
Do not believe any author who tells you that he or she doesn't read reviews. It's just not true.

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       Q & A: Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook

       At the Asymptote blog Sarah Moses has a 'Meet the Publisher'-Q & A with Feminist Press' Lauren Rosemary Hook on Feminist Writing in Translation.
       Among much else, Feminist Press publishes an interesting selection of translations -- several of which are under review at the complete review: most recently Virginie Despentes' Pretty Things, but also Shahrnush Parsipur's Women without Men.

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       Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mathias Énard's Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants, just out in English -- from Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK and New Directions in the US.
       A clever little bit of alternative-history, featuring Michelangelo .....

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28 November 2018 - Wednesday

Mathias Énard Q & A | Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey
Red Circle Minis reviews

       Mathias Énard Q & A

       Granta has Mathias Enard and Ian Maleney in Conversation, as the Compass-author's Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants is just out in English; my review should be up ... later today is up now.

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       Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey

       At Oregon ArtsWatch David Bates has a Q & A with Sonia Ticas, one of the translators of The strangest epic poem you've never heard of, Costa Rican poet Eunice Odio's The Fire's Journey, which Tavern Books is publishing -- three volumes so far, with the fourth and final one scheduled for next spring.
       It sounds like an intriguing, challenging work; see also the publicity page for the first volume, or get your copy at or

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

       Red Circle Minis reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two of the first three 'Red Circle Minis':        This is a nice looking-series that should serve as a good introduction to a variety of Japanese authors -- sort of like, for example, the Portable Library of Korean Literature.

       Two other Shiraishi works, both brought out by Dalkey Archive Press, are already under review at the complete review -- The Part of Me That Isnít Broken Inside and Me Against the World -- but Hanawa is new to me. Fun fact about him: he has also translated quite a few works, including the complete works of Rimbaud -- and the complete Encyclopedia Brown series.

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27 November 2018 - Tuesday

Icelandic literature in translation | New Literature from Europe Festival
Little Culinary Triumphs review

       Icelandic literature in translation

       The Icelandic Literature Center enthusiastically reports that Translation of Icelandic Literature into Foreign Languages has Tripled in a Decade ! as:
This year we saw a record number of allocated grants when the Center awarded 106 grants for the translation of Icelandic works of literature into 31 different languages. In comparison, allocated grants in 2008 were 31 for translations into 14 languages.
       Almost two months ago, at Three Percent Chad Post looked at the growth in Icelandic translations-into-English over the past decade, in A Frozen Imagination, and it's good to see that they've similarly expanded their reach elsewhere as well.
       The flipside of this success is how dependent it is on institutional-financial support -- mainly government support -- in the form of translation subsidies (hence the way they count: by the number of grants they've made). Great for a country willing and able to invest in its literature -- but many, especially economies that are not as strong, don't, one reason why we get so little from them in translation ......

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       New Literature from Europe Festival

       The New Literature from Europe Festival runs today through the 29th in New York, with an interesting line-up of authors -- certainly worth a look, if you're in the neighborhood.

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

       Little Culinary Triumphs review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Pascale Pujol's Little Culinary Triumphs, just out from Europa Editions.

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26 November 2018 - Monday

FIL de Guadalajara | Arnon Grunberg reviews

       FIL de Guadalajara

       The Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara -- the Guadalajara International Book Fair -- runs through 2 December.
       Portugal is the guest of honor, while Ida Vitale picked up the Premio FIL de Literatura en Lenguas Romances; the program looks pretty impressive.

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

       Arnon Grunberg reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of Arnon Grunberg's Het bestand and the short follow-up, Het tweede bestand.

       Het bestand was also made into a TV-movie -- and you can watch it at NPO.

       The last Grunberg work to appear in English was Tirza, which Open Letter brought out in 2013; they were hoping to publish more by the prolific author, but ... that didn't work out; see Chad Post's Reason #387 Why Publishing Is a Thankless, Frustrating Business.
       A shame -- he's always worth reading, and there's a ton of his stuff not yet available in English .....

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

25 November 2018 - Sunday

Teaching translation | Adonis on translation | Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)

       Teaching translation

       At his weblog Tim Gutteridge has a Q & A with Tim Parks, “Teaching style”: talking to Tim Parks about teaching translation.
       Among Parks' comments:
A translator has the task of reading a foreign text for the home audience and delivering to them what he or she has read. Not creating something ex nihilo. So the creativity of the translator's writing is not in finding anything new, but in finding a way of getting that original text to happen in the target language.
My impression is that many translators write poorly because they haven't really grasped what the original is saying, or how it is saying it.

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

       Adonis on translation

       In The Arab Weekly Susannah Tarbush reports on The merits and challenges of translation according to Adonis, as the poet gave the third Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize Lecture recently.

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

       Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018)

       Film director Nicolas Roeg has passed away; see, for example, Neil Genzlinger's obituary in The New York Times.
       I'm not a huge cinephile, but was always a great admirer of his work -- not just the literary adaptations (Don't Look Now, based on the Daphne du Maurier story; The Man Who Fell to Earth, based on the Walter Tevis novel), but also then the Theresa Russell-movies.
       And there's one Roeg-related title under review at the complete review: Colin MacCabe's study of Performance.

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24 November 2018 - Saturday

Diagram Prize | Prix André Malraux | A Shameful Life review

       Diagram Prize

       They've announced that the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year goes to Joy of Waterboiling, with: "an astonishing 56% of votes cast".
       See also the Achse Verlag publicity page.

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

       Prix André Malraux

       The new prix André Malraux has announced its winners, and the winning "œuvre de fiction au service de «la condition humaine»" is Javier Cercas' The Monarch of the Shadows, due out next year in English; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Cercas gets to pick up his €1933 prize, and round-the-world ticket, on 20 December.

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

       A Shameful Life review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dazai Osamu's A Shameful Life.
       This is a new translation, by Mark Gibeau, of 人間失格, just out from Stone Bridge Press; the previous one is Donald Keene's No Longer Human -- from 1958 ! -- which is also still in print.

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