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16 October 2018 - Tuesday

Anniversaries ! | James Wood on Dag Solstad
The Hindu Prize shortlists | Two-Step review

       Anniversaries !

       Today is the day Damion Searls' translation of Uwe Johnson's classic Anniversaries comes out, in a lovely boxed set from New York Review Books -- so if you haven't pre-ordered it ... well, what are you waiting for ? Head to the local store or order it online -- just get your copy of the biggest (page- and significance-wise) translation of the year.
       Yes, there was an earlier translation -- but given this new one, the less said the better about that horribly abridged one .....
       There's been a bit of coverage to prepare you (though so far review coverage has been ... lagging): at the Literary Hub they've been excerpting the book, day by day, the past week, while at The Paris Review's Daily weblog translator Searls is scheduled to introduce the book and author with three essays; see the first, On Uwe Johnson: Poet of Both Germanies.
       There's also an event tonight at the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, with translator Searls in conversation with NYRB Classics editor Edwin Frank.
       Really, this is a book well worth going out of your way for (and making the time for -- yes, it's long).

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



       James Wood on Dag Solstad

       Two more translations of novels by Dag Solstad came out in English this spring -- T Singer and Armand V. -- and already at the start of the year, on 2 January, I was ready to call it:
the one reviewing certainty of this year is that James Wood will review this duo -- T Singer and Armand V. -- in The New Yorker. Pretty much guaranteed. (And I imagine they will be very positive reviews; deservedly so -- they're great books.)
       It took him quite a bit longer than I had expected, but he finally did get around to it, and Marginal Men Take Center Stage in the Novels of Dag Solstad appears in this week's issue of The New Yorker.
       The books -- and Solstad generally -- haven't gotten the attention they deserve -- but it's not too late .....

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



       The Hindu Prize shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for this year's The Hindu Prize
       Good to see that two of the fiction finalists are works in translation.

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



       Two-Step review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of a Boolean Comedrama by Oulipians Jacques Jouet and Olivier Salon, Two-Step, just out as a chapbook from Toad Press -- and also translated in tandem, by Emma Ramadan and Chris Clarke.

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



15 October 2018 - Monday

Publishing poetry in ... India | Say: cheese ... say what ? | Iva Pekárková Q & A

       Publishing poetry in ... India

       At Scroll.in Kanishka Gupta has a Q & A with five Indian publishers of poetry, in The flag-bearers of verse: How five independent presses publish poetry in India.
       Among the observations: one publisher maintains:
I don't want poetry books to be bestsellers. For, if you sell more, that means you are resonating with the mainstream. Poetry is the voice from the outside. Its survival depends on resisting the mainstream.
       Lots of interesting questions and responses.

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



       Say: cheese ... say what ?

       I'm all for pushing boundaries with form and content, but I'm not sure about Ben Denzer's American Cheese, 20 Slices. At Saveur University of Michigan librarian Jamie Lausch Vander Broek writes about spending US$200 on a copy (of the limited edition of ten), in You Can Check Out an Actual Cheese Book at this Michigan Library.
       The headline exaggerates a bit -- the library listing says it is for: 'Building use only' (and by appointment, at that) -- but the essence is apparently true: it's described as: "Twenty individually wrapped slices of Kraft American cheese bound together".
       What's truly scary:
We won't be storing the cheese book in the fridge; according to our head of conservation, American singles are basically shelf stable.
       (People consume this stuff ? Voluntarily ?)
       There are only ten copies -- no ISBN, no Amazon listing ... -- but don't tell the kids about it, they'll want to make their own ..... (But you're not feeding this stuff to them anyway, are you ?)

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       Iva Pekárková Q & A

       After the Soviet collapse, Iva Pekárková was briefly pretty hot in English, with several works translated in the 1990s and 2000, but it's been pretty quiet (in English) since then. At Radio Praha she resurfaces, in a Q & A with Brian Kenety.

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



14 October 2018 - Sunday

French inequality-lit | Literature in ... Saudi Arabia | Aniara review

       French inequality-lit

       Eurozine has Nicolas Léger's piece on The literature of inequality, as he finds:
French literature of the early twenty-first century has produced something like a cartography and genealogy of inequality, both economic and social.

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



       Literature in ... Saudi Arabia

       In The Arab Weekly Zaki al-Soudeir profiles Saad Albazei, in Saudi literary critic: 'Fight against extremism continues'.
       The piece opens:
Literary critic Saad Albazei says there are literary efforts in Saudi Arabia to document and keep up with current developments in the country.
       I'm not quite sure they're up to the challenge, especially considering recent events .....

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



       Aniara review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of (controversial) 1974 Nobel laureate Harry Martinson's Aniara: A Review of Man in Time and Space -- a rare work of science fiction in verse.

       This has not only been made into an opera, but there's a new movie-version just out; not sure this will make it to your local cineplex, but see the trailer.

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



13 October 2018 - Saturday

Korean v. Japanese fiction | Javier Marías Q & As
The 'New Academy Prize in Literature'

       Korean v. Japanese fiction

       In many countries there have long been complaints about English-language popular fiction taking over the local book market -- and leaving less room for domestic authors -- but in South Korea they apparently are more concerned about fiction from closer to home. Apparently, as Kang Hyun-kyung reports in The Korea Times in Highbrow vs. lowbrow literature:
Goh Gwang-ryul, a novelist, said the "unproductive highbrow vs. lowbrow literature debate" in Korean literary circles can partly explain how Japanese fiction has been pushing Korean writers out of business.

He said Japanese writers are able to meet the changing tastes of Korean readers as they produce readable books, whereas Koreans fail to do so because of the hypocrisy of literary critics.
       Apparently:
Local literary critics see middlebrow fiction as something derogatory and lower-class literature, Goh said.

"Their arrogance and downplaying of middlebrow books is related to the sluggish book sales of Korean fiction. They exert enormous influence on publishers. They make or break publication of certain books."
       Hey, literary critics actually having an influence on the book market !

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



       Javier Marías Q & As

       Javier Marías' Berta Isla is just out in the UK -- get your copy at Amazon.co.uk -- and at The Guardian he answers questions in the 'Books that made me'-column.
       Among his responses:
The book that changed my life
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, as I translated it into Spanish when I was about 25. It took me two years.
       Translation as making the writer ! (See also Gareth J. Wood's fascinating Javier Marías's Debt to Translation.)

       Meanwhile, at The Paris Review's the Daily weblog Michael LaPointe also has a Q & A with Marías.

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



       The 'New Academy Prize in Literature'

       They've announced that Maryse Condé will receive the New Academy Prize in Literature, the one-time would-be Nobel Prize in Literature stand-in.
       Good for her -- a deserving winner --, getting the attention and cash.
       The only title of hers under review at the complete review is her memoir, What is Africa to Me ? but her fiction is certainly worth checking out too.

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



12 October 2018 - Friday

'100 German must-reads' | Seven Sixes are Forty-Three review

       '100 German must-reads'

       Deutsche Welle has made up what they call: 'the ultimate list of German-language books [published since 1900] translated into English'; see Reading Matter ? 100 German Must-Reads ! with links to more information about all the titles, or a pdf of the 100 German Must-Reads; see also their explanation, 100 German must-reads: The story behind the project.
       The limitations -- post-1900 titles, translated into English, and one book per author -- make for a ... somewhat limited list (though it does get a lot of the big titles); it also skews recent and popular.
       Quite a few of the titles are under review at the complete review:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



       Seven Sixes are Forty-Three review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kiran Nagarkar's 1974 novel, Seven Sixes are Forty-Three.

       This is the first translation from the Marathi under review at the complete review.

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



11 October 2018 - Thursday

Nobel-less day | (American) National Book Awards shortlists
DSC Prize longlist | Paris Nocturne review

       Nobel-less day

       Maybe they would have already announced it last Thursday, but today probably would have been the day they revealed the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature -- but since the prize-deciding Swedish Academy imploded earlier this year we've known for a while that there would be no announcement this October. The plan is now to announce both the 2018 and 2019 winners next year -- although the way things are going, who knows whether or not they'll be able to pull that off; even if they do, it will hardly make for twice the fun.
       The one-off fill-in 'The New Academy Prize in Literature' will announce its winner tomorrow, but it's a pretty sorry substitute -- and, with the low stakes (not much prestige to be had here, unlike the tradition-steeped Nobel) and the three finalists known (the fourth, Murakami Haruki, having pulled out), there's none of the frenzied guessing (and betting) action that accompanies the last days and hours before the the Nobel announcement. (Of course, at least this prize won't surprise with a selection like ... Bob Dylan, either, so at least there's that.)
       I kind of miss the Nobel nonsense -- and Nobel-announcement day is always the day which brings by far the most traffic to the complete review -- but I'm glad to be able to devote the time I'd otherwise have spent on it reading and writing instead. (And it's not like there aren't enough other prizes to keep track of at this time of year .....)

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



       (American) National Book Awards shortlists

       The (American) National Book Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2018 National Book Awards -- including the finalists for the Translated Literature prize:
  • Disoriental, by Négar Djavadi, tr. by Tina Kover

  • The Emissary, by Tawada Yoko, tr. by Margaret Mitsutani

  • Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, tr. by Jennifer Croft

  • Love, by Hanne Ørstavik, tr. by Martin Aitken

  • Trick, by Domenico Starnone, tr. by Jhumpa Lahiri
       The winners will be announced 14 November.

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



       DSC Prize longlist

       They've announced the sixteen-title longlist for this year's DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, selected from 88 submissions; it includes four titles in translation (from Assamese, Kannada, Tamil, and Hindi).
       I've only seen two of these, with many of the titles (and all the translations) not (yet) out in the US/UK.
       The shortlist will be announced 14 November.

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



       Paris Nocturne review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Patrick Modiano's Paris Nocturne.

       This one has been out from Yale University Press in their Margellos World Republic of Letters series for a couple of years now, but the next -- Sleep of Memory -- is due out next week; I should be getting to that one soon, too.

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



10 October 2018 - Wednesday

German book market | Austrian Book Prize shortlist
Kawakami Mieko profile | The Prepper Room review

       German book market

       At Deutsche Welle Jochen Kürten looks at The German book market: Between crisis and hope at some length.
       Among the amazing statistics:
Exactly 82,636 titles were released in 2017. A decade ago, that figure was around 95,000. A steep decline.
       Also interesting -- and a reflection of just how ridiculous the US/UK market-for-translation is:
Are there strong sales of German books to be found in the big, wide English-speaking world ? Not at all. As far as the licensing business is concerned, the English-speaking countries are not even in the top 10.

China has claimed the top spot for years. In 2017, for the first time, Turkey is in second place. Spain, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands follow.

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



       Austrian Book Prize shortlist

       They've announced the five-title shortlist for the Austrian book prize.
       Among those making it through who have previous titles translated into English are Milena Michiko Flašar and Josef Winkler; among those falling short: Arno Geiger.
       The winner will be announced 5 November.

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



       Kawakami Mieko profile

       There's yet another profile of the author out (after Kris Kosaka's in The Japan Times last month), as The Economist's Prospero argues Mieko Kawakami is Japan's brightest new literary star.
       I enjoyed her Ms Ice Sandwich, and it's good to see that her Breasts and Eggs "will soon be published in English" (for now, see for example the Books from Japan information page) -- though as I've mentioned, what I'd really love to see is that conversations-with-Murakami book (which is apparently also being translated, so should be appearing ... eventually).

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



       The Prepper Room review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Karen Duve's The Prepper Room.
       This got quite a few devastating reviews in Germany, while the UK edition -- it's been out for a couple of months there -- seems to have gone largely unremarked upon (not even the cover ...). Dedalus is bringing it out in the US next February, and I'm curious whether it will attract any attention. Set in 2031 and covering a lot of hot-button (in the US) issues, it seems like a good fit .....

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



9 October 2018 - Tuesday

German Book Prize | Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist
What is Africa to Me ? review

       German Book Prize

       They've announced that Archipel, by Inger-Maria Mahlke, has won this year's German Book Prize; see also the Deutsche Welle report, and the Rowohlt foreign rights page for the book.

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



       Warwick Prize for Women in Translation longlist

       They've announced the fifteen-title longlist for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation.
       Only one of these titles is under review at the complete review: Belladonna by Daša Drndić; disappointingly many of these are not (yet, in some cases) readily US-available.

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



       What is Africa to Me ? review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Fragments of a True-to-Life Autobiography by Maryse Condé, What is Africa to Me ?

       (Condé is one of the finalists for the feeble Nobel Prize-substitute one-off 'New Prize' whose winner will be announced 12 October.)

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



8 October 2018 - Monday

Oleg Pavlov (1970-2018) | Murakami's Killing Commendatore | Dusty Pink review

       Oleg Pavlov (1970-2018)

       Russian author Oleg Pavlov has passed away; see, for example, Lisa Hayden Espenschade's post at her Lizok's Bookshelf.

       Several of his works have been translated into English, most recently Asystole; see the Glagoslav publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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       Murakami's Killing Commendatore

       Murakami Haruki's Killing Commendatore is coming out in English tomorrow, and so the reviews and attendant publicity have started to flood in.
       NHK reports Haruki Murakami gives rare talk in New York (using the term 'rare' very, very loosely ...), while in The Japan Times they report on the conversation at greater length, in: Haruki Murakami says good writing is what he can do to help people in times of trouble.
       Meanwhile, at nippon.com Eli K.P. William considers at some length: Murakami Haruki: Immortal Artist or Falling Star ?

       (Updated - 10 October): See now also Your Definitive Guide to All of Haruki Murakami's Books by Hillary Kelly at Vulture (which may not be definitive, but, hey, it's sort of a guide.)

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



       Dusty Pink review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jean-Jacques Schuhl's 1972 cult classic, Dusty Pink, recently out from Semiotext(e).

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



7 October 2018 - Sunday

Czech National Literature Prize declined
Hector Abad Q & A | Elias Khoury profile

       Czech National Literature Prize declined

       Czech author Jiří Hájíček was awarded this year's Czech National Literature Prize -- but, as Brian Kenety reports at Radio Praha, Writer Jiří Hájíček Rejects National Literature Prize -- apparently: "because some jury members had quit after the parliamentary elections and so the award cannot be considered apolitical".
       This prize has a solid list of previous winners -- Jáchym Topol won last year, and previous winners include Patrik Ouředník (2014), Daniela Hodrová (2011), and Ludvík Vaculík (2008).
       Hájíček's Rustic Baroque is available in English -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- and see information about the author at Czech Lit.

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



       Hector Abad Q & A

       In The Guardian Joe Parkin Daniels has a Q & A with The Joy of Being Awake-author Hector Abad -- mainly about his recently translated The Farm; see also the publicity pages at Archipelago and World Editions, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Elias Khoury profile

       In The National Rupert Hawksley profiles Lebanese author Elias Khoury, speaking to him: 'about the future of the Middle East, the state of the Arab novel today and his latest work'.

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



6 October 2018 - Saturday

WELT-Literaturpreis | How to Read Donald Duck in a US edition
Afraid to Death review

       WELT-Literaturpreis

       They've announced that this year's WELT-Literaturpreis will go to Virginie Despentes; she gets to pick up the €12,000 on 17 December.
       This international author prize has a decent if somewhat mixed list of winners that includes early on good call future Nobel laureate Kertész Imre (2000), Amos Oz (2004), Yasmina Reza (2005), Philip Roth (2009), Murakami Haruki (2014), and Karl Ove Knausgaard (2015); they seem to have skipped the award last year.
       Despentes has been attracting more attention in the US/UK too, as more of her books become available in translation -- even if Vernon Subutex still isn't out in the US yet ... (two volumes are in the UK). The most recent translation to appear is Pretty Things -- one of her early books.

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



       How to Read Donald Duck in a US edition

       Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart's classic How to Read Donald Duck is being re-issued -- in what is apparently the first ever US edition (though some UK copies did make it into the country, back when, and weren't impossible to find; I got one in high school, and was thoroughly impressed at the time) -- and in The Guardian Dorfman explains How we roasted Donald Duck, Disney's agent of imperialism.
       See also the OR Books publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com.
       This has always seemed to me to be a fairly fundamental/essential contemporary text, one of those I'd never think of not having in my library (yes, along with many, many hundreds of other volumes, but still ...).

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       Afraid to Death review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Marc Behm's Afraid to Death, recently re-issued by Arcadia Books.

       Although Behm wrote this in English it was first published in French translation, as Trouille, in 1991 and only appeared in the original English in 2000. Which is still more than can be said of a lot of his work -- available in French (translation) but not in the original English.

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



5 October 2018 - Friday

2018 MacArthur Fellows | The Tale of the Missing Man review

       2018 MacArthur Fellows

       They've announced this year's 25 MacArthur Fellows, "Awarding unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction" -- the famous 'genius'-grants that come with US$625,000, no-strings-attached.
       The usual variety of artists, activists, scientists, and others, including several writers, such as Kelly Link (who is also a co-founder of Small Beer Press) and John Keene.

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



       The Tale of the Missing Man review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Manzoor Ahtesham's The Tale of the Missing Man, recently out from Northwestern University Press.

       The Translation Database currently lists 589 translations -- fiction and non, poetry, and children's -- being published for the first time in the US in 2018 -- and shockingly and embarrassingly, this is the sole title translated from the Hindi that appears there. (Of the 724 translated titles published in 2017 there was also only one lone translation from the Hindi -- so at least the percentage has improved ?)
       Sure, more are translated and available in India, so if you really try hard you can find a couple more, but it's amazing that nothing else from such a major language -- both in terms of reading population and literary significance -- is being published in the US. And, mind you, this is a 1995 novel -- certainly worth seeing, but a long way from current. The piles of just the recent stuff we should be seeing .....
       Of course, South and South East Asia continues to be miserably under-represented in US/UK translation across the board -- to the extent that the Translation Database (covering 2008 to 2019 !) doesn't even bother listing national languages from Thai to Malaysian, Sinhalese, Nepali, Lao, or Cambodian -- because apparently there isn't a single title in these languages that qualifies for inclusion (in over a decade !); Burmese makes the cut with ... one title for the whole span. (Tilted Axis' expansion to US distribution will help slip in some, fortunately -- Prabda Yoon ! -- but that's still just a drop in the bucket.)
       Of course, the previous title I reviewed was from a language which also didn't see a single title translated into English and published in the US for the first time in 2018 .....

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



4 October 2018 - Thursday

Prize shortlists: JCB Prize for Literature - Governor General's Literary Awards
Obolé review

       Prize shortlist: JCB Prize for Literature

       They've announced the shortlist for the Indian JCB Prize for Literature -- with the two titles in translation, Poonachi by Perumal Murugan and Jasmine Days by Benyamin, making the final five.
       See also The Wire report, Shortlist for JCB Prize for Literature Announced and Harsimran Gill at Scroll.in on The JCB Prize for Literature shortlist: This is why each of the five novels deserves to win.
       The winner will be announced 24 October.

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       Prize shortlists: Governor General's Literary Awards

       They've announced the finalists for the Canadian Governor General's Literary Awards -- seventy titles in all, five books in each of seven categories in both English and French, including translation (French into English, and English into French).
       The fourteen winning titles will be announced 30 October, and the awards ceremony will be on 28 November.

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



       Obolé review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Aka Mortschiladse's Obolé -- just out in German translation, but not yet in English; Levan Berdzenishvili recently included this among his Top Five Georgian Novels -- indeed, it is his favorite.

       Dalkey Archive Press did bring out his Journey to Karabakh a couple of years ago, but, despite Georgia being the guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair which starts next week, translations of other Georgian works into English have been ... lagging: the Translation Database lists zero new translations from the Georgian being published in the US in 2018 .....
       The Germans are doing much better, and I have a few more new translations which I hope to get to; meanwhile, see also this Q & A (it's in English, after the short intro) with someone from the Santa Esperanza Bookshop about the Georgian book market, as well as the official guest of honour site, Georgia Made by Characters.
       The big annual Georgian literary award is the Saba Literary Award -- with Obolé picking up the 2012 best novel prize -- and this year they'll be announcing the winners at the Frankfurt Book Fair, on 12 October; among those in the running for this year's best novel prize is Lasha Bugadze, whose earlier The Literature Express is available in English (unsurprisingly, also from Dalkey Archive Press).

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



3 October 2018 - Wednesday

'Why Transliteration Matters' | Baillie Gifford Prize shortlist
Prix Goncourt, second selection | Seventeen review

       'Why Transliteration Matters'

       In the Forward Aviya Kushner discusses Why Transliteration Matters -- an always fascinating topic.
       Kushner focuses on words for which there is no English equivalent, or where there's some other reason to use the foreign word in transliterated form -- but, as she notes, it also comes into play with regards, for example, to author-names, as I have often noted re. Russian, Arabic, and other examples. (Among my favorite examples: it comes up in other languages too: 'Shakespeare' is 'Szekspir' in Polish.)

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



       Baillie Gifford Prize 2018 shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, a £30,000 prize.
       The winner will be announced 14 November.

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



       Prix Goncourt, second selection

       The prix Goncourt has announced its second selection -- the shorter longlist of eight titles, with the announcement of a shortlist (30 October) and winner (8 November) still to come; see, for example the Livres Hebdo report.
       (As the report notes: just one female author left in the running -- not very impressive.)

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



       Seventeen review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Yokoyama Hideo's Seventeen -- already out in the UK, and coming to the US in November.

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



2 October 2018 - Tuesday

Pascale Casanova (1959-2018) | Walter Laqueur (1921-2018)
Literary prizes: Royal Society Science Book Prize - Giller Prize shortlist
Cholera cancels ZIBF

       Pascale Casanova (1959-2018)

       Sad to hear that, as Harvard's Institute for World Literature reports, Major French literary critic Pascale Casanova dies at 59.
       Her The World Republic of Letters is, of course, a seminal text -- and I hope La Langue mondiale. Traduction et domination (see the Seuil publicity page) makes it into English soon as well.

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



       Walter Laqueur (1921-2018)

       Walter Laqueur, who wrote extensively on terrorism, among other subjects, has passed away, see, for example, the obituaries in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
       None of his many books are under review at the complete review, but I read several over the years and found them interesting and useful.

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



       Royal Society Science Book Prize

       They've announced that Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, has won this year's Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.
       See also the publicity pages from Doubleday or PublicAffairs, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Giller Prize shortlist

       They've announced the five-title shortlist for this year's (Canadian) Scotiabank Giller Prize; none of the finalists are under review at the complete review.
       The winner will be announced 19 November.

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



       Cholera cancels ZIBF

       As Newsday reported a few weeks ago, this year's Zimbabwe International Book Fair, originally scheduled 26 to 29 September, had to be postponed (indefinitely, apparently), due to a cholera outbreak.
       Now, also in Newsday, Beniah Munengwa suggests, in light of the cancellation, would be a good Time to consider colloquial literature.
       And at least the Nairobi International Book Fair, held last week, seems to have gone over well; see, for example, Thomas Rajula in the Daily Nation reporting Talent, new ways of learning are at the heart of this year's Nairobi book fair

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



1 October 2018 - Monday

Sad Latvian books | Local translation in Southeast Asia
American Fictionary review

       Sad Latvian books

       Latvian Literature helpfully has a list of the 10 saddest Latvian books.
       None seem to be available in English yet -- but don't worry, apparently you too can soon be saddened, as: "Several books in the list are soon to be available in the UK and other English speaking countries in translation".

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



       Local translation in Southeast Asia

       In the Myanmar Times Zon Pann Pwint finds Southeast Asian Novels Lost Without Translation.
       Not much is translated from the Burmese, but locally they also find relatively little is translated into Burmese from other Southeast Asian countries; translation from the English still completely dominates the market.

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



       American Fictionary review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dubravka Ugrešić's American Fictionary -- a revised edition of her long out of print Have a Nice Day, just out from Open Letter.

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



30 September 2018 - Sunday

Most-produced plays in US | Ferdinand Bruckner reviews

       Most-produced plays in US

       American Theatre has its lists of the eleven Most-Produced Plays of the 2018-19 Season and the twenty Top 20 Most-Produced Playwrights of the 2018-19 season (excluding A Christmas Carol and plays by Shakespeare (of which there are apparently 96 productions this season)).
       A Doll's House, Part 2, by Lucas Hnath, easily led the way -- and also propelled Hnath to most-produced playwright.
       I was surprised not see more old, 'classic' playwrights among the most-produced - with August Wilson coming in as 10th most produced, and Tennessee Williams only 17th (and Sam Shepard at 20th).

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



       Ferdinand Bruckner reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of the two plays by Ferdinand Bruckner (Theodor Tagger) in the collection Two Plays of Weimar Germany just out from Northwestern University Press:
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -



29 September 2018 - Saturday

Hungarian Translators' House | Meilleur livre étranger finalists
Fiction from ... Greenland

       Hungarian Translators' House

       At hlo Owen Good has a Q & A with Péter Rácz: As often happens in life, it was love, about his role as chairperson of the Hungarian Translators' House Foundation
       Among the points of interest:
Every year 120-140 translators visit the house, half of them come with their own commissioned job and are already professional literary translators, whereas the rest come to take part in seminars. Out of all of Europe, I think Greek is the only nationality we haven’t had yet. From the Far East there’s been Mongolian, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Indian, and in the other direction, from across the water, the USA. It’s clear that where the Hungarian language is well-taught, there are more translators, for example in Poland. In 2017, roughly 40 writers were translated into 18 languages, and 28 works translated in the house were published around the world.
       What's up with the Greeks ? Surely they need Hungarian works to read, too !

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



       Meilleur livre étranger finalists

       The rather boringly titled French 'best foreign book' prize has announced its six fiction finalists and five non finalists -- with three apiece translated from English; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       This actually has a pretty decent list of previous winners (but no official site/page, alas), and it's always interesting to see what foreign literature attracts attention elsewhere.
       The winner will be announced 29 November.

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



       Fiction from ... Greenland

       The only Greenlandic novel under review at the complete review is Mathias Storch's Singnagtugaq, but a much newer author is finally also on the English horizon: already profiled last year at The New Yorker, as The Young Queer Writer Who Became Greenland's Unlikely Literary Star, Niviaq Korneliussen's 2014 HOMO sapienne (see the miliq publicity page) is finally coming out in English -- as Crimson, soon, in the UK; as Last Night in Nuuk early next year in the US. (Publish it with a uniform title ? Ha ! The publishing professionals obviously know better .....) See the publicity pages from Virago and Grove/Black Cat, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
       At The Economist's 1843 Sarah Ditum now also profiles the author, in Breaking the ice: Greenland's new literary star.

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



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