Radio Prague International has started a series on The Czech Books You Must Read and they now have a Q & A by Ian Willoughby with Abigail Weil ("who is currently working on a book about Hašek") about the most-translated and one of the best-known Czech novels, Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk.
The Penguin Classics edition is the Cecil Parrott translation -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but, as they note, a new one, by Gerald Turner, is in the works, apparently scheduled for the centenary of Hašek's 1923 death.
(The Good Soldier Švejk isn't under review at the complete review -- I guess I'll wait until the new translation is out ... -- but Hašek's The Secret History of my Sojourn in Russia is.)
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Dorothea Zeemann's 1959 novel, Das Rapportbuch.
None of her work seems to have been translated, but with a new translation of one of Heimito von Doderer's books due out from New York Review Books maybe there will be some interest in it (as she was very close to him, literarily as well as personal-intimately -- and wrote extensively about that ...).
This one may not be the obvious first choice to translate -- the later work is stronger (and more sensational) -- but this is certainly the kind of period-piece American publishers seem to love .....
Suhrkamp published a batch of her books in paperback -- those are the ones I have -- but seem to have dropped her (this (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), brilliantly, seems to be what's left of her at their site ...); this one was re-issued by Edition Atelier a couple of years ago.
American author Charles Portis -- best known for True Grit -- has passed away; see, for example, Roy Reed's obituary in The New York Times.
True Grit (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) was also filmed twice -- in 1969 with John Wayne (a role for which he won the 1970 Oscar; get it at Amazon.com) and in 2010 , starring Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld (get it at Amazon.com).
I haven't covered any of his books at the complete review but I have a couple and should get to them -- maybe Masters of Atlantis first .....
They've announced the longlist for the prix Sade -- no official site, just, ugh, a F***book page --; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report, promisingly titled: Urinoirs, serial-killer et orgasme féminin dans la première sélection du prix Sade 2020.
Among the titles is Julien Green's Journal intime (1926-1940) (see the Robert Laffont publicity page) and Giacometti/Sade. Cruels objets du désir (see the Fage publicity page and the Fondation Giacometti exhibit page (the exhibit annoyingly having ended ... two days ago)) -- but the one I'm most interested in is Gérard Macé's Et je vous offre le néant (see the Gallimard publicity page).
The shortlist will be announced 22 June, and the winner on 26 September.
Via I'm pointed to the announcement that they handed out the 2019 Íslensku bókmenntaverðlaunin; see, for example, also the Icelandic Literature Center report.
The fiction prize went to Selta, by Sölvi Björn Sigurðsson; see also the Sögur útgáfa publicity page.
At Qantara.de Gerrit Wustmann writes about Reading outside the box, offering a bit of an overview of contemporary Iranian literature.
Quite a bit of Iranian literature is also under review at the complete review.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Yokomizo Seishi's The Inugami Curse.
Originally published in English as The Inugami Clan in 2003, it has just been re-issued by Pushkin Press (in the UK; the US edition will be out in a few months).
This novel has also been filmed twice by Ichikawa Kon.
This was long the only book by popular mystery writer Yokomizo available in translation, but Pushkin Press also recently published The Honjin Murders (which I haven't seen yet) and apparently will be bringing out more; in The Guardian Alison Flood recently wrote on How locked-room mystery king Seishi Yokomizo broke into English at last.
(I'd suggest it's a bit early to claim he's broken through, but one can hope; as to his having: "hardly been translated into English before (apart from one small-press US edition)", The Inugami Clan was published by (admittedly small) ICG Muse in 2003 and then re-issued by Stone Bridge Press in 2007; the edition I relied on is the latter.
It is good to see The Honjin Murders having already gotten more review attention than this did, back in the day; maybe he really will catch on now.)
The 250th anniversary of Friedrich Hölderlin's birth is on 20 March, and they've renovated the tower in which he spent his last years, the Hölderlinturm in Tübingen, as part of the celebrations -- and it opens to the public today.
Hölderlin is a wonderful poet -- but ... challenging to translate; still, most of his work is available in English; see, for example, the recent translation of Hyperion (see the Archipelago publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk)
or the Penguin edition of the Selected Poems and Fragments, translated by Michael Hamburger (see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk)
Hölderlin was also a fascinating figure, and Peter Weiss' play, Hölderlin, recently out in English from Seagull Books, is probably the most interesting accessible (in English) introduction.
(Pierre Bertaux's Friedrich Hölderlin impressed me greatly in the day, but it's not available in English; get your (German) copy at Amazon.de.)
The Nordic Prize. awarded by the Swedish Academy -- yes, the same folks who (most years ...) give you the Nobel Prize in Literature -- is the biggest Scandinavian author prize, and they've now announced this year's winner, and it is Rosa Liksom.
Several of her works have been translated into English, most recently The Colonel's Wife; see the Graywolf publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
Recent winners of the Nordic Prize include Shyness and Dignity-author Dag Solstad (2017) and My Struggle-author Karl Ove Knausgård (2019)
Tom Stoppard's latest (and last ?) play, Leopoldstadt, has opened in London, in a production directed by Patrick Marber; see the official site.
Playbillcollects links to the reviews so that I don't have .....
With an ensemble "of 27 adult and 15 child performers" this probably won't be a widely performed play -- there are not that many theaters that can afford such a huge cast (the main reason that most contemporary plays have so few parts).
A 2019 survey by Gakken Educational Research Institute found a significant drop in the volume of reading by elementary school children compared with 1989.
Significant indeed -- "the volume of books being read has dropped by two-thirds".
The study did find a significant drop-off in TV viewing too -- "by at least 50-60%" -- and presumably the use of digital devices, especially for game-playing and video-viewing, has taken much of what was previously reading- (and TV-watching-)time.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Harsha's 7th-century play, Priyadarśikā.
This translation I relied on is from almost a century ago, published in the short-lived Columbia University Indo-Iranian Series; more recently Wendy Doniger's translation, as The Lady who Shows her Love, appeared in the Clay Sanskrit Library (see the NYU Press publicity page); I haven't seen that one.
Both the content and the worldview expressed in The 120 Days of Sodom make it as close to a repellently unreadable book as has ever been written.
This new translation also happens to be a clumsy one, full of odd and poor choices, the worst of which is a character’s exclaiming, “Golly, sweetheart.”
But the infelicities of the translation are of relatively minor concern.
The 120 Days of Sodom most clearly poses the problem of Sade’s survival.
How has this body of work continued to be read, let alone enjoyed the status of a classic ?
Sade the stylist hardly figures in the commentaries written by his admirers; indeed, it would be hard to make much of a case for writing that is verbose, repetitive, and, for all its sexual explicitness, impoverished.
Added to these faults is the sheer bloat of his book
More relevant to Abidor's argument than even Epstein is of course the scandal currently shaking the French literary world -- yes, the same one behind the Sadean revival --, that surrounding Gabriel Matzneff -- a story that even made the first page of The New York Times yesterday, Norimitsu Onishi writing on A Pedophile Writer Is on Trial. So Are the French Elites.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of the quintet of The Encyclopedia Series by Gonçalo M. Tavares collected in Reading is Walking -- recently out in English, from Quantum Prose.
The biggest German book prize -- the ... German Book Prize -- is announced in the fall, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but there's also a big spring book fair in Germany, the Leipzig Book Fair (12 to 15 March this year), and they also have a prestigious book prize -- and whereas the German Book Prize is a single-category prize (novel !) the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair honors books in three categories: fiction, non, and translation.
They've now announced the fifteen finalists for this year's prize(s) -- five in each category, selected from a total of 402 submitted titles.
The fiction finalists include books by Ingo Schulze and Lutz Seiler (whose Kruso won the 2014 German Book Prize).
Translated-book finalists include Oreo by Fran Ross, a novel by A Short Tale of Shame-author Angel Igov, Clarice Lispector's collected stories, and George Eliot's Middlemarch.
The winners will be announced at the book fair, on 12 March.
Several of his works have been translated into English, with Ever Green Is ... published in the great Northwestern University Press 'Writings From An Unbound Europe'-series (see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) and
Fleeting Snow recently out from Istros (see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
Two members of the prix Goncourt-awarding Académie Goncourt resigned in recent months -- Bernard Pivot and Virginie Despentes -- but they've now announced the two members who will succeed them and fill out the 10-person academy: The Paradox of Love-author Pascal Bruckner and In His Arms-author Camille Laurens.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jonas Karlsson's The Circus.
This came out in the UK last year, in one volume together with Karlsson's previous two novels -- a loose sort of trilogy -- and has now come out as a stand-alone in the US, from Hogarth.
They've announced the shortlists for the 2020 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, The Booksellerreport.
There are sixteen categories, and representatives from twenty-nine countries are among the finalists -- including the Yemen Bookstore in Yemen.
The three finalists for the Literary Translation Initiative Award are:
J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter is among the most widely-translated contemporary works, and in Tablet Yair Rosenbergnow offers: "The inside story of how Harry Potter was translated into Yiddish", in How Do You Say 'Quidditch' in Yiddish ?
Karel Čapek is best-known for his dramas (notably R.U.R., in which he coined the word 'robot') and fiction (e.g. The Absolute at Large), but he was also a travel-writer, and Mirna Šolić recently published a study of these writing, In Search of a Shared Expression: Karel Čapek’s travel writing and imaginative geography of Europe; see for example, the Charles University press release.
At Radio Praha Ian Willoughby now has an interesting Q & A about this with Šolić.
French author Pierre Guyotat has passed away; see, for example, the Le Mondereport.
His writing was fairly extreme and certainly intense; quite a bit of it has been translated into English.
See, for example, Rod Smith's review in Rain Taxi of Tomb for 500,000 Soldiers and Eden, Eden, Eden; those two are hard to find in the US/UK right now, but the recent MIT Press titles are readily available; get your copy of In the Deep at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
They've announced the twelve-title longlist for this year's Stella Prize -- a: "literary award celebrating Australian women's writing and an organisation that champions cultural change".
The longlist was selected from 150 entries; the shortlist will be announced 6 March, the winner on 8 April.
They've announced the Iranian Book of the Year Awards; a full list of the winners (in Farsi) can be found e.g. here -- and see also the Tehran Times report, Iran honors top books of the year.
The novel of the year award was shared by two books: وضعیت بی عاری ('The Shamelessness Situation') by Hamed Jalali; see also the Adab publicity page, and دور زدن در خیابان یکطرفه ('Turning on the One-Way Street') by Mohammadreza Marzuqi; see also the Third Publishing publicity page.
Both of these were also finalists for the Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award, awarded in December.
A translation of David Damrosch's What Is World Literature ? shared in one of the translation prizes.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Bharatchandra Ray's eighteenth century In Praise of Annada, now out complete in two volumes in Harvard University Press' Murty Classical Library of India series.
They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
Lots of geography in the titles -- from The Spartan Court to Firewood of Sarajevo .....
The winner will be announced on 14 April.
In the New Indian Express Pradip Phanjoubam argues that: "While Naga nonfiction is seemingly unable to break free from revisiting the conflict, fiction is starting to show signs of a new life germinating", in Remembering & forgetting in Naga literature.
George Steiner has passed away; see, for example, The New York Timesobituary by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt and William Grimes.
(Yes, it's one of those creepy The New York Times obituaries (co-)written by someone who pre-deceased the subject.)
I was a great admirer of Steiner's work, and it was tremendously influential on my reading in my late teens (and also beyond) -- starting with In Bluebeard's Castle and After Babel (of course).
(I name-checked him when I spoke On Reading at the Salzburg Festival last year as one of the few (mainly) non-fiction writers who had a profound influence on what (and how) I read -- in contrast to, I noted, for example, a Marcel Reich-Ranicki.)
Not that I always agreed with him -- he panned (the first volume of) Peter Weiss' The Aesthetics of Resistance !
Several of Steiner's works are under review at the complete review:
But I still have some to get to, too -- such as George Steiner at the New Yorker (which is unfortunately only a selection-of; hopefully, a complete volume will follow ...); see also the New Directions publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The Vilcek Foundation awards a lot of money in a variety of categories, and they've now announced their literary awards.
Edwidge Danticat will receive the 2020 Vilcek Prize in Literature, while the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Literature will go to Yaa Gyasi, Valeria Luiselli, and Jenny Xie.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Massimo Carlotto's Blues for Outlaw Hearts and Old Whores, the latest in his 'Alligator'-series, which is out ... today.
This is the tenth Carlotto under review at the complete review.
The Ekushey Book Fair has opened in Bangladesh -- inaugurated by prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
In The Daily Star report, Translate more Bangla literature (yes !) they report:
Hasina lamented that now she cannot move around the Ekushey book fair freely as she used to do in her student life.
Noting that this book fair is her favorite event, she said, "After becoming the prime minister, it always hurts that I don't have the liberty anymore as I had in my student life when I used to spend hour after hour in the book fair.
I feel very good whenever I visit the book fair."
They've announced the winners of this year's Victorian Premier's Literary Awards -- "Australia's richest literary prize".
Like the British Whitbread Costa Book Awards, there are category-winners (fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, writing for young adults and, every other year (but not this one), Indigenous writing), who each receive A$25,000, with the 'Victorian Prize for Literature' (and another A$100,000) going to the one selected from the category winners as best of all; this year it was the drama winner, S.Shakthidharan's Counting and Cracking; see also the Belvoir production page.
Christos Tsiolkas' novel, Damascus, won the fiction category award.
They've announced the shortlist for this year's Wingate Literary Prize, "awarded annually to the best book to 'translate the idea of Jewishness to the general reader'", with both works of fiction and non under consideration.
Finalists include novels by Gary Shteyngart, Ayelet Gundar-Goshen, Howard Jacobson, and Linda Grant, but the only work under review at the complete review is Benjamin Balint's Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literacy Legacy.
The winner will be announced 16 March.
In the new issue of the New Criterion John Steele Gordon writes on "the beloved brainchild of George MacDonald Fraser", the infamous Flashman, in No flash in the pan.
Only a trio of the Flashman-titles are under review at the complete review -- including the first, Flashman -- but I've read them all save one (I'm a fan); as with a few much-loved authors all of whose other novels I have read, I've been holding back one in reserve, saving it for desperate times.
(Other examples: Graham Greene (Brighton Rock) and Patrick White (The Tree of Man).)
(Oddly, however, it's another title by Fraser -- Quartered Safe Out Here -- that is one of the titles that, over the years, users have purchased most steadily and frequently via the Amazon link at the site; it's among a dozen or so dependable sellers, year in and year out, and I have no idea why.)