Interesting to note that this is the fourth of the novels I've recently reviewed that's a paperback original and book-in-translation appearing in the US this week (or thereabouts) that was previously published in the UK, a year or more ago -- beside this one:
Helsingin Sanomat reports that Purge-author Sofi Oksanen's new novel, Kun kyyhkyset katosivat ('When the Pigeons Disappeared') is due out in Finland this fall -- and that Record print run planned for Sofi Oksanen's new novel.
What is a record print run in Finland (with its not much over 5,000,000 inhabitants) ?
It's being published by Like (as Oksanen split with locally dominant publisher WSOY recently) -- and there's already an official site.
The book is apparently the third in a planned tetralogy; Purge was the second volume (and the first hasn't been translated into English yet ...).
What is missing is the mentality to strike out and find the markets that transcend our geographical limitations.
The pity lies in the lack of importance culture seems to be given by administrations that might pay lip service to the need to expand this country's literary horizons but do not put their money and resources where their mouth is.
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Alberto Manguel's All Men are Liars, now also out in a US edition.
Having just reviewed Enrique Vila-Matas' Dublinesque, I was amused to find a small Vila-Matas cameo in this book (which also features a narrator named 'Alberto Manguel') .....
Nobel laureate Patrick White would have turned 100 today -- and it's disappointing to see that there's not more coverage of the great writer to commemorate the occasion.
In The Australian Peter Craven does have a nice piece, Coloured by the literary richness of White (I'm not sure how accessible this piece is/remains), but beyond that there's little more -- just stuff like: 'Eileen Battersby ponders novelist Patrick White to artist Sidney Nolan' in From here ... to there in the Irish Times, for example.
A few weeks back Jane Sullivan did find Minds shaped by the styles of White -- but that also came with the depressing parenthetical observation:
One sobering statistic: The Tree of Man has sold only 464 copies this century.
There are fifteen White titles under review at the complete review (see the author page for links), and The Tree of Man is pretty much the only major work not covered: I've been saving that because I can't bear the thought of there not being some additional work by White left for me to read (though with the posthumous The Hanging Garden now out (in the UK and Australia ... get your copy at Amazon.co.uk) I should really take the plunge).
ABC Arts does have an interesting-looking video, Patrick White: Will They Read Me When Iím Dead ? up.
Centenary occasion or not, White is always worth your while -- if you haven't read anything by him, I strongly recommend you give him a try.
At Qantara.de Stefan Buchen has an interesting profile of The Loyal Dissident -- Iranian Writer Amir Hassan Cheheltan.
The only one of his works under review at the complete review is his آمریکایی کُشی در تهران.
In The Telegraph Mick Brown profiles Martin Amis: over-60 and under-appreciated, as the Lionel Asbo-publicity machine gets rolling (look for some fun, outlandish Amis pronouncements as it progresses and he finds (or his publishers complain) he isn't getting enough attention; for anyone to think this guy is 'under-appreciated' ... surely there's no writer whose every fart gets as much attention as his do).
I am looking forward to Lionel Asbo, which sounds ... intriguing; it's due out in the UK shortly -- get your copy at Amazon.co.uk -- and in the US in August (pre-order your copy at Amazon.com).
Both parts of Tony Afejuku's 'Language, Literature and Decolonization of Nigeria's Political Culture' are now available in Vanguard -- parts one and two.
Of course, because "huge" Nigeria has no singular language that is our official language, we cannot speak in terms of a Nigerian national culture, strictly speaking, in the same way that Russians, for example, can speak of a Russian national culture.
This is the reason why Wale Okediran, a Yoruba, has not or cannot write his stories, novels and essays in Yoruba.
To pass as a Nigerian writer, to pass as a national writer writing about a national culture, he must write in English language, the colonizer's language. Yet Wale Okediran must attempt to de-colonize in his writings Nigeria's political culture. Okediran's problem is the problem of all Nigerian's writers, distinguished and un-distinguished.
Sure, one can't speak of a national Nigerian culture in the same way one can speak of a national Russian one -- but do you really have/want to ?
And I certainly disagree that Wale Okediran (et al.) can't write in Yoruba and still 'pass as a Nigerian writer'.
I realize there are difficulties in writing (and trying to publish ...) in languages other than English in Nigeria -- and many other countries --, but I think the market and possibilities are growing; I wish/hope more give it a try .....
The Franz Kafka Prize, which got a lot of attention a few years back when the winner went on to win the Nobel in the same year in two successive years, has announced that the Ceny Franze Kafky 2012 goes to Daniela Hodrová; see also the report at literalab, as well as the Daniela Hodrová pages at the useful Czech Literature Portal.
Hodrová had a couple of works translated into a variety of European languages about twenty years ago, but for the past decade she seems to pretty much only be getting translated into Bulgarian (really).
Jantar Publishing did recently bring out her Prague, I see a city... (described as: "Originally commissioned for a French series of alternative guidebooks", and only clocking in at 106 pages) -- get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk -- but she's clearly not nearly as well-known as the previous winners of this prize (who include Philip Roth, Murakami Haruki, Peter Handke, and, last year, John Banville).
They've announced that the Rossica Translation Prize 2012 goes to John Elsworth, for his translation of Petersburg by Andrei Bely.
Pushkin Press brought this out -- see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
There have been several translations of this work; I've only read the Robert A. Maguire and John E. Malmstad one from Indiana University Press (see their publicity page), but Penguin Classics also has one, by David McDuff (see their publicity page).
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kojo Laing's Search Sweet Country.
The new version of the 'Heinemann African Writers Series' brought this out in a new edition recently (interestingly, the books wasn't published in the original AWS, but rather landed with more commercial publishers); McSweeney's is now bringing out the US edition.
The 300 million-won ($257,000) project consists of translating excerpts from the selected writer's works of fiction and sending them to literary agencies in foreign countries, especially the U.S.
The institute is to announce the selected writers by the end of this year.
The six-member committee that will select the writers "consists of literary critics, scholars and publishers"; it'll be interesting to see who they come up with.
Also of interest:
The institute also announced that they'll support translation of Koreaís genre function, including crime, SF and mystery.
Kim said American publisher AmazonCrossing is particularly interested in Korea's genre fiction.
Good for AmazonCrossing -- way too little genre fiction is available in translation, especially from Korea, and I'd love to see some of this stuff.
Another specialist publisher I'm glad to hear about: Istros Books -- who focus: "on quality literature in translation from South-East Europe".
At The Economist's Eastern approaches weblog they introduce several of their writers, in A literary awakening in Montenegro -- I'm not entirely sure about Andrej Nikolaidis' The Coming, described as a: "detective novel meets Dan Brown mixed with the tale of Sabbatai Zevi", but I am kind of curious; see also their publicity page, or get your copy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
The other title that's mentioned is Hansen's Children by Ognjen Spahić; see also the publicity page, or get your copy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
In The Hindu Sohini Chakravorty reports on Revisiting Indian classics, as Indian readers are apparently turning to many Indian classics -- in English translation:
Author and blogger Arnab Ray explains the trend and says, "Our generation spends a lot of time on the Net reading almost exclusively English.
This has made many of us increasingly more confident and comfortable reading in English as opposed to in our mother tongues.
I think it is more a matter of familiarity with the English script that pushes us to translations of works written in Indian languages.
Because of the number of Indian languages we have, the regional market is fragmented and translation to English consolidates that."
It would be great if the original versions were circulating more widely, too, but I certainly can't complain about more becoming available in English.
In Israel the widely-perceived threat to the health of the publishing industry is not an online-behemoth such as Amazon.com, but rather two market-dominating book chains, and as Maya Sela reports in Haaretz, 'Oz, Grossman, 270 others sign letter urging Culture Minister Limor Livnat to press passage of 'Book Bill'', in Authors demand protection from royalty-cutting book chains, as:
The writers said the intense competition between the two largest bookstore chains, Tzomet Books and Steimatzky, is endangering the viability of many publishers and severely reducing author royalties.
Ah, yes, book pricing apparently remains difficult to get right anywhere in the world .....
At hlo Lajos Jánossy reviews Krasznahorkai László's just-out-in-Hungarian Nem kérdez, nem válaszol ('Doesn't Ask, Doesn't Answer'; see also the Magvető publicity page).
The writerís voice is the same that we are familiar with from his other books: the voice of the narrator of his prose, a passionate, insistent and resonant voice; a single, long monologue, so to say, an incessant linguistic action, or in other words, as the writer himself describes his art: a holy mass.
Ah, well, for now you'll just have to make due with Satantango.
Abdessatar Zaafrani, a Tunisian lawyer, says that Tunisia never had a specific censorship law.
"The most common way of forcing censorship is hiding behind excuses that the book could disturb public order, or that it is against our culture and faith," he explained, elaborating that, "the judiciary system plays a crucial role when it comes to literary censorship.
Say what you will about American literary prizes, but at least they manage to maintain their identities and keep their names straight -- Pulitzers, National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards: there's no sponsorship-messing with those brands (presumably, of course, because they're such small beer that they hardly seem worth sponsoring to anybody, and presumably also since the idea that literature could be a marketing-angle probably seems laughable to any American corporate entity).
(Okay, the National Book Awards did go through that ill-advised 'The American Book Awards'-phase (28 prizes in 16 separate categories !) during the 1980s -- but who remembers the eighties ... ?)
Compare that to the UK, where the Booker became the Man Booker, the Whitbred Awards became the Costa Whitbread Book Awards -- and now we're going to have to call it the no-longer-Orange Prize since they've announced:
we can now confirm that 2012 will be the final year of Orange's association
Of course, they could always keep the name (does anyone really associate it with this Orange company anyway ?) -- but presumably they're eager to sell out to the highest bidder and will accept whatever new name is foisted on them.
I've paid little attention to the 'Fifty Shades'-phenomenon -- E.L.James' soft-porn success story that has gotten enough attention everywhere else -- but its success now makes even me stop and wonder (and howl in baffled disappointment at what this world has come to) as in Publishers Weekly they report Fifty Shades Trilogy Tops 10 Million Sold, as:
Anthony Chrico, president of Knopf Doubleday, said the division has been reprinting the books "on a weekly basis since publication" with, he added, certain daily reprints of over 950,000 copies.
BookScan data indicates that the trilogy has captured twenty-five percent of the adult fiction market in recent weeks.
These are jaw-dropping, mind-numbing statistics.
I suppose it's good to see a book generate this unheard level of interest and find so many readers; if a book can take off like this in 2012, well, publishing surely ain't entirely dead .....
And yet, and yet .....
They've announced that Brazilian author Dalton Trevisan has won this year's Prémio Camões, the leading Portuguese-language author prize (and worth €100,000); see, for example, the report at the Portuguese-American Journal.
Knopf actually brought out his The Vampire Of Curitiba a while back (1972 ...) -- and it was reviewed in, among other places, The New York Times Book Review (as well as, for example, Kirkus Reviews); you can try to get a copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
That appears to be it, however, as far as translations into English go -- I wonder whether the Camões nod, forty years on, will get him a second look .....
They've announced the regional winners for the Commonwealth Book Prize (which is now (only) a first book prize) and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize; the only title under review at the complete review is Shehan Karunatilaka's Chinaman, now out in the US as The Legend of Pradeep Mathew.
They report that, impressively, there was: "a pool of 2200 entries" for the story prizes.
They've announced that Burton Pike has won this year's Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize -- a US$10,000 award for the best translation of a German literary work into English --, for his translation of Gerhard Meier's Isle of the Dead.
Admirably, and essentially (I'm looking at you, Man Booker folk ...), the names of all the submitted titles are available online; there appear to be 29 titles that were in the running (almost a quarter of them -- seven -- from Seagull Books, a publisher based in India ...).
The Heinrich Maria Ledig-Rowohlt-Preis -- a €15,000 German translation prize -- has been awarded to Frank Heibert, translator of Don DeLillo's Underworld, as well as books by Mark Twain, Tobias Wolff, and Richard Ford; see, for example, the report in the Berliner Morgenpost (yes, sigh, nothing at the official site yet, last I checked ...).
The problem is that most of the popular physics that the public enjoys constitutes perhaps 10% of the research that physicists worldwide are engaged in.
Again, count the number of physics books in your local bookstore, and you will notice that about 90% of them cover quantum mechanics, cosmology, particle physics and "theories of everything".
You would be hard-pressed to find volumes on condensed matter physics, biophysics, the physics of "soft" matter like liquids and non-linear dynamics.
And yes, these are bonafide fields of physics that have engaged physics's best minds for decades and which are as exciting as any other field of science.