Literary Saloon

the literary
weblog at the
complete review

the weblog

about the saloon

support the site





the Literary Saloon on Kindle

to e-mail us:

literary weblogs:

  Books, Inq.
  Critical Mass
  Guardian Books
  Jacket Copy
  The Millions
  NewPages Weblog
  Three Percent
  Typographical Era

  Papeles perdidos
  Rép. des livres

  Arts & Letters Daily
  Arts Beat/Books
  Brandywine Books
  Collected Miscell.
  Light Reading
  The Millions
  The Page
  ReadySteady Blog
  The Rumpus
  Two Words
  wood s lot

  See also: links page

saloon statistics

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

The Literary Saloon Archive

11 - 20 May 2017

11 May: Victor Martinovich Q & A | New issue of World Literature Today
12 May: Georges Perec in La Pléiade | Literature in translation in ... the UK | Albertine Prize | Dorthe Nors Q & A | The King of Fools review
13 May: Cassava Republic Press profile | Alberto Manguel, head librarian | Syjuco on art and literature
14 May: Science fiction in ... China | The Woman Priest review
15 May: PalFest | Sunday Times Literary Award shortlists | Literature in ... Telugu
16 May: Libris Literatuur Prijs | Red Roofs & Other Stories review
17 May: Caine Prize shortlist | New Zealand Book Awards | Sonallah Ibrahim Q & A
18 May: Houellebecq coming to NY | Inventing Love review
19 May: Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize | Ian Buruma new editor of NYRB | Sadeian recommendations
20 May: Erich-Maria-Remarque-Friedenspreis | Sophie Kerr Prize

go to weblog

return to main archive

20 May 2017 - Saturday

Erich-Maria-Remarque-Friedenspreis | Sophie Kerr Prize


       They've announced that The City in Crimson Cloak-author Aslı Erdoğan will receive this year's €25,000 Erich-Maria-Remarque Peace Prize; previous winners include Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich (2001) and Adonis (last year)

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

       Sophie Kerr Prize

       They've announced that Catalina Righter has won this year's Sophie Kerr Prize, an undergraduate writing award given to a senior at Washington College that pays out more than the Pulitzer, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award combined -- this year US$65,768.
       See also the article about the five finalists for the award.

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

19 May 2017 - Friday

Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize | Ian Buruma new editor of NYRB
Sadeian recommendations

       Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, a UK award for comic fiction; this appears to be the closest thing to an official site, but they don't have this year's information yet, as I write this .... -- but see, for example, Katherine Cowdrey's report at The Bookseller, Helen Fielding wins Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, as Fielding's Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries took the prize.
       Don't look for a review of that at the complete review anytime soon -- though I am astonished at how many of the previous winners are under review at the site, including three of the last ten winners: The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray (last year), Solar by Ian McEwan (2010), and Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer (2009).

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

       Ian Buruma new editor of NYRB

       Robert B. Silvers' fifty-year reign as co/editor of The New York Review of Book will be hard to top, but they've now announced who will be running the show next -- and it's longtime contributor Ian Buruma.

       Two of Buruma's books are under review at the complete review: Murder in Amsterdam and Taming the Gods.

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

       Sadeian recommendations

       At Five Books Charles Styles has a Q & A with the translator of a new Penguin Classics edition of the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom (which, alas, I haven't seen yet; get your copy at or, where Will McMorran recommends the best books on the Marquis de Sade.
       Not quite sure about all the choices -- which actually include two by de Sade -- but I've actually read the first four, and saw the fifth on DVD (this last being -- by far -- the one I was least impressed by, though that might also be influenced by the medium; maybe I should check out the playscript). All fascinating reading, however.

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

18 May 2017 - Thursday

Houellebecq coming to NY | Inventing Love review

       Houellebecq coming to NY

       Submission (etc.)-author Michel Houellebecq will be in conversation at Albertine Books in NY on 2 June at high noon -- and he has a show, too: Michel Houellebecq: French Bashing at the Venus Gallery. (I have no idea what the exhibit will be like/about, but I am very curious.)

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

       Inventing Love review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of José Ovejero's Premio Alfaguara-winning novel, Inventing Love, just out (in the UK) in Peter Owen's 'World Series'-series (and due out in the US in September).

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

17 May 2017 - Wednesday

Caine Prize shortlist | New Zealand Book Awards
Sonallah Ibrahim Q & A

       Caine Prize shortlist

       The Caine Prize for African Writing -- alas, just a short-story prize -- has announced it's five-story shortlist -- and it's great to see that this year not all of the finalists (selected from 148 entries from 22 African countries) were originally written in English (as has been the case far too often), as it: "features a story translated form Arabic for the second time in the 18 year history of the Prize"
       You can read all the shortlisted stories via the links on that announcement page -- albeit only in the dreaded pdf format (because ?).

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

       New Zealand Book Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's New Zealand Book Awards, with The Wish Child, by Catherine Chidgey, taking the fiction prize; see the Victoria University Press publicity page.
       Before you get too dismissive, recall that The Luminaries (yes, that Man Booker winner) took the 2014 prize, and Mister Pip took the 2007 prize, and C.K.Stead and Patricia Grace have each won five of these .....

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

       Sonallah Ibrahim Q & A

       Via I'm pointed to a Q & A by Jonathan Guyer with Zaat-author Sonallah Ibrahim in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Plight of an Arab Intellectual.
       All over the place, but certainly of interest.

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

16 May 2017 - Tuesday

Libris Literatuur Prijs | Red Roofs & Other Stories review

       Libris Literatuur Prijs

       I'm a bit late with this, as they announced last week that De tolk van Java, by Alfred Birney, has won this year's Libris Literatuur Prijs, one of the leading Dutch novel prizes (with a payout of €50,000).
       See also the Dutch Foundation for Literature report.
       (They also list the other finalists there -- and note that two of the other five have been picked up for English translation; interestingly, Arnon Grunberg's Moedervlekken is not one of those -- despite Grunberg being by far the most recognizable name (and most widely-translated) of the lot. Recall that Open Letter published his Tirza -- and was looking forward to publishing more of his work, but his representatives ... politely declined; Chad Post has an account of how that went (down). Meanwhile, no new (or old) Grunbergs have been published in the US since ..... Hey, it's only been four years, and there's been a similar wait between previous translations (though that backlist is growing ...), but, yeah, I don't know if career-move-wise this has really worked out. Meanwhile, US/UK audiences still don't get to enjoy Onze oom, De asielzoeker, etc. etc.)

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

       Red Roofs & Other Stories review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanizaki Jun'ichirō's Red Roofs & Other Stories.

       It's great to see a small surge of new Tanizaki translations -- though still only covering part of his very extensive output. New Directions just have two novels out, Devils in Daylight and The Maids (which I should be getting to soon, too), while this volume of stories came out from the University of Michigan Press last year -- and they have another collection, The Gourmet Club, just out (see their publicity page).

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

15 May 2017 - Monday

PalFest | Sunday Times Literary Award shortlists | Literature in ... Telugu


       The Palestine Festival of Literature runs through the 18th -- the tenth time they've held it since its 2008 founding.

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

       Sunday Times Literary Award shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for the (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards -- for the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize and the Alan Paton Award for non-fiction.
       None of the fiction titles appear to be US-available in print at this time -- not even the Zakes Mda, though at least there will apparently be a UK edition from Jacaranda Books (in 2018 ...).
       The winners -- to be announced 24 June -- will each receive RS 100,000.

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

       Literature in ... Telugu

       At The Wire Mukesh Manjunath wonders Where Have All the Telugu Readers Gone ?

       There are actually four translated-from-the-Telugu titles under review at the complete review -- but they are all 'classical':
(Posted by: M.A.Orthofer)    - permanent link -

14 May 2017 - Sunday

Science fiction in ... China | The Woman Priest review

       Science fiction in ... China

       Yet another article about the wave(let) of Chinese science fiction, as Rachel Cheung reports on Science fiction's new golden age in China, what it says about social evolution and the future, and the stories writers want world to see in the South China Morning Post.
       While there certainly seems a lot more activity in recent years -- well:
Although investors are eyeing sci-fi's entertainment industry potential, the literature itself is not so highly valued. "The payment writers receive for fiction writing is very small. I also write for fashion magazines, which pay a lot more," says Regina Wang. Since it is impossible to make ends meet writing sci-fi, most authors do it simply as a hobby.

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

       The Woman Priest review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sylvain Maréchal's slim 1801 novella, The Woman Priest, out last year from the University of Alberta Press.

       Maréchal is a pretty interesting secondary literary figure from French Revolution times -- and some of his other work definitely sounds/looks intriguing: see the French editions of Dictionnaire des athées anciens et modernes (small translation sampler at the Marxists Internet Archive) or Voyages de Pythagore, for example

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

13 May 2017 - Saturday

Cassava Republic Press profile | Alberto Manguel, head librarian
Syjuco on art and literature

       Cassava Republic Press profile

       Cassava Republic Press continues to be one of the big recent African publishing success stories, and at Quartz Africa Frankie Edozien writes about How a boutique Nigerian book publisher is breaking into the US market.

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

       Alberto Manguel, head librarian

       The Library at Night-author Alberto Manguel has followed in the footsteps of Jorge Luis Borges, taking up -- not uncontroversially -- the position of director of the National Library of Argentina -- and in The Globe and Mail Stephanie Nolen now has an in-depth article on: Argentina's page turner: How a Canadian author became the leader of a library revolution.
       See also Manguel's Literary Review piece on The Library in Daylight.

       (And speaking of Argentina: Publishers Weekly just reported that, rather shockingly, Argentina's Book Market Fell 40% in 2016.)

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

       Syjuco on art and literature

       Ilustrado-author Miguel Syjuco -- currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Practice, Literature, and Creative Writing at ... NYU Abu Dhabi -- contributed a piece explaining that Art and literature are vital to democracy -- here's why to the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2017 -- and it's good to see that being part of the discussion.

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

12 May 2017 - Friday

Georges Perec in La Pléiade | Literature in translation in ... the UK
Albertine Prize | Dorthe Nors Q & A
The King of Fools review

       Georges Perec in La Pléiade

       There are a dozen Georges Perec-titles under review at the complete review -- and some Perec-related one's as well (including David Bellos' invaluable, wonderful biography) and, yes, he is much admired hereabouts -- so it's great to see his work finally available, in two volumes, in the great French La Pléiade series, pretty much the final stamp of approval of 'classical' status.
       Great to see, too, that the French hail this enshrinement appropriately: despite all the political ... excitement of recent days (weeks, months, etc.), in France and abroad, this news is big enough for Le Monde to run with it, very much front and center, on the front page of yesterday's edition:

Perec a la Mo(n)de

       Good to see literature -- and the greats -- getting their due !

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

       Literature in translation in ... the UK

       In The Bookseller Katherine Cowdrey reports that A L Kennedy blasts publishers for attitude towards translated literature, reporting on a European Literature Night event on Wednesday.

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

       Albertine Prize

       They've announced the winner of the inaugural Albertine Prize -- a: "reader's choice award" that: "recognizes American readers favorite work of contemporary French fiction" -- and it is Bardo or Not Bardo, by Antoine Volodine; see also the Open Letter publicity page, or get your copy at or

       I didn't really take to it (and haven't posted a review), but several other Volodine titles are under review at the complete review -- and I loved Radiant Terminus (which should be in the running for next year's Albertine Prize).

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

       Dorthe Nors Q & A

       At PEN Atlas Theodora Danek has a Q & A with Dorthe Nors -- mainly about her Man Booker International Prize-shortlisted Mirror, Shoulder, Signal; see the Pushkin Press publicity page, or get your copy at or
       I haven't seen that one yet -- it's not officially out in the US yet -- but two other Nors titles are under review at the complete review: Karate Chop and So Much for That Winter,

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

       The King of Fools review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Frédéric Dard's The King of Fools -- just out in the UK, and coming to the US in September.
       Great to see Pushkin Press brining these Dards out at a steady clip.

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

11 May 2017 - Thursday

Victor Martinovich Q & A | New issue of World Literature Today

       Victor Martinovich Q & A

       At Deutsche Welle Tatsiana Weinmann has a Q & A with Paranoia-author Victor Martinovich, 'More arbitrary arrests than ever before': Why there's no reason for optimism in Belarus.
       Interestingly, he says:
What turns writers into enemies in Russia and Belarus is their interviews -- not their books. What I say in the public is what counts for the authorities.
       And he explains why, other than Paranoia, his books have not been banned:
One month after Paranoia had been banned, a review [$] was published in the New York Review of Books. That convinced the leaders in Belarus that in the 21st century, it is not possible to prevent the spreading of a text by outlawing it. The more emphatically something is forbidden, the more popular and influential it becomes.
       Martinovich is currently writer in residence at the Literaturhaus Zürich.

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

       New issue of World Literature Today

       The May-August double issue of World Literature Today is now available, with some content freely accessible online. The focus is: 'New Native Writing'.
       And, of course, as with every issue: particularly recommended are the book reviews.

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

previous entries (1 - 10 May 2017)

archive index

- return to top of the page -

© 2017 the complete review

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