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

21 - 30 June 2017

21 June: Georg-Büchner-Preis | HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis | The Dying Detective review
22 June: International DUBLIN Literary Award | Mizumura Minae Q & A
23 June: (In)direct translation | Losing is What Matters review
24 June: Académie française palmarès | Translation in ... Iran | Daniel Hahn Q & A
25 June: Barry Ronge Fiction Prize | Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Q & A
26 June: Translation from ... classical (Indian) languages | Reviewing translations
27 June: (American) National Translation Award longlists | The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. review
28 June: Prix America | Blumenberg review
29 June: Knausgård/Jerusalem Prize | IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist | Michael Bond (1926-2017)
30 June: Jan Michalski Prize longlist | Regulating (online) fiction in China | ME review

go to weblog

return to main archive

30 June 2017 - Friday

Jan Michalski Prize longlist
Regulating (online) fiction in China | ME review

       Jan Michalski Prize longlist

       The Jan Michalski Prize is a remunerative -- CHF50,000 -- international literary prize, "awarded for works of fiction or non fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written" (though being translated into French, English, or German sure seems to help the chances of a book's success ...), and they have a solid track record; last year the prize went to Georgi Gospodinov's The Physics of Sorrow.
       As quietly as possible, they've now announced the 'first selection' of the jury for this year's prize. In previous years there's been a second selection, and then a shortlist of three finalists, but with only nine titles in this year's selection maybe they'll cut a round ?
       Several fiction titles -- including a Liao Yiwu novel (see, for example, Exiled Chinese Writer's New Novel Penned in Secret While in Prison) -- are among the select nine, but the ... stand-out has got to be Thierry Wolton's three-volume Une histoire mondiale du communisme, which weighs in at well over three thousand pages (yeah, the other jurors are going to love that ...) and whose third volume hasn't even officially been published yet (it's due out in September); see, for example, the Grasset publicity page for the first volume.

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

       Regulating (online) fiction in China

       This sounds promising: the Global Times reports that:
The Chinese authorities plan to evaluate online literary websites, requiring that the online novels they host must reflect core socialist values and abide by "moral norms."
       One has to admire that they came up with a points-system:
The regulation requires that the literary works possess a "correct understanding" of the Party and military history. "Distortion" or "desecration" of related history will cost the websites up to 5 points per work.
Those with scores below 60 will be publicly criticized and be banned from applying for any literary awards for a year. The executives of such websites will also be invited for a talk with regulators.
       "Invited" .....
       As I've often noted, online writing/publishing is big in China, so this is pretty significant. As to how sensible (and realistic) it is .....

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

       ME review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Hoshino Tomoyuki's ME, just out in English from Akashic. (It was also made into a movie, It's Me, It's Me, directed by Miki Satoshi.)

       The publicity claim for this -- "This novel centers on the "It's me" telephone scam -- often targeting the elderly -- that has escalated in Japan in recent years" -- strikes me as quite misleading: while this (sort of) sets the story in motion, it's really about, and plays out as, something very, very different.

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

29 June 2017 - Thursday

Knausgård/Jerusalem Prize | IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist
Michael Bond (1926-2017)

       Knausgård/Jerusalem Prize

       The Jerusalem Book Fair was held a couple of weeks ago, at which time they also awarded My Struggle-author Karl Ove Knausgård the Jerusalem Prize -- and they also published his acceptance speech (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) on the site.

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

       IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist

       The International Publishers Association has announced their shortlist for the 2017 IPA Prix Voltaire, awarded for: "exemplary courage in upholding the freedom to publish and in enabling others to exercise their right to freedom of expression"

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

       Michael Bond (1926-2017)

       Michael Bond, author of the Paddington Bear-series, has passed away, see, for example, The Guardian's report.

       While none of the Paddington titles are under review at the complete review they were certainly childhood favorites; get your copy of the Paddington Classic Adventures Box Set at, or A Bear Called Paddington at

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

28 June 2017 - Wednesday

Prix America | Blumenberg review

       Prix America

       Two years ago they awarded the Grand prix de littérature américaine for the first time, but the French apparently still don't think that's enough, so this year there's yet another American-book-prize -- the 'Prix America', awarded by the fairly new America-magazine, with the first winner now selected from ten titles chosen by the publishers that are considered to provide insight into the United States.
       The winning title is William Finnegan's Pulitzer Prize-winning Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (well, the French translation, Jours barbares: une vie de surf); see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Not a title I'm likely to get to, but see the Penguin Books publicity page, or get your copy at or

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

       Blumenberg review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sibylle Lewitscharoff's Blumenberg, just out in English from Seagull Books.
       Yes, the Blumenberg of the title is German philosopher Hans Blumenberg -- and, yes, Seagull, is cleverly following German publisher Suhrkamp's lead and publishing a translation of his smaller pieces as Lions shortly; see their publicity page, the Suhrkamp foreign rights page, or pre-order your copy at or

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

27 June 2017 - Tuesday

(American) National Translation Award longlists
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. review

       (American) National Translation Award longlists

       The (American) National Translation Awards, administered by the American Literary Translators Association, are: "the only national award for translated fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction that includes a rigorous examination of both the source text and its relation to the finished English work" (which is very cool !), and they've announced this year's poetry and prose longlists.
       None of the poetry titles are under review at the complete review, but two of the prose titles are: The Explosion Chronicles by Yan Lianke, translated by Carlos Rojas, and Zama by Antonio de Benedetto, translated by Esther Allen.
       The strong prose longlist also includes this year's Best Translated Book Award winner, Chronicle of the Murdered House by Lúcio Cardoso, and the recent Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize-winning A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler; non-fiction titles also made the longlist.
       Of course, one title -- yet again -- is very obviously missing: John E. Woods' translation of Arno Schmidt's Bottom's Dream. Sigh.

       The shortlists will be announced in August, and the winners in October.

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

       The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., co-authored by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland.
       It's a fine, big, lazy summer read, if you're looking for that (I don't get to too many books that would qualify as such, I'm afraid).

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

26 June 2017 - Monday

Translation from ... classical (Indian) languages | Reviewing translations

       Translation from ... classical (Indian) languages

       At Parvathy Raveendran considers How do you translate classic literature for contemporary readers ?
       Among the translations discussed is Vanamala Viswanatha's of The Life of Harishchandra, a volume in the Murty Classical Library of India -- several of which are under review at the complete review.

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

       Reviewing translations

       'Can no reviewer spare more than a minute for the year that a translator spends ?' Mini Krishnan wonders, in Of rupees and annas in The Hindu, arguing that the (un?)usual: "30-word pat for the translator" doesn't really cut it.

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

25 June 2017 - Sunday

Barry Ronge Fiction Prize | Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Q & A

       Barry Ronge Fiction Prize

       They've announced the winners of the (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards, with the Barry Ronge Fiction Prize going to Little Suns, by Zakes Mda. No newspaper or online reports as I write this, but see for example the tweet.
       Little Suns has not been published in the US or UK yet, but see, for example, the Umuzi publicity page.

       Quite a few Mda titles are US/UK-available, with Seagull Books having published several; three Mda titles are under review at the complete review, including The Sculptors of Mapungubwe.

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

       Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o Q & A

       At the Los Angeles Review of Books Rosemary McClure has a short Q & A with Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o: The Language Warrior -- mainly about his multiply translated story, 'The Upright Revolution', which was featured in Jalada Translation Issue 01; you can read many of the translations (including the one into English) here.

       Several of Ngũgĩ's works are under review at the complete review.

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

24 June 2017 - Saturday

Académie française palmarès | Translation in ... Iran
Daniel Hahn Q & A

       Académie française palmarès

       The Académie française saves up announcement of their Grand prix du roman for the fall book-prize-season, but they announce most of the rest of their awards in one big go: yes, 63 prizes and honors (warning ! dreaded pdf format !), in all sorts of categories. (Livres Hebdo covers the major ones, too.)
       The Grand prix de la Francophonie, the most prestigious of these, went to Tierno Monénembo -- two of whose novels are under review at the complete review: The King of Kahel and The Oldest Orphan.

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

       Translation in ... Iran

       I've frequently mentioned the unusual situation in Iran, that foreign titles often appear in numerous translations (hey, look at that, most recently here ...), and in The Guardian Saeed Kamali Dehghan now tries to explain Why Iran has 16 different translations of one Khaled Hosseini novel.

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

       Daniel Hahn Q & A

       At his Conversational Reading weblog Scott Esposito has a Q & A with Translator Daniel Hahn on Winning the International Dublin Literary Award and Endowing a New Translation Award.
       (Hahn translated José Eduardo Agualusa's International DUBLIN Literary Award-winning novel, A General Theory of Oblivion.)

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

23 June 2017 - Friday

(In)direct translation | Losing is What Matters review

       (In)direct translation

       Translation via a third language -- those Hungarian novels translated into English via the German translation, say (e.g. Embers) are less common -- in(to) English -- than they used to be (though surprisingly still not entirely rare exceptions), but especially with books from smaller languages it remains fairly common to find these translated into other languages via the dominant translation languages (English, French, and German). So it's nice to see more direct activity -- as now, as Maydaa Abo El Nadar reports at Egyptian Streets, In a Historic First, Zorba the Greek is Translated from Greek to Arabic.
       It's not that there hadn't been translation of Kazantzakis' classic in Arabic previously -- but:
Zorba the Greek was translated from Greek to Arabic through other languages. Thanks to Khaled Raouf this treasure book was directly translated from Greek to Arabic.

"I read several Arabic translation for Zorba, where translations happened from a third bridge language. Unfortunately in these Arabic translations many things were lost," said Raouf. "Translation is transmitting a culture to another one, without a third one being involved. This is why I am very happy to offer a direct translation of Zorba to the Arabic reader," added Raouf.
       The (old) translations -- in a number of languages -- of Zorba the Greek are notorious for having been mishandled/edited/censored, and so a new, direct translation is especially welcome; the relatively new (2014) English re-translation -- the one under review here -- by Peter Bien regrettably didn't get the attention it should have.

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

       Losing is What Matters review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Manuel Pérez Subirana's Losing is What Matters, a 2003 novel that came out in English translation from Dalkey Archive Press last fall.

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

22 June 2017 - Thursday

International DUBLIN Literary Award | Mizumura Minae Q & A

       International DUBLIN Literary Award

       They've announced that this year's International DUBLIN Literary Award -- for which both books originally written in English, as well as those translated into English are eligible -- goes to A General Theory of Oblivion -- with author José Eduardo Agualusa getting €75,000 and translator Daniel Hahn getting €25,000
       The International DUBLIN Literary Award is unusual for a literary award in that the books considered for the prize -- 147 this year -- are nominated by libraries across (some of) the world. Unfortunately, the nominating libraries are geographically and linguistically not nearly as diverse as one would wish -- and there's (way) too much hometown-favoritism in the nominating process. So also, while the winning title is from Africa, not a single African library was involved in the nominating process -- while three of the four libraries that did nominate the winning title were in Portuguese-speaking countries. Meanwhile, not a single title originally written in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese was nominated -- not entirely surprising when only a single library from the entire region was involved (the Osaka Municipal Library -- which picked a title by ... Kazuo Ishiguro).
       While there is always quite a mixed bag as far as the nominated titles goes, there's enough quality for the shortlist -- and generally the winning title -- to be quite solid; so also this year.

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

       Mizumura Minae Q & A

       At the Literary Hub Benjamin Moser has a Q & A with Minae Mizumura on Serializing Novels, Aging, and the Eternal Internet, with lots of interesting background information.
       Her Inheritance from Mother is just out in English, while The Fall of Language in the Age of English came out last year -- and don't forget the also worthwhile A True Novel.
       And how great to hear that An I-Novel From Left to Right is: "due out in English in a couple of years"

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

21 June 2017 - Wednesday

Georg-Büchner-Preis | HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis
The Dying Detective review


       The Georg-Büchner-Preis is the leading German author-prize, and they've announced that this year's prize will go (on 28 October) to poet Jan Wagner (not to be confused with mystery-writer Jan Costin Wagner ...); see also the Deutsche Welle report, Top German literature prize goes to poet Jan Wagner.
       His Self-Portrait with a Swarm of Bees recently came out from Arc; see their publicity page, or get your copy at or

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

       HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis

       They've announced that the German translation of Tram 83, by Fiston Mwanza Mujila, has won this year's HKW Internationaler Literaturpreis -- pretty much the German Man Booker International Prize, for the best translation into German; see also Sabine Peschel's Deutsche Welle report, International Literature Award goes to Fiston Mwanza Mujila's 'Tram 83'.
       The author will get €20,000; translators Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller will share €15,000.

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

       The Dying Detective review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Leif GW Persson's The Dying Detective, now also out in the US.

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

previous entries (11 - 20 June 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