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

The Literary Saloon Archive

1 - 10 April 2023

1 April: Syl Cheney-Coker Q & A | Die Krise der Narration review
2 April: New Kawakami Mieko novel
3 April: OCM Bocas Prize category winners | Look at the Lights, My Love review
4 April: Dubravka Ugrešić | Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards | Trinity, Trinity, Trinity review
5 April: Borges literary estate in limbo | Windham-Campbell Prizes | Deborah Levy profile | The Complete Review at ... 24
6 April: Walter Scott Prize shortlist | VCU Cabell Award longlist | Ōsawa Arimasa profile
7 April: Guggenheim Fellows | Ernaux and Tsushima in conversation | Carol Shields Prize shortlist
8 April: Spring Goncourt prize shortlists
9 April: Perumal Murugan profile
10 April: Higashino Keigo sales success | The Garden of Seven Twilights review

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10 April 2023 - Monday

Higashino Keigo sales success | The Garden of Seven Twilights review

       Higashino Keigo sales success

       As the Yomiuri Shimbun reports, Best-Selling Japanese Author Keigo Higashino Tops 100 Mil. Mark, as the Naoko-author has now sold more than 100 million copies of his books in Japan alone.
       As the Kodansha press release (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) notes, he has sold another 68 million in translation -- many more in Chinese and Korean than in English, I suspect (though quite a few of his titles have been translated into English).

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

       The Garden of Seven Twilights review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Miquel de Palol's 1989 novel, The Garden of Seven Twilights, now out in English, from Dalkey Archive Press.

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

9 April 2023 - Sunday

Perumal Murugan profile

       Perumal Murugan profile

       At Nandini Krishnan profiles the One Part Woman-author, in Longlisted for the International Booker Prize, Perumal Murugan is best read for craft, not themes.
       The longlisted title is Pyre -- I should be getting to it soon -- "perhaps his most issue-driven one, where the characters are the means to his making a statement on society".

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

8 April 2023 - Saturday

Spring Goncourt prize shortlists

       Spring Goncourt prize shortlists

       The Academie Goncourt presents several prizes each spring -- before the big book of the year prix Goncourt that is announced in the fall.
       They've now announced (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) the shortlists for the big three spring prizes: those for a first novel, short fiction (nouvelles), and biography.
       Among the biography finalists: Claude Burgelin on Georges Perec; see also the Gallimard publicity page.
       The winner will be announced on 11 May.

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

7 April 2023 - Friday

Guggenheim Fellows | Ernaux and Tsushima in conversation
Carol Shields Prize shortlist

       Guggenheim Fellows

       They've announced the recipients of this year's Guggenheim Fellowships -- 171 individuals, chosen from "almost 2,500 applicants", in 48 fields.
       Only one translation-fellow -- Michael Berry --, but eight fiction fellows.
       Regrettably, the official site (and the links) don't reveal what projects the fellows received their fellowships for .....

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

       Ernaux and Tsushima in conversation

       At the Literary Hub they have the first English translation of a 2004 exchange, A Passion for Living in the Present: A Conversation with Yuko Tsushima and Annie Ernaux.

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

       Carol Shields Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, awarded: "to celebrate creativity and excellence in fiction by women and non-binary writers in the United States and Canada".
       The winner will be announced 4 May.

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

6 April 2023 - Thursday

Walter Scott Prize shortlist | VCU Cabell Award longlist | Ōsawa Arimasa profile

       Walter Scott Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction -- seven titles.
       The winner will be announced in mid-June.

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

       VCU Cabell Award longlist

       They've announced the twenty title/author strong longlist for this year's VCU Cabell First Novelist Award -- named for James Branch Cabell.
       This prize has been awarded since 2002 -- and recent winners include Hernán Díaz (2018) and Ling Ma (2019).
       This year's winner will be announced 1 July.

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

       Ōsawa Arimasa profile

       At Takino Yūsaku profiles “Shinjuku Shark”: Japanese Mystery Writer Ōsawa Arimasa and the Enduring Appeal of His Hardboiled Series.
       Only the first two in his Samejima series have been translated into English -- Shinjuku Shark and The Poison Ape -- but apparently he's up to a dozen in Japanese.

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

5 April 2023 - Wednesday

Borges literary estate in limbo
Windham-Campbell Prizes | Deborah Levy profile
The Complete Review at ... 24

       Borges literary estate in limbo

       As I mentioned last week, Jorge Luis Borges' widow, María Kodama, has passed away.
       Kodama controlled -- notoriously tightly -- Borges' literary estate, and was president of the Fundación Internacional Jorge Luis Borges.
       The question, with her death, of course is, as the Buenos Aires Herald wondered just last week: Death of Borges' widow Kodama: what will happen with his work.
       In that article they quote her lawyer:
Kodama’s attorney Fernando Soto told Télam that his legal team would now “take over the continuity” of Borges’ intellectual property. “María was very discreet and we will maintain that discretion to announce how we will continue to work with Borges legacy, not just his books, but also the library and the foundation, all things related to his huge patrimonial and cultural legacy,” he explained.
       Looks like he was promising too much too soon. After hunting around for a while he apparently realized, as now widely reported in the Spanish-language press: María Kodama murió sin dejar clara la herencia de Jorge Luis Borges, as José Pablo Criales' report has it in El País. Yes, Kodama committed the ultimate act of irresponsible negligence for someone entrusted with handling a literary estate: she didn't leave a will.
       As heir to Borges' literary estate she had every right to act as she did while she lived, much as those acts (and, especially, those prohibitions and restrictions) could be considered by many as a grave disservice to Borges' work. But not seeing to it that there would be some continuity of the handling -- or, indeed, the possibility of any handling -- of the estate with her death is beyond any pale.
       It's unclear what will happen now. Five nephews have conveniently popped up to make their claims, and lawyer Soto qualified his original statement that there was no will by saying that that no will was deposited with Kodama's notary public and that no one in her circle knows of the existence of one -- so one still might be out there somewhere ...-- but apparently if there is no legal heir the estate would go to the city of Buenos Aires -- after ten (!) years --, which could then presumably do with it as they pleased. (Arguably, not the worst fate for the estate: the city government would be hard-pressed to do worse than Kodama did when she controlled it .....) In the near future, however, until this is sorted out, it looks like everything is very much in a dark limbo -- i.e. don't look for any new Borges editions, translations, or adaptations.
       It's shocking that this could happen -- not least because Kodama and the Borges literary estate are represented by the Wylie Agency, who, one would have thought, would have had a strong interest in seeing to it that any transitions would go smoothly but now find themselves in this mess. What the hell is a literary agency for if not to see to it that this kind of thing does not happen ? (With the estate in limbo, it's hard to see how they can reach any agreements or (re)new contracts for the time being, too.) Yes, all sympathies to Soto and Wylie -- Kodama was no doubt a 'difficult' client -- but come on, guys .....

       Authors do far too little to ensure that their literary estates will be handled in the way they might wish, and even when they do, too often the whims of the executors diverge far from the author's wishes and there's nothing to be done about it -- but at least there's someone in control and able to make decisions. Not so with the Borges estate now, and for a good while, it seems. So take this as a reminder, authors: put your literary estates in good and very explicit order.

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

       Windham-Campbell Prizes

       Yale University has announced the eight 2023 Windham-Campbell Prizes recipients -- two in each of four categories: fiction, non, poetry, and drama.
       The two fiction winners are Ling Ma and Percival Everett.

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

       Deborah Levy profile

       In The Guardian Charlotte Higgins profiles the author -- at considerable length --, in How Deborah Levy can change your life.
       There are reviews by six authors with the last name 'Levy' (and 'Lévy') under review at the complete review, but -- despite having a pile of her works -- none by Deborah Levy; I do hope to get to some eventually (though I'm okay with my life remaining unchanged by the experience).

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

       The Complete Review at ... 24

       The big(ger) milestones came last year (the 5000th review posted) and will come next year (the 25th anniversary of the site), but today the complete review celebrates twenty-four years online, which seems like a not insignificant milestone as well. Yes, the first reviews were posted on this date, way back in 1999.
       Glad to see you're still dropping by to have a look; I hope you continue to enjoy the site and find it useful

       And, of course, if you'd like to support the site:

Consider becoming a patron:

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Or, via PayPal:

       Thanks !

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

4 April 2023 - Tuesday

Dubravka Ugrešić | Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards | Trinity, Trinity, Trinity review

       Dubravka Ugrešić

       As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Dubravka Ugrešić recently passed away.
       There is a [presumably paywalled] obituary in The New York Times, and now also Chad W. Post on Dubravka Ugrešic’s Postcard at Words without Borders, while at the Literary Hub they have 'Five Translators on the Woman Who Wrote on Displacement, Transnationalism, and the Joys of Literature', in Dubravka Ugrešić’s Translators Remember Her.

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

       Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

       The Cleveland Foundation has announced this year's recipients of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, "the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and explores diversity".

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

       Trinity, Trinity, Trinity review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kobayashi Erika's Trinity, Trinity, Trinity.

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

3 April 2023 - Monday

OCM Bocas Prize category winners | Look at the Lights, My Love review

       OCM Bocas Prize category winners

       They've announced the three category-winners -- fiction, non, and poetry -- for this year's OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, with the overall prize to be selected from this trio and announced on 29 April.
       All three category-winners are by authors from Trinidad and Tobago, with Ayanna Lloyd Banwo's When We Were Birds the fiction category-winner.

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

       Look at the Lights, My Love review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Annie Ernaux hanging out at the local super-market/-store (hypermarché), in Look at the Lights, My Love, now out from Yale University Press in their Margellos World Republic of Letters-series.

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

2 April 2023 - Sunday

New Kawakami Mieko novel

       New Kawakami Mieko novel

       In The Japan Times Thu-Huong Ha writes about 600 pages all at once: What readers are saying about Mieko Kawakami's new novel.
       The novel is 黄色い家 ('The Yellow House'; see also the Chuko publicity page) -- and:
The book is indeed a page-turner, being billed as noir and mystery, filled with rapidly paced dialogue instead of the long, dense sentences characteristic of the author.
       English-speaking readers will have to wait a while: "The English release of Sisters in Yellow is scheduled for 2025"

       (I'm not quite sure why it's being called Sisters in Yellow -- on the cover of the Japanese edition as well; the Japanese title is 黄色い家, and '家' definitely means 'house' and not 'sisters', so .....)

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

1 April 2023 - Saturday

Syl Cheney-Coker Q & A | Die Krise der Narration review

       Syl Cheney-Coker Q & A

       Good to see a Q & A with the author by George Salis at The Collidescope, Let the Dead Man Go: An Exclusive Interview with Syl Cheney-Coker.
       His most recent novel, Sacred River, is under review at the complete review -- and both it and the author deserve considerably more attention.

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

       Die Krise der Narration review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Byung-Chul Han's latest, Die Krise der Narration.

       I've been meaning to get to some of his works -- and I'll try to cover one of the (many) works available in English soon/next.

       This came out in the lovely Matthes & Seitz Berlin Fröhliche Wissenschaft-series -- truly (shirt-)pocket-sized little volumes -- like the wonderful Prickly Paradigm Press pamphlets.

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

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