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


3 March 2021 - Wednesday

The LA Times Book Prize finalists | Ockham NZ Book Awards shortlists
WORTMELDUNGEN-Literaturpreis

       The LA Times Book Prize finalists

       They've announced this year's The Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalists.
       Quite a few categories here; the finalists under review at the complete review are: David Diop's At Night All Blood is Black (in the Fiction category, as the awards are open to books in translation such as this one) and Susanna Clarke's Piranesi (a finalist for the: Ray Bradbury Prize for science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction).
       The winners will be announced on 16 April.

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



       Ockham NZ Book Awards shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for this year's Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, sixteen titles in the four categories.
       Three of the four fiction finalists -- and several titles in the other categories -- are from a single publisher; that should be at least somewhat troubling in any market -- but the juggernaut in this case is ... Victoria University Press. Yes, it's VUP that is: "Aotearoa New Zealand's leading publisher of new fiction and poetry".
       The winners will be announced 12 May.

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



       WORTMELDUNGEN-Literaturpreis

       The WORTMELDUNGEN-Literaturpreis is a €35,000 prize for a critical short text, a maximum of twenty-five pages, either fiction or non. It has now been awarded for the fourth time -- to The Pine Islands-author Marion Poschmann, for her text Laubwerk -- ten pages which you can read in full (in German) here.
       The pay-out to word-count ratio surely makes this among the richest prose-awards, per word, out there.

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



2 March 2021 - Tuesday

Libris Literatuur Prijs shortlist | IPAF longlist | Disconnection review

       Libris Literatuur Prijs shortlist

       They've announced the six-title shortlist for this year's Libris Literatuur Prijs, the leading Dutch novel prize.
       Finalists include books by International Booker Prize-winning author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld -- currently also in the news for the to-do about her being commissioned to translate Amanda Gorman's work, and now withdrawing from the assignment; see, for example, the AP report --, Erwin Mortier, and eighty-year-old Jeroen Brouwers.
       The winner will be announced 10 May.

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



       IPAF longlist

       They've announced the sixteen-title strong longlist for this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
       The authors represent eleven different countries; several have had previous work translated into English.
       The shortlist will be announced 29 March, and the winner on 25 May.

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



       Disconnection review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Claude Ollier's novel Disconnection, a relatively early Dalkey Archive Press title; impressively, their translation of this 1988 novel came out in 1989 already.

       Half of the narrative is a post-catastrophe tale of sorts -- shades of Guido Morselli's Dissipatio H.G., certainly in the feel of the story. And it all feels even more relevant today than back then.

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



1 March 2021 - Monday

New Latin American Literature Today | The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio review

       New Latin American Literature Today

       The February issue of Latin American Literature Today is now available online, with Albalucía Ángel as the featured author and quite a bit of Octavio Paz-coverage, among much else -- including the always interesting selection of book reviews.

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



       The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Luigi Pirandello's 1915 novel, The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio -- also published as Shoot ! --, recently re-issued by Dedalus.

       This translation is by C.K. Scott Moncrieff -- yes, the translator better known for doing Proust.

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



28 February 2021 - Sunday

Jhumpa Lahiri profile | Andriy Kurkov Q & A

       Jhumpa Lahiri profile

       In Publishers Weekly Daniel Lefferts reports on What Jhumpa Lahiri Has Found in Translation.
       As Lahiri wrote about in Other Words, she took up Italian -- translating from it (e.g. Domenico Starnone 's Ties), and then also writing a novel , which is now coming out in English as Whereabouts; see also the publicity pages from Knopf and Bloomsbury, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Andriy Kurkov Q & A

       At Craft Ari van der Ent has a Q & A with Andriy Kurkov, “Modern Ukrainian writers want to be read”.
       Among the responses:
So the new generation of writers wants to write for fun ?

They want to be read. And they think because the older generation wrote so complicated and not interesting books, the readers are used to reading foreign literature instead of Ukrainian. They are bitter, they are angry, they are trying to please the readers, but massreaders are choosing traditionally foreign literature because they don't believe in Ukrainian literature anymore.
       Several Kurkov titles are under review at the complete review (e.g. Death and the Penguin); the latest of his books published in English, Grey Bees, is out in the UK -- see the MacLehose Press publicity page -- but unfortunately not (yet ?) in the US.

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



27 February 2021 - Saturday

NYTBR review | ACFNY Translation Prize event
The Adventures and Misadventures of [...] Joan Orpí review

       NYTBR review

       As The New York Times Book Review 'celebrates its 125th anniversary, Parul Sehgal, a staff critic and former editor at the Book Review, delves into the archives to critically examine its legacy in full', in Reviewing the Book Review.
       Okay, maybe expecting: "its legacy in full" to be covered in a single article is a bit more than one can ask for, but it's an interesting surface-scratch.
       Among the interesting titbits, her observations about: "that signature, seignorial remove", as:
Reviewers almost never use “I,” long discouraged by the paper, but the magisterial “we.”
       Also
Note that language. It reappears in the reviews of the interlopers — the nonwhite writers, women writers and especially L.G.B.T.Q. writers. Their books are not written, they are not crafted— they are expelled, they are excreted, almost involuntarily.
       And:
Where Black writers are concerned, another pattern can be detected. Reviewers might impute cultural importance to the work, but aesthetic significance only rarely. And if aesthetic significance was conferred, it often hinged on one particular quality: authenticity.

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



       ACFNY Translation Prize event

       I've mentioned that Georg Bauer won this year's Austrian Cultural Forum New York Translation Prize for his translation of Walter Kappacher's Der Fliegenpalast, and tomorrow you have the opportunity to hear him in conversation with Andrew Singer on Trafika Europe Radio at 14:00 EST, with contributions by Michael Maar and New Vessel Press publisher Michael Wise, too; New Vessel Press will publish the full translation, The Palace of Flies in 2022.
       (I was one of the judges for this prize.)

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



       The Adventures and Misadventures of [...] Joan Orpí review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Max Besora's The Adventures and Misadventures of the Extraordinary and Admirable Joan Orpí, Conquistador and Founder of New Catalonia, recently out from Open Letter.

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



26 February 2021 - Friday

Philippe Jaccottet (1925-2021) | Nordic Council Literature Prize finalists

       Philippe Jaccottet (1925-2021)

       Swiss-born poet and translator Philippe Jaccottet has passed away; see, for example, Thierry Clermont's piece in Le Figaro.
       There's a volume of his work in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, and quite a bit of his work has been translated into English; Seagull Books have a great selection.

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



       Nordic Council Literature Prize finalists

       They've announced the titles that will be competing for this year's Nordic Council Literature Prize, the leading Scandinavian literary prize, with finalists chosen from all the Nordic countries and languages.
       Authors who have had previous books translated into English who also placed books this year include Ursula Andkjær Olsen, Pajtim Statovci, Niviaq Korneliussen, Andri Snær Magnason, and Vigdis Hjorth.
       Quite a few previous winners of this prize are under review at the complete review.
       The winner will be announced 2 November.

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



25 February 2021 - Thursday

'Georgia's Fantastic Tavern' | Publishing in ... Japan | Tower review

       'Georgia's Fantastic Tavern'

       An online festival of Georgian writers, music, and food, Georgia's Fantastic Tavern: Where Europe Meets Asia runs today through the 28th, with several of the British Library online events livestreamed.
       This looks good -- and see also some of the supporting material, as it were, in this month's issue of Words without Borders with their 'Café Culture: Writing from a Georgian Literary Festival'-feature (scroll down a bit).

       See also the Georgian literature under review at the complete review.

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



       Publishing in ... Japan

       At nippon.com they report that Japan's Publishing Industry Sees Higher Sales During Pandemic -- though there are lots of caveats here, including that this includes both electronic and print publications (electronic: up a lot; print: down slightly), and that print publications extend beyond books to magazines and comics; indeed, apparently it was: "the explosive popularity of the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba manga lifted overall sales for publishing in 2020".
       (That series is also available in English.)

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



       Tower review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Bae Myung-hoon's Tower, just out in English from Honford Star.

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



24 February 2021 - Wednesday

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021) | Walter Scott Prize longlist
Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne longlist | Bookselling in ... Istanbul

       Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021)

       American poet and founder of City Lights -- the bookstore and the publishing house - Lawrence Ferlinghetti has passed away; see, for example, the Lawrence Ferlinghetti page at City Lights, or the obituary in The New York Times.
       He was certainly a tremendously influential figure in American letters.

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



       Walter Scott Prize longlist

       They've announced the eleven-title-strong longlist for this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction
       Always an interesting selection, which this year includes Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light, Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, and Paul Griffiths' Mr Beethoven.
       The shortlist will be announced at the end of April.

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



       Prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne longlist

       They've announced the longlist for this year's prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne, for a work by a European author written in or translated into French -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       Eight titles from seven countries -- though notably nothing from the UK, nothing translated from the German.

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



       Bookselling in ... Istanbul

       In Daily Sabah Matt Hanson writes On the passage of books: In a reader's market by Galatasaray.

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



23 February 2021 - Tuesday

Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire longlists | Layli and Majnun review

       Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire longlists

       They've announced the longlists for this year's Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire, a French prize for fantasy fiction, in the broadest sense.
       Among the titles in the French novel category are Hervé Le Tellier's prix Goncourt-winning L'Anomalie and new books by local favorites Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès (see the Zulma publicity page) and Mathias Enard (see the Actes Sud publicity page).
       Titles in the foreign novel category -- somewhat disappointingly, all translations from the English -- include works by Jeff VanderMeer, Ann Leckie -- and Doris Lessing; yes, they've really only gotten around to finishing translating the Canopus in Argos-series now .....
       Impressively, there is also a translation category -- though here too, disappointingly, it's all also from the English.

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



       Layli and Majnun review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nezami Ganjavi's classic, Layli and Majnun, in Dick Davis' recent translation, now out as a Penguin Classic.

       This is the third of Nizami's (Nezami's) quintet under review at the complete review; I'd love to get to the remaining two as well, eventually.

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



22 February 2021 - Monday

'Crime fiction from the Maghreb' | Bookselling in ... South Korea
Your Story, My Story review

       'Crime fiction from the Maghreb'

       At Al-Fanar Media M. Lynx Qualey finds that Crime Fiction From the Maghreb: Not So Hidden After All, a useful overview.
       Of course, too few of these are available in English -- but at least some titles are, including by Yasmina Khadra (e.g. Dead Man's Share) and Abdelilah Hamdouchi (e.g. Whitefly).

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



       Bookselling in ... South Korea

       While many bookstores in South Korea continue to struggle, Park Ji-won reports in The Korea Times that Despite falling book sales, number of small bookshops increases six times, increasing from 97 in 2015 to over 600 now.
       She talked with Nam Chang-woo, and:
He said that falling book sales ironically played a part in increasing the number of small indie bookstores.

"I think there is no future for physical books because people don't buy them," he said. The reason why indie bookstores flourish in terms of numbers, he said, is because they serve various purposes. We can buy books about our interests there, but also meet people with shared interests, according to Nam. Bookshop owners' motives also vary. Designers open bookshops to sell books about design and design products. Some people even open a travel bookstore while running a travel agency, he said.
       I'm still kind of hoping there is a future for physical books .....

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



       Your Story, My Story review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Connie Palmen's Sylvia Plath-Ted Hughes novel, Your Story, My Story.

       This 2015 novel got quite a bit of attention in Europe, but this recent English translation hasn't garnered much review-attention. I wonder how much of that is due to the fact that it's an AmazonCrossing title (certainly not a favorite of booksellers anywhere (very few stock this)). But the subject matter would seem to appeal to quite a large audience -- and, indeed, last I checked there were a staggering 1,223 customer ratings at the US Amazon.com for this title. (Few titles reviewed at the complete review get more than a handful of ratings.)

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



21 February 2021 - Sunday

Klara and the Sun countdown | Translating Bangla literature
Iranian Book of the Year Awards

       Klara and the Sun countdown

       The release of Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro's Klara and the Sun, on 2 March, is one of the big publishing events of the year, and the PR blitz is beginning.
       You can read 'exclusive' extracts at both The Guardian and npr, and at The Guardian Lisa Allardice also has a lengthy profile, Kazuo Ishiguro: 'AI, gene-editing, big data ... I worry we are not in control of these things any more'. And The Guardian has now also asked a variety of authors to name the: 'Kazuo Ishiguro novels closest to their hearts', in My favourite Ishiguro: by Margaret Atwood, Ian Rankin and more.
       Technically 'embargoed' until the second, there are nevertheless already reviews out from Publishers Weekly ("This dazzling genre-bending work is a delight") and Kirkus Reviews ("A haunting fable of a lonely, moribund world that is entirely too plausible"). I have my copy, but will wait to post a review until early March, with the first (no doubt huge) batch of reviews to link to.
       Meanwhile, pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

       A couple of Ishiguro titles are already under review at the complete review: Never Let Me Go and When we were Orphans.

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



       Translating Bangla literature

       In The Daily Star Niaz Zaman looks at Navigating Bangla literary: Translations, addressing a variety of issue regarding translation from Bangla into English.

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



       Iranian Book of the Year Awards

       They've announced the Iranian Book of the Year Award winners, with President Hassan Rouhani handing out the prizes; see, for example, the Tehran Times report, Iran's Book of the Year Awards announces winners.
       The best novel prize went to Mansur Alimoradi's Mid-Day Incantations, which was also one of the three finalists for the Jalal Al-e Ahmad Literary Award a few months ago; see also the Nimaj publicity page.

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



20 February 2021 - Saturday

Jaipur Literature Festival | Premio Primavera de novela
Publishing Scotland Translation Fund

       Jaipur Literature Festival

       The Jaipur Literature Festival has started; it runs through tomorrow, and then continues 26 - 28 February -- all virtually. Lots of good stuff, as always.

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



       Premio Primavera de novela

       They've announced the winner of this year's Premio Primavera de novela, another high-pay-out Spanish literary prize -- €100,000, for an unpublished novel -- and it is Los ingratos, by Pedro Simón; see, for example, the report at El mundo.
       Until 2011 this prize, inaugurated in 1997, paid out €200,000, but apparently they couldn't sustain that. Still, €100,000 is nothing to sneeze at either.

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



       Publishing Scotland Translation Fund

       Publishing Scotland helps subsidize translations of works by Scottish authors into foreign languages, and they've just announced the latest batch of grants, awarded to fifteen publishers from ten countries.
       As they note, unsurprisingly: "Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart was a popular choice with applicants".
       Grants supporting translation are always helpful -- even for works written in the most-translated-from language, English -- so it's good to see Publishing Scotland dedicating some funds to this.

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



19 February 2021 - Friday

Sadean tax break in France | Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards
Dissipatio H.G. review

       Sadean tax break in France

       The French government has issued an official call for corporate help in order to purchase the manuscript of the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom (plus étui), dangling generous tax breaks as an incentive.
       The Ministry of Culture declared the manuscript a 'national treasure' in 2017, meaning also it could not be sold abroad, but now they're apparently hoping to purchase it themselves; the value is currently pegged at an impressive €4,550,000. I do wonder what companies will want to explain to their shareholders that they contributed to the purchase of this -- having the company's name associated with that in perpetuity; it is, after all, a very controversial (and problematic) text. But, yes, attitudes towards culture are different in France (at least than in the US) -- and there's no denying this object's cultural-historical significance.
       Beyond any literary considerations, the manuscript -- a roll, rather than the usual pile of papers -- is pretty neat itself; see some images at this Marquis de Sade site.

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



       Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards

       They've announced the winners of this year's Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards, and S. Hareesh's Malayalam novel Moustache -- which had preciously won the JCB Prize for Literature -- won the best novel prize.
       In almost (entirely ?) predictable knee-jerk reaction BJP state chief K. Surendran complained:
Kerala has not seen such a derogatory novel. The decision to award Meesha should be seen as an act against the Hindu community.
       Is there anything these guys -- and they do appear always to be guys -- don't see as insulting Hinduism ?
       (The right-wing BJP party is the nationally ruling party in India, but not exactly a force in Kerala: of the 140 seats in that state's legislative assembly they currently hold exactly ... one.)
       See the PTI report, here at The Wire, ‘Meesha’ Wins Best Novel at Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards; BJP Says Move 'Anti-Hindu'.

       Moustache does not appear to have a US or UK publisher yet -- though hopefully it will; meanwhile, see the Harper Collins India publicity page; it is available at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Dissipatio H.G. review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Guido Morselli's last-man-on-earth novel, Dissipatio H.G.: The Vanishing, recently out in English from New York Review Books.

       (I wonder if they worried the title might be too ... intimidating for US readers, and that's why they added the subtitle; it doesn't appear in the original Italian edition.)

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



18 February 2021 - Thursday

US bookstore sales 2020 | Fondazione Gesualdo Bufalino | GRM review

       US bookstore sales 2020

       As Jim Milliot reports in Publishers Weekly, Bookstore Sales Fell 28.3% in 2020 in the US, with sales down to US$6.34 billion compared to US$8.84 billion in 2019.
       While the numbers were improving towards the end of the year -- December sales were *only* down 15.2% -- the year-total numbers are pretty dismal, if not unexpected.

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



       Fondazione Gesualdo Bufalino

       Italian author Gesualdo Bufalino celebrated his centenary last year -- he lived 1920 to 1996 -- and in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Andreas Rossman writes about him and his hometown, Cosimo, in Das Palastgefängnis eines Poeten -- mentioning also the Fondazione Gesualdo Bufalino, which holds all things Bufalino, including his extensive archives.
       Impressively, they also have Bufalino's entire -- huge -- private library, always a fascinating thing to see, noting:
The consistency of Gesualdo Bufalino's personal library is about 10.000 volumes.
       And, yes, they also have his videotape collection -- "The video library has about 350 VHS videocassettes, mostly recorded by Bufalino himself". Not too many writer's archives you'll find with VHS-tape collections of this size, I imagine .....

       Only two Bufalino titles are under review at the complete review -- Tommaso and the Blind Photographer and Qui pro quo. (I read most of the others before I started the site.)

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



       GRM review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Sibylle Berg's Swiss Book Prize-winning 2019 novel, GRM.

       The Kiepenheuer & Witsch foreign rights page says the US/World English rights are: "under negotiation". I imagine this will come out in English -- and am very curious how it will play in the UK, where it is set. As to whether US/UK publishers will also use subtitle, Brainfuck .....

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



17 February 2021 - Wednesday

The future of Japanese literature ? | '100 books from Eastern Europe and Central Asia'

       The future of Japanese literature ?

       In Metropolis Eric Margolis wonders: 'With Japanese literature in translation finally breaching feminist frontiers, what's next ?' in 2021: What is the Future of Japanese Literature ?
       The focus is very much on fiction in (mainly English) translation, which is of course only a slice of present-day Japanese literature, but it's always interesting to see what catches on and works abroad.

       Quite a few of the authors and books mentioned are under review at the complete review.

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



       '100 books from Eastern Europe and Central Asia'

       The Calvert Journal recommends no less than 100 books to read from Eastern Europe and Central Asia -- lots of good books that are indeed worth your attention.

       Many of these are also under review at the complete review; see the (overlapping) indices of Eastern European literature and literature from Russia and the former Soviet Union under review.

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



16 February 2021 - Tuesday

Swedish Academy Nordic Prize | Goncourt sales success | Urs Jaeggi (1931-2021)

       Swedish Academy Nordic Prize

       The Swedish Academy has announced the winner of this year's Nordic Prize, a SK400,000 (almost US$50,000) author prize for a Scandinavian author, and it is poet Eldrid Lunden.
       There doesn't appear to be any collection of her poems available in English yet, but you can find a short biography and some samples at Poetry International.
       Among the poems there:
Lacan's emptiness has not

turned up
       Not bad.
       The Nordic Prize has a good track record; recent winners include Dag Solstad (2017) and Karl Ove Knausgård (2019).

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



       Goncourt sales success

       Winning the prix Goncourt always provides a big sales boost -- and last year's prize certainly seems to have helped the sales of Hervé Le Tellier's L'Anomalie, pushing it to sales some twenty times what his books usually do. The top-selling Goncourt-winner of all times remains the 1984 winner, Marguerite Duras' The Lover, and with 1,630,000 copies shifted no one is going to catch up to that anytime soon, but, as reported at Livres Hebdo, L'Anomalie is now number two on the all-time list, having moved past ... the 2006 winner, Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones.

       Several Le Tellier titles are under review at the complete review -- see, e.g. All Happy Families. This one is forthcoming in English from Other Press, and I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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



       Urs Jaeggi (1931-2021)

       Swiss sociologist and author Urs Jaeggi has passed away; see, for example, the swissinfo.ch report.
       He wrote several works of fiction, though none appear to have been translated into English; he also won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 1981.

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



15 February 2021 - Monday

Mourid Barghouti (1944-2021) | Iran Book of the Year Awards finalists
How to Order the Universe review

       Mourid Barghouti (1944-2021)

       Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti has passed away; see the BBC report or, for example, the Maya Jaggi profile in The Guardian from 2008, A life in writing: Mourid Barghouti.
       He is probably best-known for his memoir, I Saw Ramallah; see the publicity pages from Anchor and Bloomsbury, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Iran Book of the Year Awards finalists

       As the Tehran Times reports, Iran's Book of the Year Awards announces nominees in literature category -- "the subsections of Literary Criticism, Classical Literature, Non-Persian Literature and Arabic Literature".
       Always interesting to see what gets translated -- and the Non-Persian Literature section finalists include translations of Andrei Bely's Petersburg, Olga Tokarczuk's Flights, and Richard Powers' The Overstory.

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



       How to Order the Universe review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of María José Ferrada's How to Order the Universe, just out from Tin House.

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



14 February 2021 - Sunday

Sergei Lebedev profile -- and top 100 Russian books of the 21st century ?

       Sergei Lebedev profile -- and top 100 Russian books of the 21st century ?

       Sergei Lebedev's Untraceable is just out, and in The Guardian Luke Harding profiles him, in 'In Russia, the new evil is rooted in the old evil': novelist Sergei Lebedev on Putin, poison and state terror

       Among the interesting bits: "he mentions a list of the 100 best Russian books of the 21st century, compiled by the Moscow literary journal Polka", which sounds intriguing -- as indeed it is: check out the 100 главных русских книг XXI века.
       Quite a few of these have been translated into English -- indeed quite a few are under review at the complete review -- including the number two title, Eugene Vodolazkin's Laurus.
       The top title ? The conveniently just-translated In Memory of Memory, by Maria Stepanova; see the publicity pages from New Directions and Fitzcarraldo Editions, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       (I have an e-copy of this, but probably will wait to get a print copy before having a go at it.)

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



13 February 2021 - Saturday

'Crime Fiction' changing of the guard at NYTBR
Fragments of an Infinite Memory review

       'Crime Fiction' changing of the guard at NYTBR

       After an incredible run, longtime (since 1988 !) 'Crime Fiction'-columnist at The New York Times Book Review Marilyn Stasio is stepping down and, as The New York Times has announced, Sarah Weinman Becomes New Columnist for Crime Fiction as Marilyn Stasio Retires.
       No question that Weinman is incredibly well-qualified to succeed Stasio -- few people devour as much crime fiction as she does, or are as knowledgeable about the subject; given her background, from her early days as a 'lit blogger' -- she started her Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind (whose earliest incarnation I'm pleased to see is still online) in that early golden age of lit-blogging, not long after I started this Literary Saloon -- to her success as editor of crime anthologies (e.g. Women Crime Writers: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s (Library of America) and author of The Real Lolita, she is indeed, as the announcement has it, the: "obvious suspect" for the position.

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



       Fragments of an Infinite Memory review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Maël Renouard's Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet, just out from New York Review Books.

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



12 February 2021 - Friday

Society of Authors' Translation Prizes | Prix Sade longlist

       Society of Authors' Translation Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's (British) Society of Authors' Translation Prizes -- prizes for translations from five different languages this year (it varies from year to year, as some of the other prizes are bi- or triennial), as well as the TA First Translation prize.
       The only winning title under review at the complete review is the winner of the John Florio Prize, for translation from Italian -- Jhumpa Lahiri's translation of Domenico Starnone's Trick.

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



       Prix Sade longlist

       They've announced the twelve-title strong longlist for this year's prix Sade; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       It includes the obligatory de Sade-related titles -- Alberto Brodesco's Sade et le cinéma and the Dictionnaire Sade (which is something I definitely want to see; see also the L'Harmattan publicity page) -- and quite a variety of other titles, including Garth Greenwell's Cleanness. Hard not to root for Murder Most Serene-author Gabrielle Wittkop's Hemlock, however; see also the Quidam publicity page.
       The shortlist will be announced on 24 June, and the winner on 2 October.

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



11 February 2021 - Thursday

PEN America Literary Awards finalists | PEN Translates awards
Folio Prize shortlist | An I-Novel review

       PEN America Literary Awards finalists

       They've announced the finalists in the eleven different categories for this year's PEN America Literary Awards.
       The only title under review at the complete review is one of the PEN Translation Prize finalists, Chris Andrews' translation of Kaouther Adimi's Our Riches (published as: A Bookshop in Algiers in the UK).
       The winners will be announced 8 April.

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



       PEN Translates awards

       English PEN has announced their PEN Translates awards -- grants for the translations of 15 books, covering 14 countries and 12 languages.
       Only one previous book by any of these authors is under review at the complete review -- Daniela Hodrová's A Kingdom of Souls -- and I'm definitely curious about this new work of hers, but quite a few of the others look to be of considerable interest as well.

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



       Folio Prize shortlist

       They've announced the eight-title shortlist for this year's Rathbones Folio Prize, awarded to: "works of literature in which the subjects being explored achieve their most perfect and thrilling expression", regardless of genre.
       It looks like an interesting variety, though I haven't seen any of these.
       The winner will be announced 24 March.

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



       An I-Novel review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mizumura Minae's 1995 An I-Novel, now in English from Columbia University Press -- certainly one of the most anticipated translations of the year for me.

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



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