the
Literary Saloon

the literary
weblog at the
complete review

about the saloon

support the site

archive

cr
crQ
crF

RSS

Twitter

Bluesky

The Complete Review Guide to Contemporary World Fiction by M.A.Orthofer
The CR Guide

the Complete Review: the book - A Site History
The CR:the book

to e-mail us:


literary weblogs:

  Books, Inq.
  Bookninja
  BookRiot
  Critical Mass
  Guardian Books
  The Millions
  MobyLives
  NewPages Weblog
  Omnivoracious
  Page-Turner
  PowellsBooks.Blog
  Three Percent

  Perlentaucher
  Rép. des livres

  Arts & Letters Daily
  Bookdwarf
  Buzzwords
  The Millions
  The Rumpus
  Two Words
  Waggish

  See also: links page






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


25 June 2024 - Tuesday

Literary bars in Tokyo | Human Sadness review

       Literary bars in Tokyo

       At The Japan News Takafumi Masaki writes on Tokyo's Literary Bars: A Place Famous Writers Grabbed Drinks, Gained Inspiration; Many Artists Still Gather to Discuss Their Crafts
       But: "in recent years, many of the bars have gone out of business" .....

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



       Human Sadness review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Goderdzi Chokheli's Human Sadness, a Soviet-era Georgian novel coming out from Dedalus.

       This is also of particular translation-interest because five translators were involved -- one for each of the distinct voices in the novel.
       This was translated as part of the Oxford Georgian Translation Project. Always great to see more translations from the Georgian -- and hopefully this project will lead to many more.

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



24 June 2024 - Monday

Alain Mabanckou profile

       Alain Mabanckou profile

       In Businessday Obinna Emelike profiles the African Psycho-author, in At home with Alain Mabanckou: Prolific Francophone Congolese poet, novelist.

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



23 June 2024 - Sunday

Humor in classical Arabic literature | The Bright Sword review

       Humor in classical Arabic literature

       At New Lines Magazine Ahmed Mahjoub writes on Recovering the Bawdy Humor of Classical Arabic Literature.

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



       The Bright Sword review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Novel of King Arthur by Lev Grossman, The Bright Sword, due out shortly.

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



22 June 2024 - Saturday

Society of Authors Awards | New Vikram Seth
Scientific articles as modernist stories ?

       Society of Authors Awards

       The Society of Authors has announced the winners of its 2024 awards -- thirty-one of them.

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



       New Vikram Seth

       There's a new book by Vikram Seth coming out -- but, no, it's not the long anticipated and much-delayed A Suitable Girl ("A Suitable Girl will now be published in the autumn of 2016", Claire Armitstead wrote in 2013 ...). Speaking Tiger is publishing a bilingual edition of The Hanuman Chalisa, with Seth's translation.
       Anything to put off finishing A Suitable Girl ? But apparently this isn't entirely new either -- Giridhar Jha reported on Seth reciting his translation at the Patna Lit Fest over a decade ago ......
       As to A Suitable Girl -- well Hachette Australia lists a 13 November 2025 publication date for it, so maybe .....

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



       Scientific articles as modernist stories ?

       There's a preprint at the PhilSci Archive of Anatolii Kozlov and Michael T. Stuart's paper suggesting that Scientific Experimental Articles are Modernist Stories. (The paper itself is docx file, so it has to be downloaded, sigh .....).
       As they sum up in the abstract:
We argue that scientific experimental articles are best understood as a particular kind of narrative: i.e., modernist narratives (think: Woolf, Joyce), at least in the sense that they employ many of the same techniques, including colligation and the juxtaposition of multiple perspectives. We suggest that this way of writing is necessary given the nature of modern science, but it also has specific epistemic benefits: it provides readers with an effective way to grasp the content of scientific articles which increases their understanding. On the other hand, modernist writing is vulnerable to certain kinds of epistemic abuses, which can be found instantiated in modern scientific writing as well.

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



21 June 2024 - Friday

Fixed book pricing | Filter Vertaalprijs finalists | Australian espionage fiction

       Fixed book pricing

       Via M.C.'s NB column (paywalled) in this week's TLS I am pointed to the interesting recent paper by Rhys J. Williams in the Journal of Competition Law & Economics considering Empirical Effects of Resale Price Maintenance: Evidence from Fixed Book Price Policies in Europe, which finds, as they sum up in the Abstract:
that countries which have Fixed Book Prices policies witness higher book sales, relative to countries without such a policy, with no noticeable effect on the average price of books.
       It'll be interesting to see whether this leads to any policy changes -- specifically in the UK, which abandoned fixed book pricing in the mid-1990s.

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



       Filter Vertaalprijs finalists

       They've announced the finalists for this year's Filter Vertaalprijs, a leading Dutch translation prize.
       Only one of the translations is from the English -- Paul Harding's This Other Eden -- but interestingly the Dutch translation of one of the other titles, of Pauline Peyrade's L'âge de détruire, is ... The age of destroying.
       The winner will be announced 1 October.

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



       Australian espionage fiction

       At The Conversation David Rymer explores Why have Australia's espionage authors been renditioned to a literary black site ? as even the: "high water mark in 2018 saw only nine espionage novels appear in print".

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



20 June 2024 - Thursday

Shiraishi Kazuko (1931-2024) | Jan Cremer (1940-2024)
Warwick Prize submissions | 'DEI' and publishing

       Shiraishi Kazuko (1931-2024)

       Japanese poet Shiraishi Kazuko has passed away; see, for example, Yuri Kageyama's AP report, Japan’s ‘beat poet’ Kazuko Shiraishi, pioneer of modern performance poetry, dies at 93.
       New Directions has published several collections by her.

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



       Jan Cremer (1940-2024)

       Dutch author and painter Jan Cremer has passed away; see, for example, the brief De Bezige Bij note and the ANP report at NL Times.
       He remains best-known for his 'autobiographical novel' I Jan Cremer, but the English translation seems to be long out of print; see also the Cremer author page at De Bezige Bij; see also his official site.

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



       Warwick Prize submissions

       The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation has published the List of eligible titles (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) entered for the 2024 prize. (As I repeat every year: every literary prize should do this.)
       There are 148 titles in the running, translated from 34 languages (in my book, Flemish and Dutch count as one language, not two).
       As always, this is a great resource for those interested in recent translations.

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



       'DEI' and publishing

       At The Atlantic Big Fiction-author Dan Sinykin and Richard Jean So consider: Has the DEI Backlash Come for Publishing ? (presumably paywalled).
       Recent firings certainly suggest so .....

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



19 June 2024 - Wednesday

Most beautiful German books | Jinbōchō guide

       Most beautiful German books

       The German Stiftung Buchkunst has selected the twenty-five most beautiful German books of 2024 -- five each in five categories.

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



       Jinbōchō guide

       At nippon.com they offer an: "introduction to some of the many secondhand bookstores in Jinbōchō, Tokyo", in Exploring Jinbōchō’s Secondhand Bookstores.

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



18 June 2024 - Tuesday

Hotlist 2024 entries | Håkan Nesser sentenced | Literature and fashion

       Hotlist 2024 entries

       The German 'Hotlist' prize invites all independent German-language publishing houses to each submit one title from their list for the competition; 30 finalists are then chosen by a jury; the public can then vote on these, with the three top vote-getters making the shortlist that is filled out by seven selections by the jury.
       Admirably, they reveal all 204 titles that were submitted this year -- even if they annoyingly don't simply have one single-page list of then all .....

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



       Håkan Nesser sentenced

       Popular Swedish author Håkan Nesser (e.g. Borkmann's Point) was acquitted of tax evasion charges last year, but the prosecution appealed the judgment and it was recently reversed and Nesser sentenced to eighteen months in jail; see, for example, the AFP report (here at Barron's) Sweden Jails Best-selling Thriller Writer For Tax Evasion. (The reports are unclear as to whether or not he has actually been jailed; presumably he has only been sentenced -- and will now, in turn, also appeal the judgment.)

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



       Literature and fashion

       At Vogue Business Madeleine Schulz reports on Book girl summer: Why brands are leaning into the literary world, as: "fashion is leaning on the written word to regain -- or, at least, embrace -- a sense of intellectualism" -- as: "in aligning with books themselves, brands are able to tap consumers' heightened interest in the act of reading".
       At least by some measures Miu Miu's Summer Reads, for example, has certainly been a success:
The activation generated $852,000 in media impact value (MIV) in the first two days post-launch, of which $712,000 came from social media and $140,000 from online articles, according to Launchmetrics.
       "Media impact value", sigh ..... (Unfamiliar/baffled as I am with/by the concept of 'media impact value', I suspect I've also never generated any .....)

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



17 June 2024 - Monday

Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize | Gretel and the Great War review

       Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize, awarded: "for book-length literary translations into English from any living European language" -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see for example their tweet -- and it is Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, in Mark Polizzotti's translation.
       See also the publicity pages from Archipelago and Daunt Books, or get your copy at Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Gretel and the Great War review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Adam Ehrlich Sachs' new novel, Gretel and the Great War.

       (His dad Jeffrey's The Price of Civilization is also under review at the complete review -- not the first instance of books by both father and son under review at the site, but there are only a handful.)

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



16 June 2024 - Sunday

Pushkin House Book Prize | Sunday Times Literary Awards longlists

       Pushkin House Book Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Pushkin House Book Prize, rewarding: "books that are well-written, well-researched and accessible to the non-specialist reader" that examine: "Russian culture, history and politics" -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, Michele A. Berdy's report in The Moscow Times; the winner is: I Love Russia by Elena Kostyuchenko, translated by Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse and Bela Shayevich.

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



       Sunday Times Literary Awards longlists

       They've announced the longlists for this year's (South African) Sunday Times Literary Awards in its two categories, fiction and non.
       Lots of books in the running .....

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



15 June 2024 - Saturday

Jennifer Egan profile

       Jennifer Egan profile

       At Penn Today Louisa Shepard profiles The English major's cheerleader and champion, as: 'Author and alum Jennifer Egan returns to campus to teach an undergraduate literature course as a booster for the humanities' -- ENGL 0900.001: Jennifer Egan and the Art of Fiction.

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



14 June 2024 - Friday

EBRD Literature Prize | Women's Prizes | Walter Scott Prize
Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel shortlist

       EBRD Literature Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's EBRD Literature Prize -- awarded: "to authors from countries where the [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development] invests and their English-language translators" -- and it is The End, by Bartis Attila, in Judith Sollosy's translation; see also the Archipelago publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, or Amazon.co.uk.

       I haven't seen this yet; the only work by Bartis under review at the complete review is Tranquility.

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



       Women's Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's Women's Prizes, with the Women's Prize for Fiction going to Brotherless Night, by V.V.Ganeshananthan, and the Women's Prize for Non-Fiction going to Doppelganger, by Naomi Klein.

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



       Walter Scott Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and it is Hungry Ghosts, by Kevin Jared Hosein.

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



       Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
       One of the six finalists is under review at the complete review: The Secret Hours by Mick Herron.
       The winner will be announced 18 July.

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



13 June 2024 - Thursday

MIT Press profile | Ottaway Award acceptance speech
Chaos in Kinshasa review

       MIT Press profile

       At MIT News Rachel Aldrich profiles Bob Prior: A deep legacy of cultivating books at the MIT Press, as Prior is set to retire from MIT Press at the end of this month.

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



       Ottaway Award acceptance speech

       ArabLit's M. Lynx Qualey was recently awarded the Ottaway Award for the Promotion of International Literature by Words without Borders, and they now have “The Landscape around Us”: Marcia Lynx Qualey’s Ottaway Award Acceptance Speech.

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



       Chaos in Kinshasa review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Barly Baruti and Thierry Bellefroid's graphic novel, Chaos in Kinshasa.

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



12 June 2024 - Wednesday

Deutscher Sachbuchpreis

       Deutscher Sachbuchpreis

       They've announced the winner of this year's German Non-Fiction Prize, the leading ... German non-fiction prize, and it is Tausend Aufbrüche, by Christina Morina; see also the Siedler foreign rights page.

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



11 June 2024 - Tuesday

New The Yale Review | Jinbōchō profile
Prix Jean Monnet finalists | César Aira reviews

       New The Yale Review

       The summer issue of The Yale Review is now out -- with a focus: "on the past, present, and future of criticism".
       Among the pieces are Christine Smallwood on 'The material constraints of writing criticism today', in A Reviewer’s Life, Merve Emre on 'The challenge of reading generously', in The Critic as Friend, and Namwali Serpell on Critical Navel-Gazing.

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



       Jinbōchō profile

       At nippon.com they look at Jinbōchō Through the Years: The Story of Tokyo’s Secondhand Book District.
       Among the observations:
The major used goods chain BookOff was founded in 1990 and expanded across the whole of Japan, but Sakota dismisses it as lacking substance. “As well as secondhand books, it deals in other goods, and there’s no specialist book knowledge anyway. We carefully appraise individual works and decide their price. There are association members who find undervalued books at BookOff outlets and sell them for a high price in their own stores.”

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



       Prix Jean Monnet finalists

       They've announced the three finalists for this year's prix Jean Monnet de littérature européenne -- not yet at the official site, last I checked, but see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The three finalists are Ian McEwan's Lessons, Pascal Quignard's Les heures heureuses -- see the Albin Michel publicity page -- and Jeroen Olyslaegers' Wildevrouw -- see the Flanders Literature information page.
       The winner will be announced 18 November.

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



       César Aira reviews

       The most recent additions to the complete review are my reviews of two short César Aira novels -- published together in one volume by New Directions: Festival and Game of the Worlds: A Science Fiction Book.

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



10 June 2024 - Monday

Prix Fitzgerald | Reading in ... Ukraine | Charu Nivedita profile

       Prix Fitzgerald

       They've announced the winner of this year's Prix Fitzgerald, a French award honoring: "a novel or short story that reflects the elegance, spirit, and art of living embodied by the American writer and adopted son of the French Riviera, Francis Scott Fitzgerald", and it is 48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister, by Joyce Carol Oates
       Among the other finalists were Ian McEwan's Lessons and Christian Kracht's Eurotrash.

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



       Reading in ... Ukraine

       At RFE/RL Aleksander Palikot reports on A 'Very Painful' Book Boom: As Russia Wages War On Their Culture, Ukrainians Turn To Reading, as:
With a hip new bookstore opening in Kyiv every other month and unexpected bestsellers rocking the market, readers and publishing industry insiders alike speak of a spike in demand for books.
       Meanwhile, at the Kyiv Independent Kate Tsurkan offers a list of 10 authors shaping contemporary Ukrainian literature. Books by four of them are under review at the complete review: Yuri Andrukhovych (The Moscoviad), etc.), Lyubko Deresh (Культ, etc.), Oksana Zabuzhko (Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex), and Serhiy Zhadan (Voroshilovgrad, etc.).

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



       Charu Nivedita profile

       At Scroll.in Diya Isha writes How Tamil author Charu Nivedita has created a cult following for his books (and his persona).
       The only one of his books under review at the complete review is Zero Degree, but I do hope to see more.

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



9 June 2024 - Sunday

Gratiaen Prize

       Gratiaen Prize

       They announced the winner of this year's Gratiaen Prize -- a Sri Lankan prize for the best work written in English, founded by Michael Ondaatje -- last week, and it is Father Cabraal's Recipe for Love Cake, by Ramya Jirasinghe -- not yet published; see the The Ampersand Agency information page.
       See also the Q & A by Tina Edward Gunawardhana in the Daily Mirror, Winning the GRATIAEN PRIZE Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe lays bare her thoughts on winning Sri Lanka's most prestigious Literary Award.

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



8 June 2024 - Saturday

Franz Kafka Prizes | Norton Anthology of World Literature, 5th ed.
Crimean Tatar literature

       Franz Kafka Prizes

       The Czech Franz Kafka Prize had a good run from 2001 (Philip Roth) through 2021 (Ivan Vyskočil), but they seem to have given up on it.
       The Austrians had a biennial Franz Kafka Prize they awarded from 1979 (Peter Handke) through ... 2001 (Marianne Fritz), with Nobel laureates Elias Canetti (1981) and Herta Müller (1999) being among the impressive award winners -- and they've now revived it, with Josef Winkler winning this year's prize; he gets to pick it up next week, on the 14th.

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



       Norton Anthology of World Literature, 5th ed.

       The latest -- the fifth -- edition of The Norton Anthology of World Literature is coming out -- see the W.W.Norton publicity pages for Volumes A. B. C (pre-1650) and Volumes D, E, F (post-1650) -- and in Harvard Magazine Nina Pasquini looks at this latest version, in The DNA of World Literature.
       This certainly sounds good:
Throughout the anthology, “translation labs” such as this one offer several versions of translated texts, allowing students to see how various translators capture and lose different elements of the original, said [Martin] Puchner, who serves as general editor of the anthology and who has written widely about world literature and other subjects.

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



       Crimean Tatar literature

       Alyona Savchuk has a Q & A with Journalist Mustafa Ametov on Crimean Tatar Literature’s Vital Role in Language Preservation.
       Ametov takes a hard line:
Chytomo: So in other words, “Crimean Tatar literature” refers to prose and poetry works written in the national language. What about texts by Crimean writers who wrote in other languages ?

Mustafa Ametov: Most of the other works are in Russian. But I have not read these works and I do not want to. This is my personal point of view: everything that was published in Russian by Crimean Tatar writers was published due to the influence of Soviet propaganda on Soviet literary circles. It was either about Lenin, Stalin, or the so-called Great Patriotic War [World War II from the point of view of the USSR].

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



7 June 2024 - Friday

Griffin Poetry Prizes | Daniel Kehlmann Q & A | Cassandra review

       Griffin Poetry Prizes

       They've announced the winners of this year's Griffin Poetry Prize, with George McWhirter winning the international prize for his translation of Self-Portrait in the Zone of Silence by Homero Aridjis; see also the New Directions publicity page.
       This is a prize that rewards the translator more than the originator: "The international prize of C$130,000 is shared 60% to the translator, 40% to the original author".
       The winner was selected from 592 titles -- of which 49 were translations, from 22 languages.

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



       Daniel Kehlmann Q & A

       At hlo András Greff has a Q & A with Daniel Kehlmann: He makes a pact with the devil, but doesn't even know it -- mainly about his recent G.W.Pabst-novel, Lichtspiel. (Lichtspiel will no doubt come out in English sometime soon, but I haven't seen any announcements about the US/UK edition yet.)

       Kehlmann also admits:
I do have lots of unfinished and one finished novel that I didn't publish. I wrote it when I was 23 or so and it's not a lost masterpiece, it's a terrible, terrible book, and I hope no one ever gets to read it. My editor back then at Suhrkamp asked me, “Please don't publish this, this is terrible,” and I said, "Oh I guess you might be right," but now the whole Suhrkamp archive is in the German literature archive in Marbach, and I can't get that manuscript out of there.

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



       Cassandra review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Dramatic Poem by Lesia Ukrainka, her 1908 drama Cassandra, just out in a new translation in the Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature.

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



6 June 2024 - Thursday

Albert Camus manuscript | Premio Strega shortlist
Edgardo Cozarinsky (1939-2024)

       Albert Camus manuscript

       A handwritten manuscript of Albert Camus L'Étranger -- The Stranger/The Outsider -- was sold at auction house Tajan, Lot 97 apparently selling for €500,000 (which was on the low(est) end of the estimate). (French reports put the sales-price at €656,000, but the Tajan page says half a million .....)
       The manuscript is of particular interest because it seems to have been written (in 1944) quite a while after the book was originally published (in 1942) -- but Camus backdated it to 1940 ..... And Camus included: "14 sketches in the margins" !
       See also the full Tajan manuscript-brochure (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) -- scroll down for the English-language text -- and Angelique Chrisafis' report in The Guardian, Handwritten ‘draft’ of Albert Camus’s L’Étranger sold in Paris for €650,000.

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



       Premio Strega shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Premio Strega, the leading Italian fiction prize.
       It's an unusual prize not only in that the shortlist and then the winner are determined by a large-scale vote but that the number of votes each title receives are made public; the vote for the final six was close at the top: with 248 votes top vote-getter L’età fragile by Donatella Di Pietrantonio only came out narrowly ahead of Invernale, by Dario Voltolini, which got 243 votes.
       The winner will be announced on 4 July.

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



       Edgardo Cozarinsky (1939-2024)

       Argentine director and writer Edgardo Cozarinsky has passed away; see, for example, the Buenos Aires Herald report.
       Several of his works have been translated; Archipelago has published his Milongas; see their publicity page.
       The only one of his books under review at the complete review is Borges in/and/on Film.

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



5 June 2024 - Wednesday

Reading (by children) in the UK | Hard Copy review

       Reading (by children) in the UK

       Renaissance UK reports on their findings "as measured by the Accelerated Reader software" of 1,273,795 pupils' reading habits in the UK and Ireland, in The Book-Reading Behaviours of Pupils 2024 -- finding among other things, that:
Average Book Difficulty rose until Year 6, then plateaued until Year 9, then declined steadily thereafter, even though the older pupils should have been reading harder books. Secondary school pupils read books at almost the same difficulty level as upper primary pupils.
       The report is presented very piecemeal at the Renaissance site, but the Data Tables-appendix (warning ! dreaded pdf format !) has all the interesting numbers -- including the interesting international comparisons at the end.
       (What the kids are reading -- when they're reading ... -- is ... not entirely encouraging, either.)
       See also the summary by Lucy Knight in The Guardian, Children reading fewer, less challenging books, UK and Ireland study finds.

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



       Hard Copy review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Fien Veldman's Hard Copy -- Xerox, in the original.

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



4 June 2024 - Tuesday

Dalkey Archive checklist | Museum of Hong Kong Literature

       Dalkey Archive checklist

       At Mining the Dalkey Archive Chad Post writes about putting together a list of every book published by Dalkey Archive Press, in Who Doesn't Love a Checklist ?; see the list of 956 titles here.

       I'm hoping to catalogue my Dalkey collection (indeed, my entire collection) sometime next year; Dalkey Archive Press is certainly among the best-represented publishers in my library; I suspect I have 600 or so. And 319 Dalkey titles are currently under review at the complete review.

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



       Museum of Hong Kong Literature

       Xinhua reports that Hong Kong's first literary museum sows seed of hope and exchange, reporting on the Museum of Hong Kong Literature.

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



3 June 2024 - Monday

Mortal Leap review

       Mortal Leap review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of MacDonald Harris' 1964 novel Mortal Leap, recently re-issued by Boiler House Press in their Recovered Books-series.

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



2 June 2024 - Sunday

Salomes in June

       Salomes in June

       If you're looking to get in the mood to read my recent novel Salome in Graz there are a couple of productions of the Richard Strauss opera version you can catch in June: the Vienna State Opera is reviving theirs -- the Cyril Teste production, conducted by Philippe Jordan, with Camilla Nylund in the title role --, with performances on the 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th, and the Houston Symphony is putting on a concert version on the 7th and 9th, with Jennifer Holloway as Salome. (There's something to be said -- so also by the protagonists of my novel ... -- for the concert-version, without the distractions of all the acting-out of the scenes .....)

       The Vienna State Opera information page has a rather basic 'Nice to Know'-feature (scroll down), where they note Gustav Mahler's enthusiasm for the work, and that he:
wanted to bring the work to the Vienna Court Opera. But the censors thwarted his plans and banned the opera due to »moral« concerns. It was not until 1918 that Salome celebrated its premiere at the Vienna State Opera.
       But no mention that when it couldn't be staged at the leading Viennese opera house they performed it in Graz -- the production that gives my novel its title --, with Mahler in attendance ! (The story behind the difficulties in getting permission to stage it are also discussed some in the novel; Wilde's play, which the opera is based on, of course faced similar difficulties: a good part of the 'Salome'-story involves not only how it was presented but often how it was not presented, one of the many aspects of the treatment of the Salome-story over the centuries which my novel gets into .....)

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



1 June 2024 - Saturday

Paul Theroux Q & A | John Burnside (1955-2024)
Gender bias in men's reading habits

       Paul Theroux Q & A

       At The Collidescope George Salis has a Q & A with the Burma Sahib-author, in The Grit That Makes the Pearl: An Interview With Paul Theroux.
       Among his responses:
GS: What novel do you think deserves more readers ? Why ?

PT: I love Madam[e] Bovary. It has tons of admirers, of course, but needs more, as all great novels do. A vastly underrated or overlooked writer is the English novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Taylor -- maybe it’s her name. I think she’s wonderful.

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



       John Burnside (1955-2024)

       English poet and author John Burnside has passed away; see, for example, the obituary in The Guardian.
       The only one of his works under review at the complete review is The Dumb House.

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



       Gender bias in men's reading habits

       The Women's Prize Trust reports on new research they've commissioned, finding, sadly but probably unsurprisingly, that: "men overwhelmingly reject books written by women in favour of male authors"; see their press release, Gender bias in men’s reading habits still exists.
       UK data shows:
Just one of the top 20 bestselling female writers of fiction and non-fiction in 2023 was purchased mainly by men – Harper Lee – whereas seven of the top 20 bestselling male writers of fiction and non-fiction in 2023 were purchased mainly by women
       The complete review remains ridiculously gender-imbalanced; there is certainly no conscious bias against women writers but obviously something is at work here; the historic imbalance of what gets translated surely plays a significant role (but doesn't seem sufficient to explain it all). (This has improved greatly in recent years -- many more books by women are being translated --, but the trickle-down effect to the site has been slow.)
       Over the past three months books by Iris Murdoch, Elisa Shua Dusapin, Kate Briggs, Iman Mersal, George Sand, Amélie Nothomb, Scarlett Thomas, Kay Dick, Simone Weil, and Jane Ellen Harrison -- among other women -- have been reviewed at the site; that seems like a pretty good spread of women authors to me -- but, yes, books by men still dominate .....

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



go to archive

- return to top of the page -


© 2024 the complete review

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