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


12 June 2021 - Saturday

Pulitzer Prizes | Forthcoming Soyinka

       Pulitzer Prizes

       They've announced this year's Pulitzer Prizes.

       The fiction prize went to The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich; see also the publicity pages from Harper Perennial and Corsair, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       The other finalists were: A Registry of My Passage upon the Earth by Daniel Mason and Telephone by Percival Everett.

       The Criticism prize went to Wesley Morris, for: "unrelentingly relevant and deeply engaged criticism on the intersection of race and culture in America, written in a singular style, alternately playful and profound". No literary critics were among the finalists.

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



       Forthcoming Soyinka

       US/UK publication of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka's novel Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth -- "his first novel in almost 50 years" -- is due in September, and in Publishers Weekly Louisa Ermelino previews that and profiles the author, in Wole Soyinka Returns.
       I'm looking forward to this one; meanwhile, see the publicity pages from Pantheon and Bloomsbury, or pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



11 June 2021 - Friday

Premio Strega finalists | Joseph-Breitbach-Preis
Friedrich Dürrenmatt under surveillance | Potsdamer Platz review

       Premio Strega finalists

       They've announced the five finalists -- with vote totals ! -- for the Premio Strega, the leading Italian fiction prize.
       The winner will be announced 8 July.

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



       Joseph-Breitbach-Preis

       They've announced the winner of this year's Joseph Breitbach Prize, a €50,000 author-prize honoring a German-writing author's entire output, in any genres, and it is Karl-Heinz Ott.
       Previous winners include Jenny Erpenbeck (2013) and Arno Geiger (2018); in banner year 2000 the prize was shared by Ilse Aichinger, W.G. Sebald, and Markus Werner.

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



       Friedrich Dürrenmatt under surveillance

       As swissinfo.ch summarizes, Swiss secret service spied on Dürrenmatt.
       Okay, apparently: "The Swiss federal police ended up collecting information on more than 800,000 people – every 20th Swiss citizen and every third foreigner – suspected of “unSwiss” behaviour during the Cold War". Still .....

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



       Potsdamer Platz review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Curt Corrinth's 1919 novel, Potsdamer Platz,or, The Nights of the New Messiah: Ecstatic Visions -- with illustrations by Paul Klee -- just out in English from Wakefield Press.

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



10 June 2021 - Thursday

Princess of Asturias Award for Literature | Wolfson History Prize
Society of Authors' Awards | The Serpent and the Rope review

       Princess of Asturias Award for Literature

       They've announced the winner of this year's Princess of Asturias Award for Literature, and it is Emmanuel Carrère; other Princess of Asturias Award-winners this year -- there are several categories -- include Gloria Steinem and Amartya Sen, with several categories still to be announced.
       Quite a few Carrère titles are under review at the complete review:        The awards ceremony usually takes place in October.
       And, yes, Leonor -- the Princess of Asturias of the awards -- is still just all of fifteen years old.

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



       Wolfson History Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's Wolfson History Prize -- "the most valuable non-fiction prize in the UK" -- and it is Black Spartacus, by Sudhir Hazareesingh.
       See the publicity pages from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Allen Lane, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Society of Authors' Awards

       The Society of Authors has announced this year's winners of their ten awards -- as well as a new award, the Volcano Prize: "for a novel which focuses on the experience of travel away from home".

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



       The Serpent and the Rope review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Raja Rao's 1960 novel, The Serpent and the Rope.

       I've actually been eager to review The Chessmaster and His Moves -- I have a copy -- but figured I should cover this one first. (The Chessmaster and His Moves is twice the length -- and hasn't received nearly as much attention.) I hope to get to it later this summer.
       (The Chessmaster and His Moves is long out of print -- and its current Amazon.com Best Sellers Rank -- 19,737,185 -- is also the lowest I think I've ever come across. But Susan Sontag's signed first edition is available at AbeBooks.com, for a reasonable US$300.00.)

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



9 June 2021 - Wednesday

PEN Pinter Prize | Premio Gregor von Rezzori

       PEN Pinter Prize

       English PEN has announced the winner of this year's PEN Pinter Prize, and it is Nervous Conditions-author Tsitsi Dangarembga.
       "The PEN Pinter Prize is awarded annually to a writer resident in Britain, the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth or former Commonwealth who, in the words of Harold Pinter’s Nobel speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world, and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination ... to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’."
       The awards ceremony will be 11 October.

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



       Premio Gregor von Rezzori

       They recently announced the winner of this year's Premio Gregor von Rezzori, honoring: "the best work of foreign fiction published in Italy" -- and it is The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste. It was one of the four finalists originally written in English, with only one other language represented (the other finalist was a translation from the French).

       There is also a separate award for the best translation into Italian, and that went to Nicola Crocetti's translation of Nikos Kazantzakis' The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. (There's an English translation of this, by Kimon Friar, which I keep meaning to get to.)

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



8 June 2021 - Tuesday

Prix Jean d'Ormesson finalists | Heaven review

       Prix Jean d'Ormesson finalists

       They've announced the five finalists for this year's prix Jean d'Ormesson -- a prize for bascially any book, new or old, the jury fancies; see, for example, the Livres Hebdo report.
       The longlist included A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and a P.G.Wodehouse; neither of those made the more contemporary shortlist -- but that does feature a Paul-Jean Toulet-novel (which Wikipedia describes as: "a sort of fin-de-siècle equivalent to Pride and Prejudice, or even Bridget Jones' Diary"). [I generally wouldn't quote a Wikipedia entry but this was impossible to resist.]
       The winner will be announced on the 17th.

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



       Heaven review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Kawakami Mieko's Heaven, just out in English -- from Europa Editions in the US and Picador in the UK.

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



7 June 2021 - Monday

Global Publishing conference | Top Graduate Zhang Xie review

       Global Publishing conference

       Over the weekend they held a fascinating-sounding 'online early career conference' on Global Publishing and the Making of Literary Worlds: Translation, Media, and Mobility.
       Quite a few events of interest on the programme -- and fortunately you can catch up with several of them on YouTube. Over seven hours' worth of material -- including Jhumpa Lahiri's keynote address, Three Faces of Translation.

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



       Top Graduate Zhang Xie review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of The Earliest Extant Chinese Southern Play, Top Graduate Zhang Xie, just out from Columbia University Press.

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



6 June 2021 - Sunday

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library
Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards shortlists

       Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library

       The Mid-Manhattan Library, by far the largest open stacks/circulating branch in the New York Public Library system, was a favorite haunt when I lived in New York City -- though over the past decade or so it had been in some decline as they began reärranging things. Finally, they went for the complete overhaul -- right down to the name: it's now the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, and after three years it's apparently more or less finished and they are well into their "phased reopening".
       It looks well worth a visit -- and at Curbed Justin Davidson has a good overview, in Look ! Books ! The Tired Old Mid-Manhattan Library Gets a Crisp New Identity.
       I look forward to having a look.

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



       Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards shortlists

       The South African Sunday Times Literary Awards are now the Sunday Times/CNA Literary Awards -- and they've now announced the shortlists for this year's awards in the two categories, fiction and non.
       (I missed the longlist announcement, but check it out here.)

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



5 June 2021 - Saturday

Friederike Mayröcker (1924-2021) | Solomon's Vineyard review

       Friederike Mayröcker (1924-2021)

       Austrian author Friederike Mayröcker has passed away; see, for example, A.J. Goldmann's obituary in The New York Times, Friederike Mayröcker, Grande Dame in German Literature, Dies at 96.
       As Goldmann notes, her output was impressive:
A 2003 edition of her collected poems, published by Suhrkamp, holds more than 1,000 pieces. Her prose works run to more than 20 volumes
       She didn't slow down with age, either: her da ich morgens und moosgrün. Ans Fenster trete was a finalist for this year's Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse.
       Several of her books have been published in English by Seagull -- with more to come --, while A Public Space Books just recently brought out her The Communicating Vessels; see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
       See also the Suhrkamp foreign rights information page.

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



       Solomon's Vineyard review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Jonathan Latimer's notorious 1941 novel, Solomon's Vineyard -- "Banned in the United States until the 1980s", as the back cover copy of my edition has it. (A bowdlerized version was published in the US before then; meanwhile, the Brits didn't seem to have much of an issue with it.)

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



4 June 2021 - Friday

Премия "Национальный бестселлер" | James Brockway Prize

       Премия "Национальный бестселлер"

       They've announced the winner of this year's 'NatsBest' -- 'National Bestseller' -- prize, a leading Russian literary prize, and it is Покров-17, by Alexander Pelevin; see also, for example, Galina Stolyarova's report in The Moscow Times, The 2021 Russian National Bestseller Award Goes to Alexander Pelevin.

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



       James Brockway Prize

       The Dutch Foundation for Literature has announced the winner of this year's James Brockway Prize, an: "œuvre prize for translators of Dutch-language poetry" (into any language), and it is David Colmer.
       Several of his translations of prose-works are under review at the complete review, but only one volume of poetry: Hugo Claus' Even Now.

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



3 June 2021 - Thursday

International Booker Prize | Caine Prize shortlist | Sevastopol review

       International Booker Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's International Booker Prize, and it is At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated by Anna Moschovakis.

       (Updated - 4 June): See now also Sian Bayley's report at The Bookseller that Pushkin orders five-figure reprint of Diop's International Booker winner.

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



       Caine Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's AKO Caine Prize for African Writing, "awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words)". (Works originally written in other languages are eligible but, sigh, rarely make the cut; none did this year.)
       There are five shortlisted stories; you can find links to each of them -- in the dreaded pdf format -- on the press release page.
       The winner will be announced next month.

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



       Sevastopol review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Emilio Fraia's story-collection, Sevastopol; New Directions is bringing this out in the US, and lolli editions is in the UK.

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



2 June 2021 - Wednesday

EBRD Literature Prize | Governor General's Literary Awards
Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist | The Woman in the Purple Skirt review

       EBRD Literature Prize

       They've announced the winner of this year's EBRD Literature Prize, a: '€20,000 prize awarded to the best work of literary fiction originally written in a language from one of these countries [where the Bank invests], which has been translated into English and published by a UK or a Europe-based publisher', and it is The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, translated by Sean Gasper Bye.
       It was published by Amazon Crossing -- another notch for them, the publisher that brings out more works translated into English than any other .....
       Get your copy from ... well, of course, Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Governor General's Literary Awards

       The Canada Council for the Arts has announced last year's Governor General's Literary Awards, in all 14 categories, seven each in English and in French.
       Yes, these are last year's awards -- those for 2020 --; this year's awards wil be announced later this year .....
       The fiction winners were: Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good (English), and Chasse à l'homme, by Sophie Létourneau (French).
       And one of the winners is actually under review at the complete review: Norma Jeane Baker of Troy by Anne Carson, the winner in the (English) poetry category.

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



       Desmond Elliott Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Desmond Elliott Prize, awarded to the most outstanding first novel written in English and published in the UK.
       The winner will be announced 1 July.

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



       The Woman in the Purple Skirt review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Imamura Natsuko's Akutagawa Prize-winning The Woman in the Purple Skirt, just out in English.

       I'm amazed by the number of Akutagawa-winners that US/UK publishers have published in recent years (and how many of those I've reviewed ...) -- and wonder whether publishers aren't relying a bit too much on this particular stamp of approval.

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



1 June 2021 - Tuesday

Cankarjeva nagrada | International Booker Prize translators Q & A

       Cankarjeva nagrada

       They've announced the winner of this year's Cankar Prize, a relatively new Slovenian prize for the best original literature published over the past year, and it is Škrbine, by Gašper Kralj; see also the STA report at Total Slovenia News.
       See also the Založba /*cf. publicity page for Škrbine.

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



       International Booker Prize translators Q & A

       The winner of this year's International Booker Prize will be announced tomorrow, and at PEN Transmissions Maureen Freely leads A Roundtable with the International Booker Prize Shortlisted Translators -- Martin Aitken, Sasha Dugdale, Megan McDowell, Anna Moschovakis, Mark Polizzotti, and Adrian Nathan West.
       A great way to prepare yourself for the prize-announcement !

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



31 May 2021 - Monday

die verbesserung von mitteleuropa in translation
Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist | The Book of Travels review

       die verbesserung von mitteleuropa in translation

       Oswald Wiener was a member of the Wiener Gruppe (Vienna Group), and his 1969 novel die verbesserung von mitteleuropa was the most substantial of the group members' attempts to both explore and marry theory and form. This novel (cum anti-novel) is a landmark text -- not least for its early, serious engagement with cybernetics --, albeit one of those that is not widely read. I've long been fascinated by it -- I almost wrote my college honors thesis on it -- but only finally acquired a personal copy earlier this year, the recent Jung and Jung re-issue; see their publicity page. (Until then I always had to rely on library copies; I was very excited to get my own copy.)
       The text poses considerable challenges to any would-be translator and so, for example, it has never been translated into English (though how Dalkey Archive Press haven't picked this up yet is beyond me -- it is about as Dalkey as literary texts get). Recently The Momentist published Nathaniel McBride's translation of part of the novel, 'appendix A' -- offering an interesting if not entirely representative sample -- and that's at least a start, but there's a lot more to it.
       Impressively, however, a full translation has just appeared -- Nicola Cipani's Italian translation, il miglioramento della mitteleuropa, which is also extensively annotated and includes a lengthy : "Note per la teoria di un ', romanzo'" by Cipani. (The real/full title of the work is: die verbesserung von mitteleuropa, roman ('the improvement of central europe, novel') and the translation is also properly presented as: il miglioramento della mitteleuropa, romanzo; that ", novel" designation is a significant element in (and in the consideration of) the novel.)
       I'm lucky enough to have now gotten a copy of il miglioramento della mitteleuropa, too, and can tell you that the il verri edition looks great; if you're more comfortable reading Italian than German I strongly recommend you have a look (get your copy at Amazon.it). I also hope the Italian critics are paying attention, and that this gets the attention it deserves; there can't be many more significant translations appearing in Italian this year.
       Among my summer ambitions is to finally post a review of die verbesserung von mitteleuropa, and though my Italian is limited I can see that this translation/edition will be a useful complement in considering this multifaceted work.

       For some more information, see also this (English) interview with Wiener by Hans-Christian Dany at Spike, as well as this (German) Q & A at Falter (click on "weiterlesen" under 'Falter-Rezension'). Among the fun titbits from the Falter interview: Wiener got DM 1000 advances from both Luchterhand and Suhrkamp -- which he never paid back -- but published the book with the more sympatico Rowohlt (no doubt in no small part because: "we quickly found ourselves in agreement that we didn't need an editor"). Impressively, also: the book quickly sold 6000 copies.
       Reviewing it in the TLS (25/9/1969) John Neves finds: "the reader's attention is retained by the tension between the scholar's style and apparatus on the one hand, and the unpredictable leaps and bounds of the 'open form' on the other". (However, in another TLS review (11/6/1976), of another book, Peter Labanyi basically denounces it as: "a terroristic text" and (surely contemptuously) calls it an: "auto-destructive 'novel'") Note also that the generally very reliable The Modern Novel, offering one of the few other English-language reviews of it, was clearly decidedly underwhelmed (in what is, however, also a very short review for him).

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



       Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize shortlist

       They've announced the shortlist for this year's Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction, six titles selected from 81 submissions; see, for example, the British Comedy Guide report, Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction 2021 shortlist revealed.
       I haven't seen any of these but could certainly use a dose of comic fiction, so maybe I'll try to have a look.
       The winner will be announced 23 June.

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



       The Book of Travels review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Ḥannā Diyāb's eighteenth century The Book of Travels, a two-volume bilingual set just out from NYU Press in their Library of Arabic Literature-series.

       It also has an Afterword by Paulo Lemos Horta -- who also told the fascinating story of Diyāb and the Secret Authors of the Arabian Nights in his Marvellous Thieves.

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



30 May 2021 - Sunday

Krasznahorkai László Q & A | Paolo Maurensig (1943-2021)

       Krasznahorkai László Q & A

       At hlo Márton Jankovics has a two-part Q & A with László Krasznahorkai: "Before you call me an elitist, let me call myself one"; see parts one and two.
       Much of the discussion touches on Krasznahorkai's most recent work, Herscht 07769; see also the Magvető Kiadó publicity page. Ottilie Mulzet has tweeted that New Directions will be publishing her translation of it; no word yet when we can expect that.
       In the Q & A, Krasznahorkai suggests:
I could also say, it's one of my favourite platitudes, I am the unanointed chronicler of a period in which high culture has permanently disappeared.
       He also reveals:
In my own case nothing has a literary form. I regard my own literature expressly as description. I don't belong to those writers who feel that they're inventing and writing a story in which they control things.

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



       Paolo Maurensig (1943-2021)

       Italian author Paolo Maurensig, best-known for his novels The Lüneburg Variation and Canone Inverso, has passed away; see, for example, the ANSA.it report.

       Two of his novels are under review at the complete review: A Devil Comes to Town and Game of the Gods.

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



29 May 2021 - Saturday

Preise der Leipziger Buchmesse | Orwell Prizes shortlists
Franz Kafka at the National Library of Israel

       Preise der Leipziger Buchmesse

       They've announced the winners of this year's Leipzig Book Prizes, one of the leading German book prizes, awarded in three categories: fiction, non, and translation; see also the (English) report at Deutsche Welle.
       Echos Kammern, by Iris Hanika, won the fiction prize; see also the Droschl foreign rights page.
       Timea Tankó's translation of Szentkuthy Miklós' Marginalia on Casanova won the translation prize.

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



       Orwell Prizes shortlists

       They've announced the shortlists for this years Orwell Prizes, including for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction.
       The winners will be announced on 25 June.

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



       Franz Kafka at the National Library of Israel

       The National Library of Israel has now made much of their extensive collection of Franz Kafka-material -- including manuscripts, letters, and drawings -- available online. Well worth checking out.
       See also Ruth Fraňková's report at Radio Prague International, Franz Kafka's never-before-seen manuscripts and drawings go online.
       And for the story behind how some of this stuff wound up at the NLI, see Benjamin Balint's Kafka's Last Trial.

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



28 May 2021 - Friday

Cambridge Greek Lexicon | Mrs. Murakami's Garden review

       Cambridge Greek Lexicon

       The new two-volume Cambridge Greek Lexicon is out and, as Alison Flood reports in The Guardian, this First English dictionary of ancient Greek since Victorian era 'spares no blushes' -- and: "Antiquated and offensive language also gets a makeover"
       I'm lucky enough to have the Oxford University Press Liddell-Scott -- see their publicity page -- and find it invaluable -- but the Cambridge Greek Lexicon certainly also sounds like it would be useful ..... Certainly something to consider .....
       See also the Cambridge University Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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



       Mrs. Murakami's Garden review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mario Bellatin's Mrs. Murakami's Garden, recently out from Deep Vellum.

       (No relation to Haruki -- or Ryū, for that matter --, in case you're wondering.)

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



27 May 2021 - Thursday

Dürrenmatt's Das Stoffe-Projekt | Charles R. Larson (1938-2021)
Ross Benjamin Q & A | Greed review

       Dürrenmatt's Das Stoffe-Projekt

       They're celebrating Friedrich Dürrenmatt's centenary, and among the new publications out in conjunction with this is a five-volume, 2208 page 'textgenetic edition' of his Das Stoffe-Projekt; see also the (German) Diogenes publicity page, as well as their (English) foreign rights page (where they title it 'Subject Matter').
       I read many of these when selections came out in paperback over the years, and it's fascinating stuff; I'd certainly love to see this (sigh, €400) set. (Get your copy at Amazon.de.)
       Impressively, there's an expanded online-version to go with it -- and this e-Das Stoffe-Projekt, launched yesterday, is just a marvel. There are apparently 30,000 (!) pages available, as well as other material; see also the Swiss National Library press release. Perusing this online is, of course, a pain -- but at least it's there, freely accessible, and that's fantastic.

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



       Charles R. Larson (1938-2021)

       African-literature scholar Charles R. Larson -- not to be confused with the admiral of the same name -- has passed away; see, for example, Emily Langer's obituary in The Washington Post.
       He was a major figure in bringing African literature to the attention of readers abroad -- though his work was not limited to that. In recent years, I've always enjoyed his book reviews at CounterPunch. He also wrote several novels, though the only work of his under review at the complete review is his The Ordeal of the African Writer.
       See also the inventory of his papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

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



       Ross Benjamin Q & A

       At the Asymptote weblog Eric Trump has a Q & A: Perpetuating the Original in Translation: An Interview with Ross Benjamin.
       Benjamin's translation of Franz Kafka's diaries -- "in their full, uncensored form" -- will be published by Schocken in 2022; certainly something to look forward to.

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



       Greed review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek's 2000 novel, Greed.

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



26 May 2021 - Wednesday

Murakami Q & A | International Prize for Arabic Fiction | Sophie Kerr Prize

       Murakami Q & A

       At InsideHook "Sean Wilsey chats with the prolific novelist about music, racism and a writing process that never stops evolving", in My Conversation With Haruki Murakami Never Really Ends.

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



       International Prize for Arabic Fiction

       They've announced the winner of this year's International Prize for Arabic Fiction, and it is دفاتر الورّاق ('Notebooks of the Bookseller') by Jalal Barjas.
       As they note: "In addition to being awarded USD $50,000, funding will be provided for the English translation of Notebooks of the Bookseller", so we should be able to see this in English in a few years.

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



       Sophie Kerr Prize

       Washington College has announced the winner of this year's Sophie Kerr Prize -- the largest American undergraduate literary prize, paying out, this year, US$65,580 -- and it is Justin Thomas Nash.
       His portfolio, Prestidigitate, examined: "travel, childhood, and conceit through manipulated address and formal play".
       See also the earlier announcement of the six finalists.

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



25 May 2021 - Tuesday

Bookselling in ... Pakistan | Sawiris Cultural Awards

       Bookselling in ... Pakistan

       At Scroll.in Aisha Sarwari reports that Not many people read books in Pakistan. How then are the bookshops coping with the pandemic ?
       Kind of a harsh appraisal of reading in Pakistan -- "In a country like Pakistan, where books are considered a frivolous expense, and where a book-reading culture seems to have eluded the general population" ... -- but, on the other hand, apparently:
“Eventually, every book ends up in Pakistan,” said [Najam] Sethi. “Sooner or later.” It is not just that the price of books on average is lower in Pakistan, but that they are 30%-40% lower than their actual value. “Pakistan qualifies for special terms in the international book buying industry.”
       So there's that .....

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



       Sawiris Cultural Awards

       The Egyptian Sawiris Foundation for Social Development recently announced the winenrs of their Sawiris Cultural Awards -- awards in twelve categories, the winners selected from 1263 submitted literary works this year.

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



24 May 2021 - Monday

French edition of Mein Kampf | The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan review

       French edition of Mein Kampf

       Fayard is publishing a new translation and annotated scholarly, critical edition of Hitler's notorious Mein Kampf -- titling the volume Historiciser le mal, and at a price that is presumably meant to ward off the ... casual reader, € 100. (To avoid any impression of profiting off the work, all profits are to go to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation.)
       The book is due out 2 June; interestingly, it does not appear to be listed at Amazon at this time.
       See the Fayard publicity page, or, for example, the report by François Paoli in Le Figaro.

       (Updated - 3 June): See now also Aurelien Breeden's report in The New York Times, Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ Gets New French Edition, With Each Lie Annotated.

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



       The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Tanguy Viel's The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan, just out in English from Dalkey Archive Press.

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



23 May 2021 - Sunday

John Steinbeck's Murder at Full Moon | To the Warm Horizon review

       John Steinbeck's Murder at Full Moon

       Widely noted already, but certainly a fun story: in The Observer Dalya Alberge reports that John Steinbeck's estate urged to let the world read his shunned werewolf novel -- Murder at Full Moon, which he hoped to publish under the pseudonym 'Peter Pym' but was rejected for publication in 1930.
       The manuscript's existence hasn't exactly been unknown -- it's mentioned in numerous works on Steinbeck, and listed in the John Steinbeck Collection inventory at the Harry Ransom Center ("Murder at Full Moon (published under pseudonym Peter Pym), bound typescript, 233pp") -- but doesn't seem to have been much read, even by scholars; it would be great to see this finally in print.
       A Professor Gavin Jones is quoted in the article, suggesting:
It’s certainly not Steinbeck the realist, but it is Steinbeck the naturalist, interested in human nature. It’s a horror potboiler, which is why I think readers would find it more interesting than a more typical Steinbeck. It’s a whole new Steinbeck -- one that predicts Californian noir detective fiction. It is an unsettling story whose atmosphere is one of fog-bound, malicious, malignant secrecy.
       He might be over-selling it but, hey, I want to see this.

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



       To the Warm Horizon review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Choi Jin-young's To the Warm Horizon, just out in English from Honford Star.

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



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