Music & Literature has revealed the table of contents for Issue 5, and it is pretty awesome. Have a look.
If you don’t know M&L’s deal, the idea is that they pick 3 artists/authors/musicians for each issue and create in-depth folios of writing around their work. Said folios also include original work from the subjects themselves. It’s extremely impressive to see the level of contributors and collaborators that M&L has managed to tap in just over two years of existence as a journal.
In Issue 5, the foci are Kaija Saariaho, Can Xue, and Stig Sæterbakken, the last of whom I’m contributing a rather long essay on.
The Saeterbakken portfolio also includes a number of never-before-in-English essays by Saeterbakken. I had the immense pleasure of reading them in advance (since my piece deals largely with the essays), and they are quite amazing. Whether you love Saeterbakker or are new to his work, you’re going to want to read these essays.
It’s that time of year again.
I tend to think that the speculation is pretty pointless, since it always ends up that Haruki Murakami and XXXX (the past few years it’s been Ngugi wa Thiong’o) are the odds-on favorites for about 4 months, until the last 6 hours or so, when there’s a sudden break toward the eventual winner, who is somebody nobody ever guessed would win the prize. But it’s still fun.
Laszlo Krasznahorkai is nowhere to be seen in the betting pools, which is a bit of a surprise. Surely his profile has been rising, and the increasing number of books in English would improve his chances. And with the things that are happening in Hungary these days, surely the Swedish Academy would love having him as a representative dissident.
But who the hall really knows what’s no their minds. If they just said fuck it and gave it Knausgaard, that would be pretty awesome.
One of the cool things about Cortázar is that there is still a lot of him untranslated. So you can find out that things like this exist:
Fantômas, the creation of Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre (in their 1911 novel and then dozens of sequels), was appropriated and re-imagined in the Mexican comic-books series, Fantomas, la amenaza elegante. Issue 201 of the comic book-series, La inteligencia en llamas, finds Fantomas battling a plot to destroy all the books in the world — Operation ‘Gabriel’s Sword’. Part of the story has Fantomas calling on leading intellectual lights of the day — Susan Sontag, Alberto Moravia, Octavio Paz, and Julio Cortázar — as he tries to figure out what’s going on and what can be done about it. Cortázar was given the comic by a friend, and inspired to write this short novel, integrating the comic-story into his own (as several pages and panels from the comic are used as illustrations — and, indeed, part of the story — in Cortázar’s novel).
Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires finds ‘the narrator’ (as Cortázar consistently refers to himself — he doesn’t present the story in the first person) picking up a copy of the comic at a newsstand as he rushes to catch the train back to Paris from Brussels, where he had been participating in the 1975 Second Russell Tribunal, on Repression in Brazil, Chile, and Latin America (the book includes an Appendix with the Tribunal-findings0. He’s embarrassed to be seen reading a comic book in the train, but this story of bibliocide — the large-scale destruction and disappearance of books everywhere — makes for a decent plot; still, distracted by the attractive , high-heeled woman opposite him, he only gets so far in the story before they arrive in Paris. He soon finds out the comic is more true-to-life than seems possible, getting a call from Susan Sontag when he arrives home — amusingly getting ahead of himself, as he hasn’t quite gotten to that point in the comic-book story; Sontag tells him to go on reading until he’s caught up and then call him back.
And also at 3:AM Magazine.
Nice response from Jon Baskin at The Point to AO Scott’s recent essay (and the many responses thereto).
Jon spends a good deal of his time deconstructing the fact that even though Scott opens his essay with a sweeping and provocative statement, he spends the bulk of his essay hedging on that stance and worrying about whether he can even make a statement like that.
And I think this points to two kinds of critics. You have the critics like Scott, who are very good at reacting to new books and films, and who can usually . . . continue reading, and add your comments
My piece covering two new translations of books by Marcos Giralt Torrente—Paris and Father and Son: A Lifetime—has just been published at The B&N Review.
Giralt has been one of my key discoveries of recent years, and you all should read him. He’s a Spaniard in the tradition of Marías.
In 1998 Roberto Bolaño cemented his place as a leading writer of his generation when he received the prestigious Herralde Prize for his novel The Savage Detectives. In the next year he helped to launch a career with that same Herralde Prize: Bolaño was one of five . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The latest Bolaño, reviewed at M&L.
In one of the monologues that make up the long middle section of Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, the eccentric architect Quim Font attempts a taxonomy of reading. There are books, he tells us, for when you’re happy and when you’re sad, for when you’re bored and when you’re calm. There are books for the mature, imagined as staid, proper men who frequent novels and literary magazines (“a cool-headed, mature, educated man leading a more or less healthy life”). And then there are the opposite, books for the puerile, which are . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I don’t really think poetry written for print works in the electronic format. You can make an argument that there isn’t a whole lot of loss when prose is digitized, but with poetry that argument is a lot harder to defend. (Of course, nothing should stop poets from writing poetry that plays with the limitations/enhancements of electronic media, and that would suck if it were to be printed out.)
That said, bless them for trying this hard to make poetry work on e-readers.
“The first impression you have of a poem is looking at the shape . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Here it is. If you’re the kind that doesn’t like to just jump into things, full TOC after the jump.
Continue reading Issue 37 of The Quarterly Conversation
I wonder if, given the minuscule amount of translated books published each year, but the relative regularity of a bestseller every year or so, if translations aren’t actually more likely to be bestsellers than native lit.
Cool idea. Edouard Levé would have been a fantastic participant.
A thousand trees have been planted in Nordmarka, a forest just outside Oslo, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in one hundred years time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. Tending the forest and ensuring its preservation for the 100-year duration of the artwork finds a conceptual counterpoint in the invitation extended to each writer: to conceive and produce a work in the hopes . . . continue reading, and add your comments