Friday Catalogs: Simon & Schuster and Counterpoint/Soft Skull Summer ’08
Simon & Schuster
First up is a book I’ve been hearing a lot about lately, The Book of Chameleons by Angolan Jose Eduardo Agualusa (available, trans. Daniel Hahn). The book received last year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and has been likened to Barges and Calvino. It involves a man who sells pasts, and the plot deals with Angola’s history. Reviews in The Complete Review and the Orlando Sentinel.
I’m heartened to see Simon & Schuster publishing a collection of short stories in . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Open Letter, the press started up by Chad Post at the University of Rochester upon his departure from the Dalkey Archive, is on the verge of publishing its first round of books. Here’s two of the first six that struck me:
The Pets (Bragi Olafsson, trans Janice Balfour, October) strikes me for two reasons: the first is that it’s translated from Icelandic, and that just seems appealing to me, probably because Iceland has always seemed like an interesting place, but also because I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an Icelandic translation; the . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Just when Francois Monti’s piece on Eric Chevillard has got me wondering about contemporary French literature, I see that Archipelago Press is publishing Small Lives by Pierre Michon (April, trans. Jody Gladding and Elizabeth DeShays). The catalog describes it as:
In Small Lives, Michon explores the act of writing through the intimate portraits of eight interconnected characters. In this evocative poetic narrative, the quest to breathe life into the stories of these individuals becomes an exploration of the author’s own voice.
I’m curious about what seems like a metafictional . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Were I stranded for a couple months with nothing but Dalkey’s spring ’08 lineup, I don’t think I’d mind. There’s really a lot of very-intriguing sounding stuff here. These are my favorites from this strong season.
First-off, Dalkey is happily giving me more of two of my favorite non-American authors. First is Jean-Philippe Toussaint, whose short comic novel Television, which reads kind of like a book Jim Jarmusch would have written, made a wonderful impression on me when Dalkey published it a couple years back. Now they are publishing Monsieur . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Columbia University is publishing a book on Sebald that sounds worth a look. Called W.G. Sebald: Image, Archive, Modernity, it looks at Sebald’s narratives with attention to "archival institutions and processes that lit at the heart of modernity"–photography, museums, libraries, and others. March
Also from Columbia is The Journey Abandoned, an unfinished and lost novel from the critic Lionel Trilling. That it’s by Trilling merits some attention, but the catalog describes it as only a "third" of a book. June
Did you know that Dubai is an expatriate, undemocratic city that’s the Gulf’s premier . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Published in hardcover last year but still worth mentioning is the paperback release of Roberto Bolaño’s Amulet. (May) If you haven’t read it yet, this is a good one to tide you over between the publication of Nazi Literature in the Americas and 2666, currently slated to come fro FSG in November. (As a sidenote, I really like what New Directions is doing with the covers to Bolaño’s paperback releases.)
As mentioned earlier on this blog, B.S. Johnson’s famous "book in a box," The Unfortunates will be published by New Directions . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Here’s what caught my attention as I browsed Soft Skull and Counterpoint’s Winter 2008 catalog.
Lydia Millett fans will be happy to know that she has a new book out, How the Dead Dream. The cover features an extreme close-up of what I think is a T. Rex face, and the book deals with a supercharged LA estate developer named T. who eventually takes a "Conradesque" journey up a tropical island river. Pubbing in January.
Counterpoint is publishing two new books from the late Donald Barthelme. Not-Knowing (February) is a book of essays and interviews. . . . continue reading, and add your comments