I have to say, it’s perfect that Murakami does translation in the afternoon to relax after a morning of writing.
Murakami of course knows that he needs to be translated in order to be read widely. He is very conscious of the power of translation, being himself one of Japan’s most important translators of American literature. He has long collaborated with Motoyuki Shibata, a well-known professor of English literature at the University of Tokyo, who has his own flourishing career as a translator. Of course, both men are admired as great stylists in Japanese, and that attracts . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice piece on The Wallcreeper by Jonathon Sturgeon.
Also, before I get to the blockquote, how awful is it that currently the only Amazon review of this book is a one-star review by someone identifying as “Chris Roberts, God,” which includes the nonsensical line ” A blurb from a famous writer will not capitulate your book…” as well as the always-obnoxious “The author’s prose is not reader friendly…” Please, somebody do something to change that.
Anyway, onto Jonathon’s piece:
Not much is known about Nell Zink: this much is confirmed by the scant publicity materials and . . . continue reading, and add your comments
My review of Lila by Marilynne Robinson runs this weekend at the San Francisco Chronicle.
The genteel genre of the newspaper review doesn’t really permit me to say these sorts of things, so this is one of the things that a blog is for: READ MARILYNNE ROBINSON!!!!! Really. I am quite convinced that she is one of the great American thinkers of her generation. Read the novels (duh) and read the essays too. Taken together, they are a remarkable body of work, a deep and satisfying examination of the American project—spirituality, as we understand it, and . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Ready to Burst sounds astonishing. John Taylor:
Besides its storytelling aspects, Ready to Burst is therefore a kind of manifesto for spiralism. But I would suggest that the spiralist narrative “form” of the novel is less original than the spiralist philosophical “contents.” In this latter respect, Frankétienne’s provocative ideas, inserted rather often into the multilayered narrative, can be contrasted to similar ones developed in essays written by the poet and novelist Édouard Glissant (1928-2011) and the novelist Patrick Chamoiseau (b. 1953), both from the island of Martinique. In Kaiama L. Glover’s own elucidating article, “Spiralisme in . . . continue reading, and add your comments
John Banville on Volume 3:
These were the years of Beckett’s triumph and burgeoning worldwide fame as a dramatist, and he was kept busy fielding inquiries from producers, directors and actors, and even more busy trying to control, down to the last, tiniest detail, the manner in which the plays would be staged. This well-nigh obsessive quest for perfection, as he saw it, is admirable, but it serves to remind us of the fact that Beckett came late to the theatre, that he regarded fiction as his real work – he described the plays as footnotes . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Tim Parks has an interesting enough new posting at the NYR Blog, but I think he’s missing the point a bit. His argument is that what societies “get” out of books is conversation.
What I’m asking is, what’s in it for society as a whole, or at least for that part of society that reads novels?
Conversation. A shared subject of discussion. Something complex for minds to meet around. This is particularly the case when we’re talking to people we don’t know well, people we meet, as it were, socially. This is particularly the case when we’re . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Fascinating interview with Simon Critchley. If you haven’t heard me say it before, read his books.
The other night I was reading a piece on Michael Jackson, which quoted him as having said, “Deep inside I feel that this world we live in is really a big, huge, monumental symphonic orchestra. I believe that in its primordial form, all of creation is sound and that it’s not just random sound, that it’s music.” You seem to fight against this romantic conception of the world and of art. You write, “Music like Bowie’s is not a way of . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I’m definitely overdue for some Can Xue.
The best descriptor for Can Xue’s latest novel, The Last Lover, is that it is unlike, well, anything else. The Beijing-based author calls her fiction “soul literature.” It probably sounds audacious; it’s more audacious than it sounds. Nor does she shy away from what the term implies about the stakes of the numerous short stories and several novels she has published since the 1980s. Her “stereoscopic stories” are not just one more postmodernist innovation in narrative; the cognitive adjustment they require from readers, she says in a 2010 interview, is . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Dan Green on The Sea-God’s Herb: Reviews and Essays:
Domini frames his argument by beginning with an essay from 2010, “Against the ‘Impossible to Explain,’” that makes a more general case that literary criticism “just hasn’t been doing its job” in grappling with adventurous fiction, either largely ignoring it or repeating the canard that it is too far removed from readers’ common experience. The latter complaint seems especially objectionable to Domini, who uses the bulk of the essay to look at the work of three writers who exemplify his contention that postmodern fiction does have “a . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Open Letter Books’ tribute to Michael Henry Heim, The Man Between: Michael Henry Heim and a Life in Translation, looks like a really fantastic book.
The Man Between is, as Sean Cotter writes in his Introduction, “not a Festschrift, but a conversation”, with and about eminent translator Michael Henry Heim (who passed away in 2012). The polyglot Heim translated from German, French, and a variety of eastern European languages, but was also an important figure in the teaching of translation, and in working towards a better understanding of its significance, both in the academy and outside; . . . continue reading, and add your comments