Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


April reads

First off, congrats to László Krasznahorkai, Ottilie Mulzet & NDP for their win of the Best Translated Book Award, well-deserved even in a strong field.

Susan Howe, The Midnight [NDP]: Her hybrid technique applied to her genealogy (especially mom) but interleaving much else, including prior work (cf review), including her Dickinson research, so now I have My Emily Dickinson queued up (now of more interest with new marginal Dickinson) ... for all she makes of 'aesthetics of erasure' there's precedent in the Chinese for the fecundity of the interstices, in language and philosophically.
Luis Chitarroni, The No Variations: Diary of an Unfinished Novel (Darren Koolman) [Dalkey]: Plagiary pastiche and parody on the headspinning Argentine lit=scene hall of mirrors. The cattiness carries over, but englishing loses much of what might distinguish the styles—I'm pretty well read in this stuff and I was left scratching my head, and so also about who this translation is supposed to be for—though I s'pose the compendium of false starts leading to some uncertain resolution does say something in itself about Argentine culture.
Laurent Seksik, The Last Days (of Stefan Zweig) (Andre Naffis-Sahely) [Pushkin]: Zweiging Zweig: not parody or pastiche, nor homage exactly, but tone-perfect replication of his technique. Now, aside from Chess Story (his best and the best on chess in literature), I'm no fan (like Mr. Waggish), and this does not incline me towards reading any of the Zweig that Pushkin Press (or more recently nyrb) have made available in English, but I respect his accomplishment, as does Seksik. (Cf current bio, older bio.)
Sergei Dovlatov, Pushkin Hills (Katherine Dovlatov) [Counterpoint]: Leningrad to the End of the Line ... also a teaser for my Pushkin project (long procrastinated: V2 of Nabokov's take on Eugene Onegin, Chas Johnston's take [yes there've been others since ...], and The Little Tragedies) (add: review).
Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, The Time Regulation Institute (Maureen Freely, Alexander Dawe) [Penguin]:OK, so, how come nary a one of the reviews mentions Dickens? (well, one in the amazone, but hey) I mean, it's not like it's not obvious (I mean like when the first part is titled "Great Expectations") ... even though hey I'm not that hot on Dickens, still, good fun, but still, I preferred A Mind at Peace, from 20yrs earlier. Cf. on the cover design (love the hour and minaret hands). Oh and by the way, there's more Turkish lit out there ...
Alberto Savinio, Signor Dido (Richard Pevear) [Counterpoint]: Newspaper bits, variable but when good very good (confused why they put his brother's artwork [Great Metaphysical Interior] on the cover rather than his own).
Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology (David Hinton) [FSG]: Not just an anthology (nor just great translation) but wrapped in the context of the development of the tradition and the aesthetic.
Rodrigo de Souza Leão, All Dogs are Blue (Zoë Perry and Stefan Tobler) [and other stories]: Asylumination from the inside.
Maggie Nelson, Bluets [wave]: As good as anticipated even not knowing what to expect. Won't spoil it for you.
Unai Elorriaga, Plants Don't Drink Coffee (Amaia Gabantxo) [archipelago]: For no, of children of all ages.
Jim Tilley, Cruising at Sixty to Seventy: poems & essay [Red Hen]: Follow-up to In Confidence (see March reads).
Gert Jonke, Homage to Czerny: Studies in Virtuoso Technique (Jean M. Snook) [dalkey]: Like Bernhard channeling Roussel. Or something. Really something. Took some getting into, but I did.
Mary Ruefle, Selected Poems [wave]: All I can say is, thanks again, Steven! (well I could say more, but


File under RTWT *

On Friday, Alex Estes described what Archipelago Books is up to (which is ten years, a hundred books, and more). Alex gets at much of what (read: who) has made Archipelago succeed, but I'd add a further point: the relation with translators is a two-way street, and the respect is reciprocated (even, or maybe even especially, during the editorial process). It not only makes for a superior product, but opens opportunities for choice offerings (and Jill Schoolman continues to demonstrate both impeccable taste and diverse range in her selection). You might say it's confirmation bias, but it's the only publisher's list I've read over half of.

Archipelago's most recent success has been in bringing Karl Ove Knausgård to an American audience, which has become steadily more appreciative as each of the six volumes has rolled out. On Thursday, Eurozine carried Anne Patterson's translation of his ruminations on writing and editors (and critics) and publishers (but no, not the publishers of translations or the translators) (whew!). (Further reading and lotsa links over to that lit chatboard.)

Go read.

* Read The Whole Thing, though Round The World Trip might also apply in this case (and it amuses me that it's the stock ticker of Twitter backwards).