Paul Willems at the Complete Review

October 25th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


At his site the Complete Review, Michael Orthofer writes of Paul Willems’ “small collection [of] nice pieces” The Cathedral of Mist from Wakefield Press:

Willems’ precisely written pieces suggest he too felt ‘condemned to perfection’ — even if he did not face death in failure…

The pieces in The Cathedral of Mist are beautifully crafted, and very evocative, taking unusual turns with a natural ease that separates Willem from writers who much more willfully embrace the strange.

Thank you!



On Residency at the Chalet Mauriac

October 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

chalet mauriac

For almost four wonderful weeks in late October and early November I was at the Chalet Mauriac, former summer home of the Nobel laureate’s family, and now lovingly restored by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region which, in partnership with the organization ÉCLA (Écrit-Cinéma-Livre-Audiovisuel), runs a residency welcoming translators as well as visual artists, filmmakers, and writers of all sorts (poets, novelists, comics creators, YA authors). Other residents during my time there included Heli Allik, an Estonian translator working on Céline, and Parisian filmmaker Lucie Borleteau with her screenwriter Clara Bourreau.


The Chalet is located at the edge of the village of Saint-Symphorien, on wooded grounds—when I was there, in full autumn conflagration—crisscrossed by trails and adjoining the Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park.


Alain Herman, the regionally appointed curator, proved a font of knowledge regarding the history of the grounds and house, while head housekeeper Chantal Durros was a delightful and solicitous—awful of me, but I couldn’t help thinking of Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts. Photos of past residents lined the inside, of approximately original ornament (tiles, wainscoting) and completely modern furniture, and when I peered out from under the fretted gables I felt a little like M. Hulot on holiday, though tramping back from town at night on matted leaves through unlighted woods, I felt more like I was in a home invasion movie, or as the Lucie and Clara put it, “guests in the mansion from Cluedo.”


During my time there, I was interviewed for the online newsletter Éclairs by Nathalie André upon arrival and Olivier Desmettre upon departure, and in between enjoyed a complimentary photo session with photographer Quitterie de Fomervault-Bernard (we trekked into the forest for the light). I left the day after the election, the mood in the plane subdued as chastened fellow citizens flew home to uncertain times.


OUT NOW: Vigilantes, Vol. 2, First Blood

October 20th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Vigilantes 2

Stephen King meets superheroes in this heartfelt French tribute to such Americana as small towns, summer camp, kid friendship, and lasting loyalties. A ragtag group of pals reunites in middle age to save the world from a former child molester now turned political power broker. Vigilantes is written by Jean-Charles Gaudin, with art by Riccardo Crosa. The story continues in this second volume, First Blood, now available as a digital exclusive from Soleil at Comixology.

OUT NOW: French comics giant Edmond Baudoin debuts in English with Dalí

October 19th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


To the shame of the Anglophone comics world, French alt-BD giant Edmond Baudoin, a father figure to the current generation of indie cartoonists, has never been translated into English… until now! Baudoin’s sumptuous bio of Salvador Dalí dropped from SelfMadeHero earlier this month, just beating to the presses Taschen’s imminent and much ballyhooed holiday reissue of that cult-classic-cum-cookbook, Dalí’s Les Dîners de Gala. A master of one medium meets a master of the twentieth century in this special commission from the Centre Pompidou, in concert with their 2012 retrospective on the artist. Jennie Bailey at Starburst Magazine says:

The magic of the surrealist artist is lovingly captured by award winning French artist and writer Edmond Baudoin and translated by Edward Gauvin. Baudoin’s approach to Dalí is in itself Dalíesque: self-referential asides and surreal art and ink accompany Dalí’s biography…  This English translation is a fantastic addition to the Arts Masters series and will sit happily with current publications on Munch, Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt. It will be great to see what SelfMadeHero publish next, they are definitely a publisher to keep your beady eye on.

New in Blog and Sidebar

October 18th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


In the sidebar, I’ve updated the Forthcoming projects page to reflect titles for 2017 and beyond. 2016 saw the release of three books of prose fiction: in January, Melville House released Serge Brussolo’s dreamlike science fiction noir The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome, in July, Wakefield Press published Belgian fabulist Paul Willems’ somber and wistful story collection The Cathedral of Mist, and in September, Dalkey Archive came out with Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s novel Naked, the last of his “Marie” tetralogy.

Plus, there were countless comics coming and going every month, digital and print, which I’ll be better about keeping up with and blogging about here. In order to do so, I’m starting a series called Comics Monday. First thing every Monday, I’ll post about a graphic novel I’ve translated, starting with ones from within the last year; I’ve quite a backlog. What better way to kick off the week than with news of good comics?

I’ve also added a new page dedicated to the monthly Eurocomics podcast I now co-host with Dr. Professor Derek Royal at The Comics Alternative. I will post links and cover thumbnails for all our monthly podcast reviews of comics old and new, starting with July 2016’s inaugural episode.

Comics Monday: Cyril Pedrosa’s Hearts at Sea

October 17th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

hearts at sea pedrosa

NBM recently published Cyril Pedrosa‘s Equinoxes, which Scott McCloud called “an impressive feast of a book.” The former Disney animator debuted in the US back in 2008 from First Second with the fantastical saga of fatherly love, Three Shadows, which has been well-reviewed and widely read over the years. I was lucky enough to translate that and a more recent digital-only release of another older work from Pedrosa, Hearts at Sea. This EuropeComics release follows on their earlier release of his equally lovely and emotionally attentive, somewhat autobiographical Portugal. EuropeComics books are available on Amazon, Google Play, and Kobo.

If you were lucky enough to catch him, Pedrosa just wrapped a US tour last month. Here’s an interview by Chris Oatley in English with Pedrosa.


Eurocomics Podcast: October Edition

October 16th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


I’ve yet to do a proper introduction (for shame!), but this is the fourth month I’ve been co-hosting a podcast on comics in translation from Europe (and elsewhere: to wit, Latin America) with the estimable Dr. Professor Derek Royal of The Comics Alternative. In October’s episode, we cover two graphic novels by the writer Fabien Nury, whose four-part historical adventure Of Blood and Gold from Glénat I translated last year (available on Amazon and iTunes).


The first I Am Legion, is a collaboration with star artist John Cassaday, well-known to American readers for his work on Planetary, Star Wars, and Joss Whedon’s X-Men run. A WWII alternate history involving vampires, it reminds me in its historical specificity of the work of Tim Powers. Published by Humanoids in France and the U.S., it’s widely available, including at a 30% off from our kind podcast sponsor Discount Comic Book Service.

The other, a personal favorite from the past few years, features art by the awesome Brüno, with his uniquely chunky and expressive style. A contemporary noir called Tyler Cross, it’s kind of like if Hammett’s Continental Op went to Jim Thompson’s West Texas. One of my favorite scenes is a few pages of narration during a prison break from the POV of a caged rattlesnake, with the violent action is reflected in its eye. It sounds over the top, but it works. First serialized in B&W in the digital comics revue Professeur Cyclope, Book 1: Black Rock went on to launch a series of which Book 2, Angola, is out now. Brüno’s art definitely deserves more American exposure. The official colorized version is widely available, digital only, on iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, and Comixology, where both volumes are a steal at under a dollar.


OUT NOW: Paul Willems’ The Cathedral of Mist

October 15th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


In continuing coverage of things you might have missed this summer (when this blog lay sadly dormant while I was too busy to update), July saw the release of Belgian fabulist Paul Willems’ darkly lovely and delicate late-life story collection, The Cathedral of Mist, from Wakefield Press.

willems head

Illus. by Marc Lowenthal

Paul Willems (1912-1997) belongs to the final generation of great Francophone Belgian fabulists of Flemish descent. Four novels and two story collections bracket his career as a playwright, for which he was best known in his lifetime.

He published his first novel, Everything Here is Real, in 1941.

Donald Friedman’s translation of his late novella The Drowned Land was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award and published with Suzanne Burgoyne’s translation of his play La Vita Brève in an edition from Peter Lang in 1994.

Some stories from this collection may be previewed in these fine publications:

  • “The Horse’s Eye” in Tin House #50: Beauty (2011)
  • “The Colors of the World” in Scheherezade’s Bequest #15 (2012)
  • “Cherepish” in Subtropics #13 (2012)
  • “The Cathedral of Mist” in Tin House #58: Winter Reading (2013)
  • “Requiem for Bread” at The Open Bar, Tin House’s blog

Willems’ delicate original fairytale “The Colors of the World” (not in the forthcoming collection) was published in in Scheherezade’s Bequest #15 (2012) and podcast in 2013 at Podcastle, read aloud by Marguerite Croft.

Listen to Fiction by Laurent Queyssi at Starship Sofa!

October 14th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


For those of you who might have missed it over the summer, the science fiction podcast StarShipSofa ran a Translations Special Month in July, Week 2 of which featured my translation of Laurent Queyssi’s “Sense of Wonder 2.0,” first published in Issue #2 of The New Accelerator.

In an interview at Rachel Cordasco’s site Speculative Fiction in Translation, Fiction Editor Jeremy Szal says that “Queyssi’s trangressive A Clockwork Orange-esque tale about a dystopian future of product-placement and violence hooked into my gut and wouldn’t let go until the very end. It was an easy acceptance.”

The story is narrated by, Rock Manor a featured voice performer on such podcasts as The NoSleep Podcast, Pseudopod and Tales To Terrify. He is the producer of Manor House hosted by The Phantom Collector, the horror audio-anthology series featured on both iTunes and YouTube. Visit his website at




COMING THIS FALL: Conjunctions #67, Other Aliens

October 13th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

conjunctions 67

The science fiction issue of Bard College’s venerable literary mainstay Conjunctions, guest-edited by Elizabeth Hand, features my translation of “Cartoon” by Belgian fabulist Jean Muno, lately featured at The Missing Slate and in Year’s Best Weird Fiction Vol. 2 from Undertow Books, edited by Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly.

This issue boasts an all-star lineup: stories by Leena Krohn (translated by Eva Buchwald), Jeffrey Ford, Lavie Tidhar, Paul Park, Peter Straub, Joyce Carol Oates, James Morrow, plus Brian Evenson interviewing Samuel Delany, Elizabeth Hand interviewing Kelly Link, John Clute in conversation with John Crowley, and exclusive web content from Charlie Jane Anders.

Go pre-order your copy today! Or better yet, subscribe to Conjunctions, one of America’s finest literary magazines.


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