H.V. Chao in Nightscript Vol. 2

October 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


nightscript 2

The witching season is upon us, Halloween is around the corner, time to order Nightscript, scrivener and editor C.M. Muller’s annual anthology of “strange and darksome” tales! Last year’s first volume won the 2015 Dark Muse award for “Best Multi-Author Collection.” This year’s harvest of twenty “haunting stories certain to enhance your autumnal dreams” features the original fiction work of one H.V. Chao no doubt familiar to readers of this site. Both volume of Nightscript are now available to purchase via PayPal for $14 (plus s&h), or you may obtain copies (in both print and e-editions) through Amazon, and Gwendolyn Kiste insightfully interviews C.M. Muller here.

Serge Brussolo in PEN America #19

October 11th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Pen America 19

Over the summer, Serge Brussolo’s novel The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome was excerpted in the latest issue of PEN America, No. 19: Hauntings.

It also received a nice new review at Fright.com:

The travelling-into-dreams trope has long been a prominent, and problematic, staple of horror and science fiction. This French novel, originally published in 1992, is a stellar example of the format–and, I feel, an overall standout in the field of imaginative fiction. Kudos to Melville House, and translator Edward Gauvin, for putting out this better-late-than-never English language version…

… [V]arious strands are neatly intertwined in a haunting yet satisfying conclusion, in which we’re introduced to yet another facet of the novel’s bizarre reality, which comes to encompass not only dreams and reality but also life, death and beyond.

J.-P. Toussaint’s Naked at The Complete Review

October 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


Michael Orthofer, at his site The Complete Review, a source for international lit, has these nice words for Naked, the latest from “Belgian Nicholson Baker”  Jean-Philippe Toussaint, and the final book in his Marie tetralogy:

This isn’t a novel with a simple story-arc, traced simply from a beginning to an end. The relationship with Marie, more off than on, with the narrator always captivated by the flighty figure, similarly doesn’t have a neat beginning and end, and the story easily is spread out over three other novels, too, making for a richer picture, but not, ultimately, a complete one.

This is a lovely novel, even if it doesn’t necessarily offer the satisfactions of a fully-formed story — and yet Toussaint rounds it off satisfyingly too, But even in this simple, almost conventional end, of protagonists finding each other, it closes on with a question, making any finality deceptive: Marie seems to ask the obvious — yet her need to ask, and her surprise, suggest she still hasn’t entirely understood, all along.
A very nice piece of work, both together with the others Marie-novels, and on its own.

Peplum Makes The AV Club’s Best of 2016 List

October 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Blutch’s dreamlike toga epic Peplum, which came out this spring from New York Review Comics, makes the Onion A.V .Club’s Best Comics of 2016 So Far list, earning a nice writeup from Shea Hennum:

… lilting along through scenes of great violence and great sensuality, each set piece crashing into one another… a work both visually and emotionally arresting. Here, in poetic and aesthetic glory, Blutch explores the attraction of death and the psychotic longing to encounter the sublime. He inks his pages with heavy cross-hatching and smeared, sticky brush strokes, carving out images of white space untouched by the abyssal blackness.

I’d see Shea’s reviews before, but I first became aware of his critical work in an excellent essay he devoted to letterer John Workman in the back pages of Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca’s Image series Shutter. Big thanks to Shea and the A.V. Club!

Spotted in the Wild: Serge Brussolo at The Source

October 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Brussolo Source

C.M. Muller, Minnesota-based scrivener and editor of things weird and darkly wondrous, informs me that Serge Brussolo’s The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome has been featured as a staff pick at the Source Comics and Games in Roseville: “Ten Thousand Square Feet of Pure Awesome”! He sent me these photos of the book, right between Karen Russell’s Swamplandia and the late Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love. The tag says “Deliciously mind bending” and “Translated wonderfully from the French.” All my thanks to Mr. Muller and the Source!

Brussolo Source 2

NOW OUT!! Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Naked

October 8th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Naked Toussaint

Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Naked, the final book (so far) in his “Marie” tetralogy, is now available from Dalkey Archive Press. I had a wonderful time on residency at Belgium’s Chateau de Seneffe with eight other translators from different countries all working on the novel, and the author himself. I am grateful to them all for their curiosity, inspiration, and assistance.

Earlier over the summer, part of the book’s prologue was excerpted in Tin House‘s Summer Reading issue as “The Dress of Honey.”

“To write of her that which has never been written of any other woman.” And with these words from Dante, Jean-Philippe Toussaint sets out once more to deepen and broaden his depiction of one of contemporary fiction’s most fully realized female characters: haute couturière Marie Madeleine Marguerite de Montalte. Having traced the ups, downs, ins, and outs of Marie’s relationship with the unnamed narrator through three previous novels, Toussaint brings his customary nuanced rumination and nimble wit to this concluding volume, which takes us back to the Tokyo of Making Love and the Elba of The Truth About Marie, through jealousy and comedy, irony and tenderness, and the meticulous accretion of details that engross and distract us even as life’s larger changes shift the assumptions by which we live.

Jean-Philippe Toussaint is the author of nine novels and the winner of numerous literary prizes, including the Prix Décembre for The Truth about Marie, which is available from Dalkey Archive Press. His writing has been compared to the works of Samuel Beckett, Jacques Tati, Jim Jarmusch, and even Charlie Chaplin.

TODAY!! I am reading at the Oakland Marriott!!

October 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


As part of the Curated Readings series at the 39th annual American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) conference, Friday at 2pm in Junior Ballroom 3 I’ll be previewing a chapter from Charif Majdalani’s novel Moving the Palace, forthcoming in my translation next April from New Vessel Press. Thanks much to my publishers Ross Ufberg and Michael Wise for arranging this reading and deciding I was the right translator for the book in the first place!

In the course of the novel, a Lebanese professor’s fictionalization of his grandfather’s WWI escapades, the titular dwelling is teamstered piecemeal camelback through Northern Africa and a war-torn Middle East. Originally titled Caravansérail, the novel, the second of a family-history based trilogy published by Éditions du Seuil, won the 2008 Francois-Mauriac Prize from the Académie Francaise as well as the Prix Tropiques.

Coincidentally, I’ll soon be enjoying a residency in the Parc National des Landes at the former summer home of Nobel prizewinner Francois Mauriac’s family, thanks to ECLA Aquitaine.

TONIGHT!! Literary DEATH MATCH Oakland!!

October 6th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


I will be reading TONIGHT in the Literary Death Match, Oakland edition, as the long-running series hits the Bay Area. The Death Match is one of many fun after hours events sweeping into town along with the 2016 American Literary Translators Association conference, which begins today. It’s a good night to die, I guess.

You may be asking yourself:

What is Literary Death Match? Well, it will feature four translators who read their work for seven minutes or less. They’re then judged by three all-star judges, who select two finalists to compete in the Literary Death Match finale, a vaguely literary game to decide the ultimate winner.

Here’s the link to the Facebook event. Add them on Twitter: @litdeathmatch. (And they’re on Instagram now!) For more info, watch LDM Book Report — their new weekly web show!

Tonight’s readers will include:

Round 1:
* Bae Suah
, multi-award winning South Korean author of A Greater Music and Nowhere to Be Found (with Deborah Smith)
Katherine Silver, translator and co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre
Round 2:
* Edward Gauvin
, writer, award-winning translator and two-time Eisner Award nominee
* Becka McKay, translator, poet and author of A Meteorologist in the Promised Land

Hosted by LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga. Produced by Brittany Penzer & Chad Post.

Literary Merit: 
Andrew Lam, PEN Open Book Award-winning author of Perfume Dreams and Birds of Paradise Lost
Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, comedian, winner of Liz Carpenter Political Humor Award (recent winners: Samantha Bee & Wanda Sykes)
Intangibles: Lydia Popovich, comedian, named SF Weekly’s #1 Artist to Watch in 2016 

Where: Ultra Shadow Lounge, 341 13th St, Oakland (map) 
When: show at 7:30pm sharp, doors at 6:30pm (afterdrinks after!)
Cost: $5 (click to preorder now!)



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