H.V. Chao’s “The Recovery” at Pseudopod

October 31st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Here’s wishing everyone a happy and spook-tacular Halloween!

Over at Pseudopod, everyone’s favorite horror podcast, H.V. Chao’s story “The Recovery” can be listened to in all the delectably macabre glory of George Hrab’s insinuating narration. The story first appeared (in a slightly different form) in Tartarus Press’ Strange Tales IV, edited by Rosalie Parker, which recently received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Here’s an excerpt:

These swaybacked houses shouldered upright by their neighbours, these towns time has brought to one knee, idyllic and sinister. How much they have seen. Leafing through a gilded history, I perused the account of a woman from the region, murdered and dismembered collectively at some ritual banquet of the town’s, the various parts buried each in different places. The stump of a foot filled the exact centre of a cornerstone. An elbow folded in a corbel, a hand weighting the mantel of a hearth, fingers distributed to individual bricks. The eye that watched from a keystone, and another blindly immured, untraceable but for a green weeping stain down the creamy stucco. A tibia, entrusted to the reliquary of a doorsill that Time has scooped out like a shallow basin.

If you liked it, leave a comment at the Pseudopod forums!

Jean-Yves Masson in The Southern Review

October 29th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The Autumn 2014 issue of that august literary stalwart, The Southern Review, is now out, under the sure-handed editorship of Emily Nemens. It features my translation of Jean-Yves Masson’s short story “A Return,” about a translator who returns to his childhood home. The issue sports a haunting cover: Pieter Hugo’s “Green Point Common, Cape Town.”

Southern Review Autumn 2014

Prizewinning poet Jean-Yves Masson (1962 – ) translates from English (Yeats), German (Rilke, Hofmannsthal), and Italian. In 2007, he won the Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle for his collection Ultimes vérités sur la mort du nageur (Verdier), from which  “A Return” is taken. An editor and literary critic as well, he teaches at the Sorbonne, where he directs the Center for Research on Comparative Literature.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

I don’t usually remember my dreams. A few scattered images at most: loved ones now gone; people I passed in the street and never thought to remember so well; probably places, too, where oddly enough I’ve never been. All this, made to astonish the dreamer, escapes me on waking, and though these fragile images sometimes still float in my consciousness a few moments after I’ve opened my eyes, I cannot recall them in the slightest when, once fully awake, I try to describe my dream or the places I’ve been. A certain regret lingers; this inability is likely due to my lack of interest in anything that isn’t real—or so I’ve sometimes thought, not without a hint of pride. But other times, I have no doubt it’s a regrettable weakness, or worse yet, irrefutable proof of some inner cowardice. It is, at any rate, because of this great talent for forgetting, or this inability to remember, that I paid heed to one of the rare dreams that did cross the barrier into wakefulness with me, an act that seemed all the more extraordinary since I rarely feel the need to piece together my dreams. But it so happens that this dream changed the course of my life: the images I retained on waking were so clear, so brilliant; it took on such an extraordinary density in my memory that the melancholy that took hold of me lasted an entire year and forced me to alter my existence. But now I do not know if that was for the better.

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Royal Blood Now Out

October 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

A book I worked on last winter for British juggernaut Titan Comics is now available: Royal Blood, written by cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky, with art by Dongzi Liu. This startlingly bloody medieval epic barrels forward full-tilt storywise, borrowing a few pages from John Boorman’s Excalibur, and covering an amazing amount of narrative ground–mutilations, executions, betrayals, amnesia, usurpation, castration–ending on a transcendent note that is oddly convincing.

Royal Blood

Eugène Savitzkaya in Gigantic Ha-Ha

October 25th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Though the launch party has come and gone, there’s still time to order Gigantic Ha-Ha. What’s that, you say, a gargantuan “wall or other boundary marker that is set in a ditch so as not to interrupt the landscape”? No, what are you, British? We said GIGANTIC HA-HA, the sixth print issue of that erstwhile literary magazine (a scrappy David among Goliaths), forthcoming in November:

Gigantic Ha-Ha

Inside, you will find new translations of Franz Kafka and Daniil Kharms, Amelia Gray; a special fold-out “New Giganticer” poster featuring cartoons by Roz Chast, Carolita Johnson, Drew Dernavich, Michael Crawford, and Corey Pandolph; an interview with comic-book artist Gabrielle Bell; and my translation of two short-shorts by Eugène Savitzkaya.

Born in 1955 to parents of Ukrainian descent, Belgian Eugène Savitzkaya began publishing poetry at the age of 17. He has written more than forty books of fiction, poetry, plays, and essays, many of them published by Minuit, France’s leading avant-garde press. He received the Prix triennal du roman for his 1992 novel Marin mon coeur. Rules of Solitude (Quale Press, 2004; trans. Gian Lombardo), a collection of prose poems, was his first book in English. My translations of his work have appeared in Anomalous, Unstuck, and Drunken Boat.

Jean-Christophe Duchon-Doris and Guy de Maupassant in The Uncanny Reader

September 3rd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Due out soon after my birthday next February is the most excellent Marjorie Sandor’s fantastic new anthology of fantastical things, The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows. It will include my translations of Jean-Christophe Duchon-Doris’ “The Puppets” and a new rendition of Guy de Maupassant’s “On the Water”—my first time translating Maupassant! These authors will appear in the company of Chris Adrian, Aimee Bender, Kate Bernheimer, Mansoura Ez-Eldin, Jonathon Carroll, John Herdman, Kelly Link, Steven Millhauser, Joyce Carol Oates, Yoko Ogawa, Dean Paschal, Karen Russell, Namwali Serpell, Steve Stern, and Karen Tidbeck. What a line-up! Dig the spooky cover!

Anne Richter in Sisters of the Revolution

September 1st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Due out next February, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s anthology of feminist speculative fiction, Sisters of the Revolution, will feature my translation of the “The Sleep of Plants,” a story by Belgian fabulist Anne Richter.

This story was translated once before into English by Kim Connell as “The Dreaming Plant” in his 1998 anthology The Belgian School of the Bizarre. My title hews closer to the original—“Un sommeil de plante”—in what I hope is a good way. The story first appeared in Richter’s 1967 collection Les locataires (The Tenants). Most recently, The Collagist featured Richter’s story “The Great Pity of the Zintram Family” in their July issue.

Wilfried N’Sondé at Words Without Borders

August 31st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


Wilfried N’Sondé, a musician living in Berlin, is the author of three books: the highly acclaimed Cœur des enfants léopards (2007), for which he was awarded the prix des Cinq Continents de la francophonie and the Prix Senghor de la création littéraire; Le Silence des esprits (2010); and most recently, Fleur de béton (2012), from which the excerpt “Flowers in Concrete” at Words Without Borders is taken.

Here’s a preview, pre-urban riot:

“Evening, everyone. I’m Captain Moussa Traoré of the National Police. This is my colleague Lieutenant Da Silva. No music tonight: the mayor’s office, in conjunction with the police, has decided to seal the entrance to the basement for the well-being of local residents. It’s for your own safety and security; the facilities below are not up to standard for public festivities. You probably don’t even know, but spending hours down there is toxic. The air isn’t good for you—throw in cigarettes on top of that and it’s a clear health hazard. Why don’t you head out to a real nightclub? This is just a public nuisance.”

Sylvain Jouty in Asimov’s

August 30th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Asimov's June 2014

In the June issue of Asimov’s, my first translation in that august staple of all things SFnal: Sylvain Jouty’s “The Finges Clearing.” A member, like Georges-Olivier Châtaureynaud, of the French literary movement “La nouvelle fiction,” Jouty’s first story in English came out last January in the mountaineering magazine Alpinist: “The Wall,” a Calvino-esque tale about a vertical world (Jouty himself is a natural historian and climber, former editor of Alpinisme et Randonnée.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Of all the virgin territories, dwindling daily, that subsist on this cramped planet—a few mountain tops, a few acres of primeval forest—the Finges Clearing is the most surprising and the least known, precisely because it perfectly resembles the perfectly known territory around it. It is the most remarkable because there is absolutely nothing remarkable about it.”

Chuck Rothman at Tangent Online calls the story “a vignette about a small area in the forests around a small town with a unique history… pure idea, with a bit of ironic commentary on how tourists behave.” Joe Martin at Minor Thoughts highlights the story’s “very nice natural history tone… that reminded me a lot of Jules Verne,” while Sam Tomaino at SFRevu calls it a “beautiful, lyrical piece.” Glad that came through in translation!

Buy it here or discuss it here!

More Love for Jean Ferry

August 29th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Jean Ferry

At the newly redesigned Irreal Café, a kind review by Greg:

“The stories themselves are quite brilliant. As this is but a short review, I will attempt to describe Ferry’s stories succinctly but imperfectly by stating that they present a reality being pushed by the circumstances described in the story and the narrator’s reflections on those circumstances to the breaking point and then, inevitably, past it.”

At The Mooske and The Gripes, Trevor Berrett calls The Conductor “a beautiful, compact book, and slipping in and out of each tale is a delight, even if the stories explore some of the darker areas of our mind.”

Finally, Matt Pincus at Necessary Fiction writes:

“At times transgressive, and at others with a Poe-like Gothic, the stories are also ironically mythical, creating a juxtaposition of nuance and beauty.

These 25 stories have transient, wandering elements in which characters inhabit a place somewhere between fact and fiction, history and illusion, dream and reality of an eerie murkiness…

There is a ghostly, ethereal quality to each tale, which, as the collection progresses, become darker and phlegm-like. A tale not part of the original collection is of a man on a mountain expedition who loses his partner climbing an ice sheet, but seems to be only clinging a few feet off the floor in someone’s home. Each story shifts between admiration for spectacle, and violence or mortal danger within that spectacle. As any excellent story collection, the tension vibrates at unexpected moments, and the language expands, or crests at moments of insight to allow the reader’s creativity to see a new perception of their own imagination.”


The NEA Translation Fellows and The Art of Empathy

August 28th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Congratulations to this year’s NEA Literary Translation Fellows! I was proud to serve on the panel this year, and let me tell you, there were some tough calls to be made.

Literature Translation Publication Cover

In concert with this announcement, the NEA has also released an anthology of original essays by award-winning translators and publishers, aptly entitled The Art of Empathy. These nineteen thoughtful essays consider the art of translation and its ability to help us understand other cultures and ways of thought. The book is available as a free pdf download.

In addition, on Saturday, August 30, 2014 from 10:55 a.m.–11:40 a.m. at the National Book Festival, the NEA-sponsored Poetry & Prose tent will feature a panel discussion on books in translation with author-translator Paul Auster and Natasha Wimmer (Roberto Bolaño’s translator). Moderated by Amy Stolls, the panel will discuss the art of translation and its role in the literary world. More information about the authors appearing at the Poetry & Prose tent can be found here.