April 27th, 2010 § § permalink
The title story of A Life on Paper, which first appeared in translation in AGNI Online (Spring 2006), has managed to remain oddly relevant in our age, when taking snapshots is easier than ever. In a strange case of life imitating art it probably didn’t know existed, Munish Bansal, an accountant from Kent, has taken pictures of his two children every day fro the last thirteen years, the Daily Mail reports (showing a selection of the photos). I was staying at a friend’s house in LA last year when I got an email linking to this story, and shared it at the breakfast table. Soon thereafter my friend left for work, and his wife prepared their newborn for the daily ritual of having her photo snapped and texted to Daddy at the office. Apparently showing it to his coworkers was part of the ritual too.
When, bemused, I reported this to Gavin Grant at Small Beer, he said he did the same with daughter Ursula. Most recently, I was stunned to find unexpected echoes in the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. Its main character, Thierry Guetta, assigned his mania for compulsively videotaping every last mundane minute of his life to his mother’s early death. While by no means an exclusive or even unpredictable motivation, it is one nonetheless shared by Kathrin’ father in “A Life on Paper”: the event that drives him over the edge, and causes him to ruin his daughter’s life. » Read the rest of this entry «
April 26th, 2010 § § permalink
Spring 2010 issue, now available. Which makes this a silver anniversary of sorts. Brought to you by the tireless, incredible Gavin J. Grant, Kelly Link, Jedediah Berry, and Michael J. DeLuca. All hail!
Featuring, for a mere $5 (in print):
Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, “A City of Museums”
(translated by Edward Gauvin)
Jennifer Linnaea, “Fire-Marrow”
Ben Francisco, “This is Not Concrete”
Sean Adams, “The Famous Detective and His Telepathy Goggles” » Read the rest of this entry «
April 24th, 2010 § § permalink
Saturday, May 1, at 2pm
The fabulous Betsy Bird, children’s librarian extraordinaire, hosts the latest edition of the Children’s Literary Cafe!!
Lost in Children’s Literary Translation
How do children’s books from other countries cross over into the American publishing scene? » Read the rest of this entry «
April 23rd, 2010 § § permalink
Among this novel’s many stunning delights: A cruise ship turned into a Maoist reeducation colony. A deliberately mad-scientist embryonic growth accelerator. A lobotomized mangrove. A utopian crusader with bodyguards who grew up reading her exploits mythologized in comic books, and a failed Ph.D. candidate (philosophy) who commits adultery with a clone of Joan of Arc: these two, locked in a Pygmalion-and-Galatea romance, trading places as maker and made. Largehearted and savage, untiringly surprising, a book that seems at once to flaunt its erudition and not to take it seriously: an ideally beguiling combination.
“Intrigued by the lurid poster, I suggested that we sample Motherhood Comes to the Holy Father. We slipped into the theater, taking care not to annoy the actor or disturb the other audience members, and assumed our seats. I quickly became absorbed in a situation of transcendent tastelessness. Through the machinations of a Wiccan sisterhood, Pope John Paul II had awoken one morning to find himself burdened with an unsolicited uterus and a concomitant unplanned pregnancy. Happily for the supreme pontiff, his silk robe billowed so broadly that his condition, like the fifteen Rosary mysteries, remained obscure. I could not imagine how Londa had obtained the tissue sample, and I did not want to know. The present scene was set in a Vatican clinic. Having dropped beseechingly to his knees, the pontiff was begging an audio-animatronic doctor to give him an abortion. A queasiness spread through me—political theater was one thing, feminist Grand Guignol starring reincarnated ecclesiastics quite another—and I politely told Londa that I wished to see no more. As we exited the theater, the Vatican physician presented the pope with a brochure touting the virtues of adoption.”
April 20th, 2010 § § permalink
This Thursday at the West Village’s Cornelia St. Cafe, as part of their monthly reading series, the French Publishers’ Agency will be featuring, from the collection Le Kiosque et le tilleul (The Pavilion and the Linden), Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s short story “Icare sauvé des cieux” (“Icarus Saved from the Skies”) in the original and my translation, which first appeared last year in Fantasy & Science Fiction. If you’re in NYC, a great chance to grab a glass of red in a nice ambiance and get acquainted with the author’s work before Small Beer debuts his book.
French Night Series at Cornelia Street Cafe
Please join us for an hour of contemporary and classic French literature, read in translation and in the original.
Dimanche by Irène Némirovsky
Le Kiosque et le tilleul by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud
Saisons Sauvages by Kettly Mars
Thursday, 22 April from 6-7 pm
Cornelia St. Café (29 Cornelia St. between Bleecker and West 4th)
$7 cover includes one drink
Lucinda Karter, host
April 20th, 2010 § § permalink
Publishers Weekly gives the upcoming A Life on Paper these nifty kudos:
These 22 curious tales verging on the perverse will strike new English readers of Châteaureynaud’s work as a wonderful find. Beautiful prose featuring ingenuous protagonists and clever, unexpected forays into horror are the hallmarks of these mischievous stories. The husband of the title tale, reeling from the untimely loss of his much younger wife, tries to capture her essence in their daughter, whom he photographs obsessively. By the time of the daughter’s untimely death, there are 93,284 photographs. “The Pest” chronicles the narrator’s tireless attempts to rid himself of his odious doppelgänger, even setting up his own suicide. A doctor interviews a decapitated head in “La Tête” and vows to help put it out of its misery. Châteaureynaud is tremendously skillful at setting up disorienting stories with convincing details and characters, as evidenced in “The Styx,” narrated by a dead man who assists at his own burial ceremony a little too importunately, until he’s pushed out of the moving hearse. Translator Gauvin does a fine job of harnessing the nervous, thrilling feel of these tales. (June)
There are actually 23 stories in the collection: in the ARCs, one was missing (“The Pest,” in fact) from the table of contents. This tickles me, as though some subtle perceptual discrepancy that rights itself on scrutiny only to sneak into error again the second that, satisfied, we look away. Not to be recognized by the table of contents is somehow to have vanished into a pocket of nonexistence. Some part of me wishes we could release a limited flub run, if only to puzzle and challenge, but perhaps such a book sounds more like Perec. When I bought the hardcover of The Corrections (first printing), there was an erratum slip tucked into the title page to the effect that two pages in the four hundred thirties had swapped places.
April 19th, 2010 § § permalink
You’ll catch me spinnin’ and scratchin’ at that hotspot of contemporary translation matters, Open Letter’s Three Percent, also known as “the threep.” First post is live. Ch-ch-ch-check it, yo.
April 5th, 2010 § § permalink
The Chattahoochee Review, Dunwoody, GA
Excerpt from The River Will Kill the White Man by Patrick Besson (Fall 2010)
France Fiction, New York, NY
Excerpt from First Love (Le premier amour) by Véronique Olmi (April 2010)
PEN America, New York, NY
Excerpt from A Game for Swallows (Le Jeu des Hirondelles) by Zeina Abirached (forthcoming)
Tin House, Portland, OR
“The Baker’s Son” (Le fils du boulanger) by Maurice Pons (December 2010)
Words Without Borders, New York, NY
“Retour Imaginaire” by Atiq Rahimi (April 2010)
April 4th, 2010 § § permalink
Archaia Comics is back in action–well, they have been for at least a year, and batting a thousand, as this recent Publisher’s Weekly article proves. I am told I am in no way sharing breaking news by saying the three series I translate–Hub’s samurai and demon hunting Okko, Matz & Jacamon’s hit man noir The Killer, and Pecau & Kordey’s epic arcane conspiracy The Secret History–are back on track. I just spent the last few days wrapping the first half of Okko: The Cycle of Air and Book 11 of The Secret History. I’ve also just delivered the first four issues of the new series of The Killer. (For Matz-Jacamon fans, there’s also a new series of theirs in the works that’s in my to-do pile.) These aren’t the spoilers you’re looking for… move along. Soon enough these fine books will be available in stores near you.
April 1st, 2010 § § permalink
Ça déborde un peu par ici.