November 29th, 2010 § § permalink
In the run-up to this holiday season, Small Beer is featuring an all-star roster of their authors at their blog, Not a Journal: Karen Joy Fowler! Kathe Koja! Vincent McCaffrey! Karen Lord, whose first book, Redemption in Indigo, made all sorts of Best Of lists!
I’ll be jotting notes from Brussels on Belgian fantastical writers. My first post is now live! I’m thrilled to participate in the festivities.
Don’t forget, Small Beer is featuring holiday discounts on some titles, with free US & Canadian shipping! It’s not too late to stick A Life on Paper in someone’s stocking!
November 24th, 2010 § § permalink
The penultimate translation of my tenure as guest editor for the Consulate, Joyland’s international fiction section, is now live. It’s the second story of Devaulx’s that’s appeared there.
“The Sign of Jonah” begins with a quote from the Book of Jonah, but the Bible line it reminds me of is Matthew, 26:11: “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” The exceedingly short piece is enigmatic as ever, but this time also cinematic. It also strikes me as somewhat Poe-ish: in fact, it shares with Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death,” to which Devaulx’s piece refers, the mounting sense of dread that accompanies sedulously orchestrated progression through space. Merging as it does bourgeois tourism with biblical parable in a doom-laden urban environment, the story is oddly timely again in our recession-harried era, when storefronts go empty, and the old familiar places are no more, suddenly closed: the dull gaze of empty windows or the gaptoothed smile of a bankrupt city block.
Hailed by Jean Paulhan and Gaëtan Picon as a master of the fantastique, Noël Devaulx was a frequent contributor to the NRF. Known mainly for his short stories, which have received the Prix de l’Academie française and the Prix Valéry Larbaud and appeared in The London Magazine, he is published by Gallimard and Éditions José Corti.
November 20th, 2010 § § permalink
struck me as a particularly toothless example of the very contemporary kind of humor I explored and derided in my October post for Mischief & Mayhem Books. In this case both the medium and the message were to blame. Grim, impotent, post-ironic, pre-defeated, and worst of all, complacent, as though watching it were meant to lend the moral superiority, if not the actual minute ameliorations, of activism. And delivering it as a preface to The Simpsons? Way to sap your own message of any potentially remaining force.
It does no good, of course, to point out what everyone with a conscience knows but no one is doing anything about. It does, in fact, little good to point out even this fact. As Louis Simpson said in “On the Lawn at the Villa” (1963): “It’s complicated, being an American,/Having the money and the bad conscience, both at the same time.”
My latest post, on visualization and translation, is now up at Mischief & Mayhem.
November 8th, 2010 § § permalink
- Jeffrey Ford posted a very nice entry about me at The Writing Room, the LiveJournal of Brookdale College Creative Writing. Jeff was a terrific fiction guru of mine; when I lived in Newark, I trekked down to Brookdale on the train once a week for his evening fiction class.
- My translation of Noël Devaulx’s story “The Sacrifice of Images” is up at the Joyland Consulate. This is the first fiction in English from a major 20th century French fabulist, a perfect example of the “parables without keys” that editor and critic Jean Paulhan once admiringly claimed Devaulx wrote. I find allusions to the French and Cultural Revolutions… and you?
- H.V. Chao’s twitterfic from October 8th at Nanoism (exactly one month ago) was reposted the next day at Fiction Daily. Thanks, editor David Backer!
November 7th, 2010 § § permalink
In their Best Books for the Holidays flyer, Small Beer Press has picked A Life on Paper as a sure bet gift for “The Smart One” in your friend or family set. They also give a nice nod to the recent issue of The Harvard Review, which I neglected to plug over the summer, and is still available, featuring G.-O.’s story “The Styx.” The Philadelphia indie bookstore Joseph Fox recently featured A Life on Paper in their translation special coinciding with the American Literary Translators Association conference.
And in mid-October, Lavie Tidhar gave a generous write-up to G.-O. and myself at the World SF blog. Thanks!
Meanwhile, the author reports that he’s just finished his latest novel, to be published by Grasset in the spring. Its title is Life Watches Us Go By (La vie nous regarde passer).