OUT NOW: Charif Majdalani’s Moving the Palace

March 20th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


Today, New Vessel Press releases Charif Majdalani’s award-winning novel Moving the Palacethe third of a trilogy loosely based on his family history, a.k.a. how I spent my last summer vacation: marching through the Lebanese professor’s fictionalization of his grandfather’s WWI escapades. The titular dwelling is teamstered piecemeal camelback through Northern Africa, and I felt, doing my 3000 words a day, involved in a similar long haul of something I was not quite be able to fathom in its entirety until it was reassembled at the end.

Lithub has an excerpt from the novel’s opening chapter, the first paragraph of which I present here:

This is a tale full of mounted cavalcades beneath great wind-tossed banners, of restless wanderings and bloody anabases, he thinks, musing on what could be the first line of that book about his life he’ll never write, and then the click-clack of waterwheels on the canal distracts him; he straightens in his wicker chair and leans back, savoring from the terrace where he’s sitting the silence that is a gift of the desert the desert spreads in its paradoxical munificence over the plantations, the dark masses of the plum trees, the apricot trees, the watermelon fields, and the cantaloupe fields, a silence that for millennia only the click-clack of waterwheels has marked with its slow, sharp cadence. And what I think is, there may or may not be apricot orchards or watermelon fields, but that is most definitely the desert in the background of the photo, the very old photo where he can be seen sitting in a wicker chair, cigar in hand, gazing pensively into the distance, in suspenders, one leg crossed over the other, with his tapering mustache and disheveled hair, the brow and chin that make him look like William Faulkner, one of the rare photos of him from that heroic era, which I imagine was taken in Khirbat al Harik, probably just after he’d come from Arabia, though in fact I’m not at all sure, and really, what can I be sure of, since apart from these few photos, everything about him from that time is a matter of myth or exaggeration or fancy?

Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Naked shortlisted for Albertine Prize

March 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s Naked, the final volume of his Marie tetralogy, published last September by Dalkey Archive, has been nominated for the inaugural Albertine Award, an initiative of New York’s French bookstore founded by the Cultural Services of the French Consulate. Watch Eleanor Hutchins read an excerpt in a video coproduced with Bookwitty!

OUT NOW: Gauguin and the Other World

March 14th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink


In its tenth anniversary year, SelfMadeHero is delighted to announce the publication of GAUGUIN: The Other World a new graphic novel by Italian illustrator Fabrizio Dori.

Renowned for his paintings of Tahiti and Polynesia, Paul Gauguin abandoned his married life in Denmark to find liberation and inspiration in paradise. Fabrizio Dori vividly celebrates the life and work of the Post-Impressionist artist who is closely associated with Van Gogh, and whose reputation grew after his death. A series of essays contextualize his work.

This sensitive biography runs through Gauguin’s days as he reviews them from the perspective of his final moments, bringing to graphic life some enduring questions about being an artist vs. being a human being, and what romantic legacies we inherit from the towering figures of earlier eras. While translating this, I went back and read Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence, with its fictionalized, Anglicized version of Gauguin, one of the first artists to scandalize society by turning his back on it to pursue his art.

OUT NOW: Golden City, Vol. 3: Polar Night

March 1st, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Golden City 3

Polar Night, Volume 3 of Golden City, an all-ages series written by Daniel Pecqueur with art by Nicolas Malfin, is  now available as a digital exclusive from Delcourt at Comixology.

Held prisoner for six months in a disciplinary penal colony, which is lost in the depths of the Arctic Ocean, Harrisson Banks is no more than just a number: 990320. Desperate, alone, Banks has not been forgotten though, as his enemies nevertheless pursue their plans to kill him.
Happy reading!
golden city panel

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