4/26/16

Review: Quiet Creature on the Corner by João Gilberto Noll, translated by Adam Morris

http://twolinespress.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Quiet-Creature-web-294.jpgQuiet Creature on the Corner by João Gilberto Noll, translated by Adam Morris (Two Lines Press, 120 pages, May 10)

This slim volume asks to be read in a single sitting, which is precisely what I did. And that's a good thing, because only in that way could I fully experience the dizzying and unsettling "plot."

The first of Noll's works to be translated into English, Quiet Creature is ostensibly about a young, poverty-stricken poet who, after being sent to jail for rape, is released into the custody of a mysterious older man who cares for him on an unidentified estate. Throughout the story, time seems to skip ahead without any warning, the narrator and the few other characters aging in fits and starts.

4/24/16

A (Potentially) Complete List of Speculative Fiction in Translation for 2016

I'm sure that this list will need to be updated soon, but here's what I have so far:


title author country translator transl. Date publisher
The Core of the Sun Johanna Sinisalo Finland Lola Rogers 01/05/16 Grove Press Black Cat
Fardwor, Russia!: A Fantastical Tale of Life Under Putin Oleg Kashin Russia Will Evans 01/12/16 Restless Books
Empire V Victor Pelevin Russia Anthony Phillips 02/18/16 Gollancz
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Vol 1: Dawn Yoshiki Tanaka Japan Daniel Huddleston 03/08/16 Haikasoru
Castles in Spain various Spain ed. Mariano Villarreal 04/09/16 Sportula
Super Extra Grande Yoss Cuba David Frye 06/07/16 Restless Books
The Doomed City Arkady & Boris Strugatsky Russia Andrew Bromfield 07/01/16 Chicago Review Press
The Year 200 Agustín de Rojas Cuba Nicholas Caistor 07/12/16 Restless Books
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Vol 2: Ambition Yoshiki Tanaka Japan Daniel Huddleston 07/19/16 Haikasoru
The Gate of Sorrows Miyuki Miyabe Japan Jim Hubbert 08/16/16 Haikasoru
Death's End (3/3) Cixin Liu China Ken Liu 08/30/16 Tor
Sixth Watch Sergi Lukyenko Russia Andrew Bromfield 08/30/16 Harper Paperbacks
Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation various China Ken Liu 11/01/16 Tor
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Vol 3: Endurance Yoshiki Tanaka Japan Daniel Huddleston 11/15/16 Haikasoru
The Monteverde Report Lola Robles Spain Lawrence Shimel
Aqueduct Press
Zero Machine
Italy

Acheron Books

4/22/16

Review: La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, translated by Michele Hutchison

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 Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, translated from the Dutch by Michele Hutchison (Deep Vellum, 418 pages, March 15)

"La Superba"- an apt nickname for the labyrinthine, kaleidoscopic city of Genoa. As one of Pfeijffer's characters elaborates, this nickname has many meanings: "superb and reckless, beautiful and proud, alluring and unapproachable."

Thus are we thrown into the meta-novel that is La Superba, a work concerned with identity and reinvention, immigration, loss, language, writing, and the murky territory of love and sexuality. Pfejffer has made himself the narrator, and the novel we hold in our hands is, according to him, simply a compilation of letters that he writes to an unidentified friend back home in the Netherlands. He often says something like "if I wrote this novel, I would change x or y," which never fails to give the reader a very slight but noticeable case of literary vertigo.

4/16/16

Review: The SEA is Ours: Tales of Steampunk Southeast Asia

[This is an excerpt from my review on SF Signal 1/27/16. Read the entire review here.] 


http://i1.wp.com/images.amazon.com/images/P/1495607569.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_SL400_.jpg?w=620If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read my interview with editors Jaymee Goh and Joyce Chng on the genesis of this collection. As they explained, The SEA is Ours is a unique and exciting effort to broaden the boundaries of the subgenre we know as “steampunk” while simultaneously creating alternate colonial histories, ones that imagine people using airships and automatons (among other things) to beat back invaders and keep alive traditions in an evolving world.

Here, Goh and Chng have brought together a group of talented, exciting writers who draw on the stories and histories of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and more to imagine volcano-chasing airships (“Chasing Volcanoes” by Marilag Angway), wooden carvings that speak and fight colonial invaders (“Between Severed Souls” by Paolo Chikiamco), organically-enhanced fighting spiders (“Spider Here” by Robert Liow), and more.

[...]

When Books Hit Too Close to Home

http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/creativecontent/images/cms/961353_630x354.jpgYou know that feeling when you’re reading a novel and suddenly you come across a description or a scene and you’re like “hey that’s my life right there!” It’s as if the author had known that you specifically were going to read their book, so they threw in some personal things to freak you out.

Well. This has happened to me twice within the past four years, and both times it was very disturbing. So a big ol’ THANKS NOT REALLY to Stephen King and John Steinbeck for giving me nightmares I totally didn’t need.

Curiosity Killed the Think Piece: We’re Allowed to Wonder Who Ferrante Is

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQKHNbELVtXtd7C9Pz-V0brTvVMxNtkEcyyoeiyRap_t8pZxeIUPeople, I’m tired of the pointless literary thinky-pieces with questions for titles. You know what I’m talking about. “Is the Novel Really Dead?” “Does Anybody Really Read Shakespeare Anymore?” “Is [Author] an Interdimensional Alien?”

Specifically, I was annoyed by the recent Electric Lit piece, “Why Do We Care Who the ‘Real’ Elena Ferrante Is?” Here we’re brought up to date on the latest speculation about the anonymous Italian author’s true identity. The central question of the piece, though, is why “we” would even try to find out who this writer “really” is when ‘Muricans are too boorish too even name an Italian author, much less care about what they write.

In Translation: March Fiction and Poetry

Ahhhhh March. You bring with you the promise of Spring and the hope that we’ve seen the last of that muddy, gross, hard-packed snow staring at us from the gutters. And laughing. Well, laugh no more, abominable snowmen, for here are some great reads in translation (from Italy, Japan, Jordan, and Lebanon) that will generate enough warmth to melt your asses so there, Winter!


petrarchMy Secret Book by Francesco Petrarca, edited and translated by Nicholas Mann (Harvard University Press Series: The I Tatti Renaissance Library, 304 pages, March 28)

We all know Petrarch, but here we have access to some of his most tormented thoughts about his need for fame and love. Written as a dialogue between Franciscus and Augustinius, in the presence of Truth (represented as a beautiful woman), Secretum (My Secret Book) offers us a new perspective on the 14th century poet and his goals as a writer.

3/28/16

Hey, Virginia: Your Censorship Bill is a Terrible Idea

angry_kirkPeople of Virginia: you have a job to do. Email, call, send telepathic messages to your state legislature and tell those politicians that you will not stand for idiotic, narrow-minded, absolutely f$%^ing ridiculous bills like HB516.

What is this bill? It’s supposed to force schools to notify parents if teachers plan to distribute and discuss instructional material that contains “sexually explicit” passages, WHATEVER THAT MEANS. The parents will then be able to opt out and have their precious snowflakes read something else. I’m guessing Winnie the Pooh?

12 Translators on Why They Do What They Do

http://www.translation-project-management.com/images/site/translator.jpgI’ve been interested in literary translation since I was a teenager reading Dostoyevsky, Cervantes, Mann, and Kafka for the first time. And when I started thinking about what it meant to declare that Thomas Mann was my favorite writer while only being able to read him in English translation, I was struck by just how important translation is to expanding our minds and introducing us to diverse cultures. I also realized that my experience reading Mann in English differed in fascinating ways from that of a German-speaker reading him in the original. Years later, when I translated the work of several French Symbolist poets for an independent study, I realized how much every single word makes a difference in conveying meaning from one language to another and in capturing tone and style. It was some of the hardest work I had ever done, but also incredibly rewarding.

8 Reasons Why I’m Loving Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series

stephen_kingYou may have heard recently that, yes, finally, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series will be heading to the big screen. I’m pretty excited about this news, you guys, because I’m in the middle of listening to the sixth book and have SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. AND. FEELS. AND. THINGS.

And yes, I’m late to the party as usual, but I’ve been a King fan for many years and it was only right to finally jump into the story of Roland Deschain to see what all the fuss was about. (Read Susie’s piece about what to do if you want to read the series but you hated The Gunslinger).

So, even though I haven’t even finished Song of Susannah yet, I’m going to tell you eight reasons (in honor of the eight books) why I’m luuuurving the Dark Tower. Hopefully, you’ll be inspired to read it, too, if you haven’t already.

I’ll try not to be spoiler-y.

In Italiano: Italian Lit in the News

I love Italy for many reasons: it has given us opera, a beautiful spoken language, pasta, some kick-ass literature, and many other things (I also married an Italian, so there’s that!). It should come as no surprise, then, that when I realized how much Italy was in the bookish headlines recently, I was molto eccitato!

(n.b. I audited Italian during grad school, but I don’t get much of a chance to use it, so I’m going to vocab-drop throughout this post- just lettin’ ya know).

ferrante
Primo, if you haven’t heard the buzz around Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series (which will be adapted for tv soon, apparently), you’ve been living on Mars or something. This four-part story about friendship, love, and family has taken America by storm, and the obscurity of the writer’s identity makes the quartet even more tantalizing. How have I not read any Ferrante yet, you ask? Three reasons: twins and a baby.

ANYWAY. I’m feeling a bit warm these days, so Ferrante Fever is definitely getting a hold on me. Imma check these books out.

3/19/16

Review: The Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore


https://bi.hcpdts.com/page/450/EwIaWqDxBJPJUu7rJh2VzTHv2Hzx1IcRLz!Q9vVOo7NS7vB3CidS!pxvgzMNfZ1nRiJTw0coSw6po!WgF19IVS2!XVFCWpRwJO0+h1iZSn5gWMZOxO7nbASp+W5SBQKW/u34+1F!EVWH7ngw7NLVXIcKIKW2pmYA+Gl!w8rbMsYH!BRIAG5OUet9tcq9F2XjffXkZsjELHH1dotzfe59Az1jyGM+mB65M9iSYJGxO3RSWsW1OYzkgsRAdZgmVYczuThe Big Rewind by Libby Cudmore (William Morrow, 256 pages)


Cudmore's debut novel is like the mix tapes that populate its pages- once you start it, you just want to blow through the entire thing without stopping.

Set in the Barter Street district of Brooklyn, The Big Rewind follows Jett Bennett- an aspiring music journalist who temps to make ends meet- as she tries to figure out who killed her friend and neighbor, KitKat. The key to solving the murder is a mix tape meant for KitKat that Jett accidentally receives in the mail.

3/3/16

From the TBR Shelf #53: The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71fpDtKD7fS.jpgThe Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004) by Stephen King

Ok, after Wolves of the Calla, almost anything was going to be a kind of letdown. I mean, Wolves was kickin'.

Song of Susannah, though, moves the plot forward significantly, since here is where Susannah/Mia/Odetta/Detta finally has her/their(??) baby. Ok, that doesn't happen until the end, but this novel explains exactly who/what the baby is. We also learn more about the Rose, the vacant lot, and why Calvin Tower has refused to sell it to Eddie's former bosses.

2/23/16

Talking Translation With Chad Post of Open Letter Books

translationsRecently, I asked Chad Post of Open Letter Books about the current state of literary translation. Here’s what he had to say about translating women writers, the Best Translated Book Award, and much more:


Rachel Cordasco: What kinds of changes have you seen in the world of translated books over the past several years (i.e. the proliferation of small presses specializing in translation, efforts to translate more women and writers from underrepresented countries, etc.) ?

In Translation: February Fiction and Poetry

Looking for some fabulous titles in translation to get you through the February doldrums? Well, look no further than these works of fiction and poetry from India, France, Austria, and Germany. You. Are. Welcome.


erpenbeck
The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions, 320 pages, February 8)

Now out in paperback, Erpenbeck’s award-winning novel The End of Days follows one woman as she dies five different times. Each death occurs at a different moment in the 20th century, allowing Erpenbeck to explore the nexus of the personal and the historical.

 

A Friendship Forged With Books

I met some wonderful people during my time as an undergraduate English major, but one of the greatest has to be my friend Hamilton, who turned 97 this year.

You read that right. Dude is NINETY-FREAKIN-SEVEN and still going strong- reading, visiting with family, reading, talking to me on the phone every few months, and READING. The man loves books.

I first met him in a fiction workshop during my second semester, and I wasn’t very surprised to hear that he was auditing the class. Many seniors (as in 50 years old and over) did just that, spending their retirement learning new things and interacting with professors and younger students; basically, what I hope to do when I’m ninety-freakin-seven years old.

Books We Hope Nobody’s Checking Out

For-DummiesYou may have seen this recent story about the United Nations library and how its most “popular” book of 2015 was entitled – wait for it – Immunity of Heads of State and State Officials for International Crimes.

Yup.

Now, only a few people checked it out BUT STILL. Pretty disturbing. So of course we here at Book Riot started thinking about other examples of books we would hope certain people would not ever ever ever check out.

**Note that these titles were all made up by us and do not exist in the world (at least, we hope not).**