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Louise Erdrich: “Nero”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Louise Erdrich’s “Nero” was originally published in the May 7, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. This is a strange little story I can’t quite make sense of — though I did enjoy…

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Enrique Vila-Matas: Never Any End to Paris

I was really anxious to read Never Any End to Paris (París no se acaba nunca, 2003; tr. from the Spanish by Anne McLean, 2011) when it came out at about this same time last year.  Indeed the opening pages pulled me in pleasantly.  But something happened and I hit a stall somewhere in the…

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Jean-Philippe Toussaint: Reticence

Never having read Toussaint before, I had no idea what to expect when I opened up the latest of his works published by Dalkey Archive (they’ve published nine now, including The Truth about Marie, which was just longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award).  Perhaps that’s a good way to approach this book, with no…

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Roberto Bolaño: The Secret of Evil

I know that there is some criticism toward publishing anything we can find written by Roberto Bolaño.  The most recent, The Secret of Evil (El secreto del mal, 2007; tr. from the Spanish by Chris Andrews, with Natasha Wimmer, 2012) is actually composed of some stories and sketches (many obviously incomplete) found on…

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2012 Orange Prize for Fiction Shortlist

I’m late posting this, but on April 17 the shortlist for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction was announced: Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan (my review here) The Forgotten Walz, by Anne Enright Painter of Silence, by Georgina Harding The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller Foreign Bodies, by Cynthia…

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Ian McEwan: “Hand on the Shoulder”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  Ian McEwan’s “Hand on the Shoulder” was originally published in the April 30, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. Another week, another excerpt from a popular, prize-winning author’s forthcoming novel.  The New Yorker disappoints again.  There is a world of gifted short fiction authors…

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2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

For the first time since 1977, the Pulitzer committee elected to honor no work of fiction. The three nominated finalists were: Train Dreams, by Denis Johnson (my review here) Swamplandia!, by Karen Russell (my review here) The Pale King, by David Foster Wallace Each has its problems.   Train Dreams is…

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Junot Díaz: “Miss Lora”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  Junot Díaz’s “Miss Lora” was originally published in the April 23, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. It’s been just over two years since Junot Díaz’s “The Pura Principle” was published in The New Yorker (click here for my thoughts). …

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Eric Chevillard: Demolishing Nisard

I believe that when some people see a book from, say, NYRB Classics, Open Letter, New Directions, or, as here, Dalkey Archive, they think it must be some inaccessible book that, while nice to read, is a chore.  I’ve mentioned this before when I had a lunch with New Directions president Barbara…

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Jacques Jouet: Upstaged

I was a bit surprised to see listed among the finalists of the Best Translated Book Award the very short Upstaged (La Scène usurpée, 1997; tr. from the French by Leland de la Durantaye, 2011).  But, to be honest, I’m not sure why I was surprised.  Yes, I liked a few of the books…

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2012 IMPAC Finalists

Today the finalists for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award were announced (links to my (few) reviews in parenthesis): Rocks in the Belly, by Jon Bauer The Matter with Morris, by David Bergen (click here for my review) A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan (click here for my…

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Diego Marani: New Finnish Grammar

Yesterday, the finalists for the Best Translated Book Award were announced, and I have to say I was slightly surprised to find among the title Diego Marani’s New Finnish Grammar (Nuova Grammatica Finlandese, 2000; tr. from the Italian by Judith Landry, 2011).  Its placement in the list of finalists seems to cement my status as…

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2012 Best Translated Book Award Finalists

Today the ten finalists for the Best Translated Book Award were announced, whittling away at the longlist of twenty-five (click here for the longlist).  Here they are: Lightning, by Jean Echenoz, tr. from the French by Linda Coverdale (New Press) Upstaged, by Jacques Jouet, tr. from the French by Leland…

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Colum McCann: “Transatlantic”

Click here to read the abstract of the story on The New Yorker webpage (this week’s story is available only for subscribers).  Colum McCann’s “Transatlantic” was originally published in the April 16, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. Okay, I’ve come back to the top of my post after writing my thoughts on “Transatlantic”…

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Interview with Margaret B. Carson

The work of translation is fascinating to me, and I know so little about what these people do who dedicate their time to bringing us important works of literature from around the world (without their efforts, I’d be missing out on my favorite books), so the opportunity to pose a…

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Jonathan Lethem: “The Porn Critic”

Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage.  Jonathan Lethem’s “The Porn Critic” was originally published in the April 9, 2012 issue of The New Yorker. How is it that after weeks of not even posting brief thoughts on a story from The New Yorker do I…