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December, 2007

Permission to Speak Aphoristically?

Here's a quirky—and handy—piece on the compelling history of aphorism-writing in Serbia. The theory goes that the zingers in questions—laced with dark humour—thrive in times of inclement political weather. Aleksandar Cotric, dissident, author of a book of aphorisms and member…...

The Year in Translation

The end of the year is upon us, and with it the end of year lists of the best of everything. What new translations did you read this year, and what did you like? Loathe? Long for? Cast your vote now.

December Book Club—Laila Lalami on Camara Laye’s The Radiance of the King

This month, Laila Lalami heads our book club discussion of Camara Laye's The Radiance of the King. Laila is the author of the 2005 collection of fiction Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits and you can find more of her writing at her blog. We're thrilled to have Laila hosting discussion this month and hope…...

Cogwheels

As we come to the end of our book club on Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short story collection Mandarins, Michael tackles Cogwheels, another posthumously published story by the author. We'd like to thank Michael Orthofer again, for a great month of reading Akutagawa and a fantastic journey through the life and…...

November, 2007

The Life of a Fool

As we near the home stretch of our discussion of Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Mandarins, Michael Orthofer offers up some ruminations on The Life of a Fool, Akutagawa's posthumously-published collection of very short pieces. Earlier posts can be found here: a look at the titular story, Mandarins; the approach…...

Akutagawa—the Writer, the Works

As we near the end of our discussion of Ryunosuke Akutagawa's The Mandarins this month, Michael Orthofer dwells a little on our ideas of the author and his work. Earlier posts can be found here: a look at the titular story, Mandarins; the approach to storytelling in Evening Conversation; a conversation…...

Miami Part Two—The Agent Buzz Panel

Miami Part Two—Buzz Panel suggestions It's almost 60 degrees and sunny here in New York City, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is in full swing (welcome Shrek, Abby Cadabby, and to the joy of schoolgirls everywhere, "Hello Kitty Supercute"), and the Broadway stagehands are still on strike. Something…...

High Noon in Linz

I grew up without weapons. While nobody in my family was a vegetarian—or ever thought of becoming one—I was taught that hunting was a pastime for those who despised science and art. The philosopher Roger Scruton would have vehemently disagreed with my education, but no matter. When I was…...

Ka-pow! It’s Literature!

Love classic literature but wish it had a little more visual flair? Big fan of nuanced story-telling and solid dialogue, but wish more of it came in speech balloons? Well, then head on over to Again with the Comics, where they bring Crime and Punishment back to life (in all its camp glory), re-imagined…...

Miami, Part One

Miami Book Fair International/Translation Market Was it only last weekend that I dove into an outdoor pool surrounded by gorgeous palms at twilight? As I floated on my back, gazing up at the slowly darkening, famous Miami sky shot through with glints of goldenrod, copper, and violet, I luxuriated in…...

The Guardian on Translation

Richard Lea in the Guardian uses the Society of Authors' annual translation prize as a springboard to explore the current state of translation publishing.

Literary Influences and East Meets West

Michael Orthofer continues with yet another post for this month's book club, on the next of the stories from Ryunosuke Akutagawa's collections Mandarins. We began the month with an introduction to Akutagawa's works; a look at the titular story, Mandarins; and the approach to storytelling in Evening Conversation.…...

Huang Xiang and City of Asylum

Head on over to You Tube and take a look at this video by Jose Muniain on City of Asylum, Pittsburgh and poet Huang Xiang, a former artist in residence at the Sampsonia Way centre. The video highlights the work that the Cities of Refuge projects do in providing safe harbour to artists whose lives or…...

Dos Obras

2 Obras, the monthly art and literature publication founded in Buenos Aires is now soliciting the help of interested translators in their international art and letters project. 2 Obras collaborator and translator from the Spanish, Alexis Almeida lays it out for us in this post. You can find out more…...

An Evening Conversation

Plowing ahead, we have the next post in this month's book club discussion on Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Mandarins. In this post, Michael Orthofer discusses the discursive narrative of Akutagawa's An Evening Conversation.—Editors I think it's worth lingering over An Evening Conversation,…...

What’s with the title?—and a look at “Mandarins”

Michael Orthofer kicks off discussion of Ryunosuke Akutagawa's short-story collection Mandarins in this post with a discussion of the titular story from the collection and a rumination on the murky provenance of its name. You can find Michael's earlier introductory post over here. So take a look, follow…...

New Issue of VQR

The new and very special issue of the

November Book Club—Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “Mandarins”

We're very pleased to bring you the first installment in this month's book club, dedicated to Ryunosuke Akutagawa's Mandarins. This month, discussion will be headed by Michael Orthofer, managing editor from the Complete Review and its Literary Saloon. We hope you'll follow along and jump into the fray…...

A Foot Patrol in Oruzgan, Afghanistan

Recently I flew from Afghanistan to the Netherlands along with some Dutch troops going on R&R for two weeks. A day later, I traveled to Paris to promote a book. The difference could not have been bigger. Seated in the apartment of my French publisher on the Boulevard Saint-Michel, I had a conversation…...

October, 2007

French/American and Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize

The French American and Florence Gould Foundations have just announced their annual prize for translation. The prize (which comes with a 10,000-dollar bonus on the side) rewards a recent translation of a work of fiction or non-fiction from French into English. Excluded categories include children's literature,…...

Arthur Philips on “The Rebels”, “Embers” and Gyula Krúdy

Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis in 1969 and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion. His first novel, Prague, a national bestseller, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and received…...

All the Bad Young Literary Women

Last Sunday's NYT Book Review has a front page feature on Edith Grossman's new translation of The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa. The review looks at the influence of Flaubert at play in Llosa's book. A great admirer of Flaubert's, Llosa casts his titular bad girl as the familiar love 'em…...

David Leavitt Responds to Mark Sarvas in Our Book Club

Renowned novelist David Leavitt (The Indian Clerk, The Body of Jonah Boyd) doubles as the editor of Subtropics, the literary journal of the University of Florida. In Issue 3, Leavitt included the opening chapter of The Rebels, and I invited him to talk here a little about why he chose it. 1) How did…...

Returning to Afghanistan

While publishers, agents and some authors were heading for Frankfurt for the annual book fair I decided to return to Afghanistan—or to be more precise Oruzgan, a small province in the south—where some 1,600 Dutch soldiers are trying to rebuild the country. A year ago I stayed at Kandahar Air…...

Mark Sarvas Talks about Fathers and Sons in “The Rebels”

Leading a book group discussion on Sándor Márai's The Rebels, one is faced with an interesting dilemma, one to which Arthur Phillips politely alluded to in his excellent New Yorker review. To begin, he told us: Sándor Márai keeps getting younger. Twelve years after he committed…...

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