International Literary News

By David Varno

In the LA Times blog Jacket Copy‘s Memorial Day roundup of 20th Cenutry war literature, Thomas McGonigle generously rememberd Carlo Emilio Gadda’s That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana as “the only Italian novel of the 20th century that is reasonably compared in power and scope to James Joyce’s Ulysses.” William Weaver’s translation was originally published in the United States by George Braziller, Inc., and is back in print with NYR Books. We published an excerpt to coincide with the 2007 reprinting.

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Suzanne Menghraj has translated the introduction to a 2000 book by Pierre Bayard, author of 2007’s notorious How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, for Guernica. The title is translated as How to Improve Failed Works, and though I felt it unnecessary to read a book with a thesis that suggested it may be unnecessary to read other books, I was charmed by Bayard’s sense of humor and after reading the Book Bench‘s witty mention along with Menghraj’s own essay that was featured in tandem with the excerpt, I especially look forward to a translation of the full book.

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There’s an interesting discussion today of the work of translator and specialist in Albanian studies Dr. Robert Elsie at Rave: A Great Albanian Literary Web Site, with translations of Ismail Kadare poems and a string of comments on the Jewish Albanian experience during WWII.

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Yesterday on South Jerusalem blog, Haim Watzman discussed Atar Hadari’s translation of Hanoch Levin’s poem “Lives of the Dead,” published this month by Poetry and featured on Poetry Foundation.

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The Susan Sontag Award for Translation is in it’s second year, and has just been awarded to Roanne Sharp for her proposed translation of La Mayor by Juan José Saer. See 3 Percent for coverage.

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Events and reminders:

This Friday at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, multimedia artist Missy Mazzoli will stage an adaptation of Swiss Muslim convert Isabelle Eberhardt’s journals, titled “Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt.”

Thursday, Melville House will play host to a Pre-BEA INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS PARTY. Also for the BEA, BOMB and Granta are throwing a bash at Housing Works, and the guest list is rumored to be closed due to high response.

Look forward to coverage here on two events that take place tomorrow evening: íLiterary Reportage: The Forensics Of Crisis,ë presented by the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and the Polish Book Institute (Krakow, Poland), with Wojciech Tochman, Francisco Goldman (who has contributed here), and Jonathan Brent; and Gabriel García Márquez: A Life, a presentation by biographer Gerald Martin on his eponymous book at the Americas Society, 7pm.


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