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Africa39 selected

They've been looking for the Africa39, 'a Hay Festival and Rainbow Book Club Project': which aims to select and celebrate 39 of the best African south of the Sahara writers under the age of 40 [Aside: if you're excluding writers from...Show More Summary

Altschulova metoda

I'm already won over by an article that reveals that the chief rabbi (of both Prague and the Czech Republic), Karol Sidon, admits: I couldn't read anything but what is considered lowbrow sci fi literature which I really love But howShow More Summary

First Sleep

I downloaded Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation last week on the same evening my partner and I were sleep-training (or trying to sleep-train) our four-month-old daughter. Why read about sleeplessness, when a harrowing form of sleeplessness (brought on by a trio… Continue reading ?

Explaining the Knausgaard Publishing Situation

There seems to be a tiny bit of confusion so here’s the deal: 1. Archipelago is doing the hardcovers, FSG is doing the paperbacks. 2. However, Archipelago started publishing Knausgaard before this agreement was made, so they actually did a paperback of Book 1, which has since been discontinued. Show More Summary

Slide Show: Kurt Vonnegut’s Whimsical Drawings

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.,’s crude, ludic doodles—a beaver, a cobra, an asterisk-anus—are famous from novels like “Breakfast of Champions,” as is the curly-haired self-portrait that doubled as his signature. But making graphic art was, forShow More Summary

What Muriel Spark Saw

She loved lightning. It wasn’t her favorite weapon—fire was, or knives. But lightning has a brutal, beautiful efficiency, and she used it to good effect, once frying alive a pair of lovers. Lightning seemed to seek her out, too. It struck her houses repeatedly, and on one occasion caused a nearby bell tower to come crashing down into her bathroom. Show More Summary

The Knaus-Tidal Gaard-Wave

I kinda had the idea that with Book 3 we’d hit peak Knausgaard. Looks to be the case. Will be interesting to see if the press stays on board for Book 4. At this point I doubt it. And if you want to be one of the glorious bandwagoneers, get your damn copy from Archipelago. Show More Summary

Shortlist: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

They've announced the shortlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize -- and three of the six titles are under review at the complete review (I believe the other three are not yet US-available): A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard Revenge...Show More Summary

Shortlist: Orange Prize for Fiction

The Orange Prize for Fiction -- which currently styles itself the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction -- has announced it's shortlist. See also chair of judges Helen Fraser's obligatory article, Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2014:Show More Summary

Writing in ... Tamil

In The Hindu 'Lakshmi Krupa speaks to publishers in the city to understand what works and what doesn't when it comes to Tamil books', in Tamil in the time of Kindle. (I'm rather disappointed and embarrassed that there are still no translations from the Tamil under review at the complete review -- but the books are relatively hard to come by (not a good sign).)

Writing from ... Burma

In the Myanmar Times Douglas Long reports on Universal themes: Bringing Asian literature to Western readers. Since this involves 'literary' agents I have my doubts about how this will work out; still, of some interest.

Tuer le père review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Amélie Nothomb's Tuer le père. (Her book-a-year output gets translated as a matter of course into most European languages, but not English; so too this one is availableShow More Summary

A Novel Like a Rocket

After writing seven thousand pages over twelve and a half years, I now have a novel, published this week, that is two hundred and twenty-four pages long. When I began working on the book, I knew it was going to be hard—hard for emotional...Show More Summary

Sergei Dovlatov and the Hearsay of Memory

This essay appears as an afterword to the novel “Pushkin Hills,” by Sergei Dovlatov, which will be published this week by Counterpoint Press. “ POLITICAL WORK OUGHT TO BE CONCRETE ”: this is one of the rousing Soviet mottos recalled in Sergei Dovlatov’s novel, The Zone. Show More Summary

Why We Chose It

On “Beauty in the Age of Chaos and Savagery” by Michael Nye I think some writers suspect editors of taking a ghoulish pleasure in saying “no” to a submission, the way that, as a student, I imagined teachers rubbing their… Continue reading ?

Alex Estes on Archipelago Books

All sorts of fascinating tidbits in Alex Estes’s profile of Jill Schoolman: The financial realities for a literary indie press: In 2003, after three years at Seven Stories Press, Schoolman set out on her own to found Archipelago Books. Show More Summary

New Kazuo Ishiguro Novel in 2015

One of the very few contemporary English-language writers I’d consider a must-read. The Buried Giant in March 2015: The Buried Giant was described by Faber as “sometimes savage [and] often intensely moving”. The publisher would only reveal that the book, Ishiguro’s seventh novel, will be about “lost memories, love, revenge and war”. Show More Summary

Award-Giving (1)

Like many writers, I feel ambivalent about promoting my own work. I’d rather be reading somebody else’s—or writing new writing, becoming another somebody else, myself. And though I’m typically beyond thrilled to hear about my friends’ successes (“I’m beyond thrilled… Continue reading ?

This Week in Fiction: Roddy Doyle

This week’s story, “Box Sets,” opens in a pub as an argument rages about the relative merits of various television dramas—whether “Mad Men” is better than “House of Cards,” and so on. Is that the quintessential pub argument of 2014? If...Show More Summary

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