Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yasei no tanteitachi

This fantastic cover belongs to Yasei no tanteitachi, the first Japanese edition of Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives.
 The book presented this week in the Instituto Cervantes Tokio was published by Hakusuisha Publishers and translated into Japanese by Kenji Matsumoto and Takaatsu Yanagihara.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jose Saramago: The Notebook

 The Notebook
Chris Dolan reviews José Saramago's The Notebook.
These notes, I found, are not simply a blog but contributions to the much more ambitious Saramago Foundation, which attempts, in its founder’s words, to “bring a new dynamic to cultural life in Portugal”. There are many more voices than Saramago’s given an airing in the site, and in The Notebook some of that desire for dialogue, that generosity of spirit, comes across, too. Saramago comments on events his foundation has organised – presentations by Baltasar Garzón, celebrations of the work of Carlos Fuentes and Fernando Pessoa. If nothing else, the English translations of these blogs might pique an Anglo-American interest in writers and thinkers from the Hispanic world.

At 87, Saramago leads a busy life, ­travelling, overseeing the publication of his novel (O Viagem do Elefante, available here next year) and putting the finishing touches to the one after that – Caim; he does radio talk-ins and hosts events at his Foundation and, it seems, almost any other organisation willing to let him talk about justice and writing and writers. The energy, passion and continuing political anger of the man glows brightly throughout the Notebook.

He signs off from his blog, saying he needs time to dedicate himself to yet another book – but I checked this morning, and he’s written several notes on the site since. There’s no stopping the man, thankfully.
Click to Read the Full Article.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Manuel Rivas: Books Burn Badly

Books Burn Badly
Ángel Gurría-Quintana reviews Manuel Rivas' Books Burn Badly.
Books Burn Badly is a demanding novel, artfully translated from Galician by Jonathan Dunne. Its multiple narrative voices and unadvertised time shifts can be disorienting but it repays the reader’s persistence. Connections between characters and events become clearer as the various stories gradually bleed into each other.
Click to continue to read the article

Manuel Rivas, born in La Coruña in 1957, is a novelist, poet, and essayist, and has worked as a journalist for both Spanish-language and Galician-language media in Spain, such as El País and Diario de Galicia. A key figure in the Galician literary renaissance, he has had enormous influence on contemporary Galician literature. He has published eight novels (which he writes in Galician), and was awarded two national prizes, the Premio de la Critica for Un millión de vacas (1989) and the Premio nacional de narrativa for his novel ¿Que me quieres, amor? (1996). His novel The Carpenter’s Pencil (1998), about the repression of dissidents during Franco’s rule, is the only that has been translated into English and was made into a film in 2003. The two-story work, A man dos pianos, first appeared in 2002, followed by Rivas’ own version, La Mano del emigrante, in Castilian (2002). Vermeer’s Milkmaid is his first short story collection to be published in English translation (2002).

Andrés Neuman: El viajero del siglo (Traveler of the Century)

El viajero del siglo/ Travelers Century (Premio Alfaguara 2009)(Spanish Edition)
Adriana Herrera reviews Andrés Neuman's El viajero del siglo (Traveler of the Century)

En 1999, Roberto Bolaño profetizó que la novela del siglo XXI le pertenecería a Andrés Neuman y a unos cuantos de sus hermanos de sangre en la literatura. En el acta de premiación de El viajero del siglo, ganador del premio de Novela Alfaguara 2009, presidido por Luis Goytisolo, el jurado confirmó su visión: destacó el asombro que produce esta historia, que ``recupera el aliento de la narrativa del siglo XIX, escrita con una visión actual y espléndidamente ambientada en la Alemania post-napoleónica''.

El viajero del siglo contiene los géneros del Siglo de las Luces --la novela epistolar, la novela de tesis, la novela romántica y las crónicas de viajes-- pero los revive con la consciencia del autor del siglo XXI que hace meta-literatura, escritura sobre la escritura, sin deslindarla de lo visceral, y que plantea una apuesta totalizadora. Neuman reconstruye en efecto los dilemas filosóficos y políticos esenciales de la Europa de la Restauración a partir de una historia con elementos de suspenso, e incluso policíacos, que entrevera con la literatura romántica de un modo insólito.
Click to continue to read the article

Andrés Neuman, a novelist, poet and short story writer who was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires and is considered among the most promising Spanish-language authors in recent years.

Is works include the novels "Bariloche", "La vida en las ventanas" and "Una vez Argentina" and three short story collections, "El que espera", "El ultimo minuto" and "Alumbramiento".

El viajero del siglo won the Alfaguara's Novel Prize in 2009.

Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations

Roberto Bolano: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations 
William Skidelsky reviews Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview and Other Conversations.
This compilation of interviews seems destined to inflame the legend more than it will further the truth. Bolaño didn't often give interviews, and it is apparent from the ones featured here – including his last, to Mexican Playboy, months before he died – that he didn't take them too seriously. His answers tend to be playful, deflecting. Asked why he "always take(s) the opposite view of things", he responds: "I never take the opposite view of things." Asked what feelings "posthumous" works awaken in him, he replies: "Posthumous, it sounds like the name of a Roman gladiator." But Bolaño's often withering assessments of other writers and of the literary establishment ("The Royal Spanish Academy is a cave full of privileged cranums") are well worth reading, and there's an illuminating introduction by Marcela Valdes, which explains in detail how Bolaño came to find out about the killings in Ciudad Juarez that formed the basis of his masterpiece, 2666.
Click to continue to read the article

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Exile and Literature

Roberto Bolaño's Viena speech.
He sido invitado para hablar del exilio. La invitación me llegó escrita en inglés y yo no sé hablar inglés. Hubo una época en que sí sabía o creía que sabía, en cualquier caso hubo una época, cuando yo era adolescente, en que creía que podía leer el inglés casi tan bien, o tan mal, como el español. Esa época desdichadamente ya pasó. No sé leer inglés. Por lo que pude entender de la carta creo que tenía que hablar sobre el exilio. La literatura y el exilio. Pero es muy posible que esté absolutamente equivocado, lo cual, bien mirado, sería a la postre una ventaja, pues yo no creo en el exilio, sobre todo no creo en el exilio cuando esta palabra va junto a la palabra literatura.

Click to read the full text.