samedi, mai 24, 2008


A Persian translation of John Barth’s first novel, The Floating Opera, recently won a literary prize in Iran. According to a story published on the Tehran Times Web site, Barth would’ve been happier about the award if he had approved the publication of the translation:

In a letter to the Qoqnus publishing company, American novelist John Barth has asked Iranian publishers to publish the copyrighted books only with the permission of the copyright owners.

However, he stated that it is a great pleasure for an author to see that his books are translated into other languages and published in other countries and that he feels honored by the recent publication of his 50-year-old novel in Iran.

John Barth was not the first writer who objected to the unauthorized publication of his book in Iran, [Qognus managing director Amir] Hosseinzadegan added.

He explained that many foreign publishers do not sign agreements with Iranian publishing companies and many of them who sign agreements are not satisfied with their royalties since book prices are much lower in Iran compared to Western countries.

vendredi, mai 16, 2008


Il était passé sous le radar – là ou se situe, après tout, l’essentiel de ce qui est vivant (paranoia will destroy you) – on est allé le chercher, on le rapporte, on le conseille. Vollmann aussi (« A beautifully written catalogue of various kinds of unhappiness..). Il y a pire complicité.

The literary debut by the Iowa-born, Valley-based Nulick is a hallucinatory, pitch-black love story — set in Phoenix — that incorporates references as far afield as Hitler, Marilyn Manson, Warhol, Nabokov, Kafka, skateboard culture, beekeeping, the old let's-put-LSD-in-the-municipal-water-supply trick, and tow-truck drivers who've been driven to drink by hellcats on wheels.
"I tell people it's a love story," Nulick says. "It's about people who get obsessed with other people in ways that are unhealthy, plus there's kind of a riff on schizophrenia in there."
Ya think?

vendredi, mai 09, 2008



L’art de la fugue, les derniers quatuors à corde de Beethoven, l’Othello de Verdi, Parsifal….Adorno s’était intéressé au « late style » des compositeurs, le quatuor Brentano s’est intéressé aux « late works » dans une série de concerts données ce printemps. « Examining late style » : parmi les intervenants conviés à écrire un texte pour le programme, Richard Powers. Un texte intitulé dénouement.

« Stories start in last things. As T. S. Eliot writes at the end of “East Coker,” “In my end is my beginning.” I hear in this conclusion no supernatural paradox, but simply the everyday fact of how narrative works. We wait to see where a story lands. Only then can we say what the journey means. The act of reading consists, in Peter Brooks’s memorable phrase, of “the anticipation of retrospection.” In the unreflective time of daily life, the past is fixed and gradually forecloses on the open future. In the reflexive time of narrative, the pre-existing future constantly changes the mutable past. You read page ten, already knowing it will mean something very different by page 300. And sure enough, by page 300, page ten has changed utterly, although it remains word for word the same. Page ten posts itself forward, waiting for page 300 to intercept and reinterpret it. And every new page added to a story alters every page that generated it, all the way up until the end, when the last page changes all. So it goes when we listen to the story of an entire life: late style seems to hold the secret of arrival, the key to reinterpreting everything that has come before. The Tempest magisterially deepens all previous revels. Finnegans Wake reveals the consummation of a process now retroactively clear in the earliest experiments of Dubliners. We can’t help ourselves: we carry along inside us the sense of an inexorable narrative arc: exposition, development, climax and denouement. But for all that we know of growth — its broadening and deepening, its sometime slowing, perhaps its darkening — the shape of the final work is never inevitable. Shakespeare, in fact, wrote more drama after Prospero. Joyce died planning another book about adventure and the sea. Perhaps half the meaning that we find in last wills and testaments lies not in late style but in ourselves. Frank Kermode opens his consummate book, The Sense of an Ending, with a question: what sound does a clock make? Many languages say something like English’s tick tock. But for the clock, of course, there is no tock. Listen closely, and be surprised: it’s pure tick, all the way out to the horizon. As Kermode says, “Men die in mediis rebus, and to make sense of their span they need fictive concords with origins and ends.” We are born in the middle of things, we grow in the middle of things and we die in the middle of things. It’s not enough. We want a bigger story, some truth that only a transcendent last word can deliver. We age, yes. Grow, certainly. We stumble forward toward some obscure destination. We rewrite always, given more time. But maybe it’s just that provisional, interrupted, eternal revision that we’re left with. Perhaps when we listen to an artist’s last word, we might give it space to mean something even more than consummation. Maybe we should hear in arrival just the draft of a draft of something else that might have come along, given more time. Remember that denouement does not mean summing up. It’s just a fancy term for untying. There is no end, except in again beginning. » Richard Powers


On en a déjà parlé - et on en reparlera.

Belgian author Paul Verhaeghen tonight secured a double honour from the Independent foreign fiction prize for his novel Omega Minor. The £10,000 purse has hitherto been divided between author and English translator for "an exceptional work" of foreign language fiction by a living author. But this year Verhaeghen, who himself translated the book, is entitled to take the full prize for himself - although he does not plan to do so.

"It's always amazing when people like your work, and it's absolutely amazing when four leading intellectuals say it's the best book they've read all year," Verhaeghen said after learning of his victory. However, while he is delighted to receive the endorsement, he has decided not to take the money. "Part of this book is about the rise and aftermath of Fascism in Nazi Germany. And it's hard to miss the analogous things happening in the US. I refused the Flemish Culture award after I realised around $5,000 (£2,555) of the winnings would go to the US treasury. So this time, I decided to give the money to the American Civil Liberties Union, which works for civil rights. The money won't be liable for tax."
Moving back and forth through the last century, Omega Minor, translated from the Dutch, is a story of love and death on the grandest possible scale. Its whirlwind plot takes in Berlin, Boston, Los Alamos and Auschwitz, and characters including neo-Nazis, a physics professor who returns to Potsdam to atone for his sins, a Holocaust survivor going over his trauma with a young psychologist and an Italian postgraduate who designs an experiment that will determine the fate of the universe.

The book is Paul Verhaeghen's second novel and his first to be published in English. Aside from his writing career, Verhaeghen also works as a cognitive psychologist where his work focuses on memory and ageing. He currently lives in Atlanta, where he is associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The book has sold well in Germany, Holland and France and his publishers will be hoping for repeat success in the UK in the wake of the prize. Antonia Byatt, director of literature strategy at award sponsor Arts Council England and the non-voting chair of the judges, said: "I am delighted Paul Verhaeghen has won ... It is a highly ambitious novel which tackles some of the major issues of our time. He deserves such recognition in England, not only for his remarkable writing but also for his huge achievement in translating his own work."

Verhaeghen said he undertook to translate his own work after the Flemish Fund for Literature commissioned some trial translations from other people, and I didn't recognise my own voice. It was the first time I realised I could have an English voice." The resulting book, he explained, "is maybe more American than the original, but I can still recognise it as my novel."

The judges for the prize were literary editor of the Independent, Boyd Tonkin; writer and teacher Abdulrazak Gurnah; literary editor of Le Monde Florence Noiville; and Arts Council England literature officer Kate Griffin.

Boyd Tonkin described the book as "one of those fantastic, big, rich exciting novels that turn up from time to time. If you're looking for comparisons, they would be the Don DeLillo of Underworld and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. It is vast and sprawling - and I think it's OK to say that it is quite uneven, because 80% of it is absolutely brilliant."

Le Jour J

Le jour idéal pour un come back, non?

Freebird Books, Brooklyn, Là ou il fallait être?

3 pm, Sunday, May 4
JUST ADDED!!! Thomas Pynchon birthday bash

Mark your calendars for the literary event of the season: Thomas Pynchon turns 71 and Freebird Books and greater Red Hook won't let him forget it.

Join us for a backyard barbeque and fax-a-thon celebrating America's greatest literary cipher. We'll dine on foodstuffs famously vomited by Gravity's Rainbow's Tyrone Slothrop: burgers, homefries, chef's salad with French dressing, Moxie, after-dinner mints, Clark bars, salted peanuts, and "the cherry from some Radcliffe girl's old-fashioned."

And yes, we'll be faxing birthday greetings to the great elusive one via the miracle of outmoded techology. One fax per customer, please. Please check your Kakutani hate mail at the door.

What? You want more?! OK, OK, we'll be screening a rarely-seen Italian documentary and giving away lots of foolish prizes.