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WNOR 2013 Book Preview

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Posts tagged book preview

When we posted our first half book preview in January, we promised to return in July with a second installment. Although we missed that deadline by just a little (cough, cough), we have returned with an epic Fall Book Preview. As previously stated, our tastes dictated the list and we make no claims to comprehensiveness, thoroughness, or even good taste.

Enjoy! — Eds.

August

  • Joshua Comaroff & Ong Ker-Shing, Horror in Architecture (Oro Editions). Title says it all, doesn’t it?
  • Jason Schwartz, John the Posthumous (OR Books). One of the most unusual pieces of fiction published this year. Best start here.
  • Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq (trans. Humphrey Davies), Leg Over Leg volumes 1&2 (NYU Press). A previously untranslated classic of Arabic literature by a writer compared to Rabelais and Sterne.

September

  • Georges Perec & the Oulipo (trans. Monk, Mathews and Sturrock), Winter Journeys (Atlas). A short story about an imaginary book spawns twenty successive stories. Ladies and gentlemen, the Oulipo!
  • Keith Ridgway, Hawthorn and Child (New Directions). This mind-boggling play on the mystery novel starts with a guy getting shot by a ghost car—the car, not someone in it—and gets weirder by degrees.
  • Léon Genonceaux (trans. Iain White), The Tutu (Atlas). The “strangest novel of the 19th century,” according to Marc Lowenthal.
  • Mary Ruefle, Trances of the Blast (Wave). Ruefle’s first collection of poetry since her wonderful Madness, Rack and Honey.
  • Sherry Simon, ed., In Translation - Honouring Sheila Fischman (McGill-Queen’s University Press). A festschrift for Canada’s prolific literary translator. Contributions by: Alberto Manguel, (the late) Michael Henry Heim, and other literati.
  • Jeff Jackson, Mira Corpora (Two Dollar Radio). A coming-of-age tale for those who came to age with David Lynch.
  • Travis Jeppesen, The Suiciders (Semiotext(e)). Kind of like Mira Corpora, but with more self-mutilation and parrots. Read an excerpt at 3:AM Magazine.
  • Robert Walser (trans. Damion Searls), A Schoolboy’s Diary and Other Stories (NYRB Classics). Fans of Jakob von Gunten should check out this collection by the “clairvoyant of the small.”
  • Pitigrilli (trans. Eric Mosbacher), Cocaine (New Vessel). Worth buying just for the “I’ve got Cocaine in my bag” jokes you can make. Here’s the Complete Review’s take.

October

  • Pierre Mac Orlan (trans. Napolean Jeffries), Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer (Wakefield). A satirical guide to the art of passive adventuring. 
  • NYRB Poets (ed. Mary Ann Caws), Pierre Reverdy (NYRB Classics). An anthology of the great French poet’s work, with translations by Kenneth Rexroth, Frank O’Hara, Lydia Davis, and others.
  • Sergio Chejfec (trans. Heather Cleary), The Dark (Open Letter). A subtle and oblique novel, written in Chejfec’s signature style, that works along the borders of memory and reality.
  • Jeremias Gotthelf (trans. Susan Bernofsky), The Black Spider (NYRB Classics). A terrifying supernatural tale in an excellent new translation. Yes, there’s a giant spider.
  • Orly Castel-Bloom (trans Dalya Bilu), Textile (Feminist Press). Another withering satire by Israel’s most corrosive novelist.
  • Roderigo Rey Rosa (trans. Jeffrey Gray), The African Shore (Yale). A haunting novel about a Columbian of uncertain means stranded in Tangier.
  • Eduardo Lago (trans. Ernesto Mestre-Reed), Call Me Brooklyn (Dalkey Archive). A kaleidoscopic novel about writers and artists in NYC.
  • Robert Lax, Poems (1962-1997) (Wave Books). A monumental collection by the hermit of Patmos.
  • Luigi Serafini, Codex Seraphinianus (Rizzoli). The legendary Codex, written in an imaginary language, gets a new release.
  • Various authors (and translators), The Library of Korean Literature (Dalkey Archive). A collection of ten never previously translated novels from Korea.
  • Marek Hłasko (trans. Ross Ufberg), Beautiful Twentysomethings (Northern Illinois University Press). The first English translation of the 1966 autobiography of a great writer and Poland’s own rebel without a cause.
  • Mircea Cărtărescu (trans. Sean Cotter), Blinding (Archipelago Books). A bestseller in Romania, this hallucinatory book, the first of a trilogy, is one of the year’s most interesting novels.
  • Herbert Read, The Green Child (New Directions). A fantastical tale with a philosophical undercurrent that riffs on Plato. This new edition of Read’s only novel features an intro by Eliot Weinberger, adding him to the book’s other distinguished admirers: T. S. Eliot, Graham Greene, Kenneth Rexroth.
  • Jean-Christophe Valtat, Luminous Chaos (Melville House). The second novel in Valtat’s steampunk Mysteries of New Venice trilogy, with plenty of dirigibles.
  • Alphonse Allais (trans. Doug Skinner), Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks (Black Scat Books). An unabridged and illustrated collection of “the peerless French humorist”, who was later revered by the Surrealists for “his elegant style and disturbing imagination.”
  • Martin Vaughn-James, The Cage (Coach House Books). The return of a classic proto-graphic novel.

November

  • Anne Carson, Nay Rather (Sylph). A cahier featuring an essay and poem by Carson, along with illustrations by Lanfranco Quadrio.
  • David Ohle, The Old Reactor (Dzanc). Catch up with Moldenke in this sequel to Motorman!
  • Renee Gladman, Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge (Dorothy). The final installment of Gladman’s Ravickian trilogy. 
  • Jean Ferry (trans. Edward Gauvin), The Conductor and Other Tales (Wakefield). The first full translation of Ferry’s pataphysical tales, which in the original French were favorites of the Surrealists.
  • César Aira (trans. Chris Andrews), Shantytown (New Directions). If you were waiting for the ever-mutating Aira to write a noir, your day has come.
  • Peter Handke (trans. Martin Chalmers), Storm Still (Seagull). A series of monologues exploring the often tragic lives of Slovenes in Austria.
  • Rachel Shihor (trans. Ornan Rotem), Stalin is Dead (Sylph). Parable-like stories inviting comparisons to Kafka. Read an excerpt at Asymptote.
  • Rafael Bernal (trans. Katherine Silver), Mongolian Conspiracy (New Directions). Francisco Goldman says it best when he calls Mongolian Conspiracy ”The best fucking novel ever written about Mexico City.”
  • Josef Winkler (trans. Adrian West), When the Time Comes (Contra Mundum). Winkler’s chronicle of a rural village in Austria, rife with tragedy, is a dark entertainment.
  • Reggie Oliver, Flowers of the Sea (Tartarus Press). More strange stories from a writer deemed a master of the form since his first two collections: The Dreams of Cardinal Vittorini and The Complete Symphonies of Adolf Hitler.
  • Philippe Jaccottet (trans. Tess Lewis), Seedtime: Notebooks (Sylph). Jaccottet’s notebooks collect precise evocations of the natural world and limpid reflections on the arts.
  • Yves Bonnefoy (trans. Beverly Bie Brahic), The Present Hour (Seagull). The latest collection from the great French poet.
  • Ivan Vladislavić, Double Negative (And Other Stories). In which our two protagonists choose three houses to visit from a hill in Johannesburg. 
  • Alona Kimhi (trans. Dalya Bilu), Lily La Tigresse (Dalkey Archive). Another wicked satire from Dalkey’s Hebrew Literature Series.
  • László Krasznahorkai (trans. Georges Szirtes), The Bill (Sylph). An eleven-page sentence on Palma Vecchio, a 16th century Venetian painter. 
  • Amina Cain, Creature (Dorothy). A beautifully written collection of short experimental stories.
  • Curzio Malaparte (trans. David Moore), The Skin (NYRB Classics). Malaparte’s The Skin returns in the first unexpurgated English edition.

December

  • Hilda Hilst (trans. John Keene), Letters from a Seducer (Nightboat). If The Obscene Madame D is any indication, this novel from Hilst will be a wild, metaphysical ride.
  • Wiesław Myśliwski (trans. Bill Johnston), A Treatise on Shelling Beans (Archipelago Books). An earthy and comic novel from the author and translator of the Best Translated Book Award winner, Stone Upon Stone.
  • Raul Zurita and Forrest Gander, Pinholes in the Night (Copper Canyon). An anthology of Latin American poetry.
  • Igor Vishnevetsky (trans. Andrew Bromfield), Leningrad (Dalkey Archive). A contemporary novel of the Siege of Leningard, mixing elements of the absurd and avant-garde. 
  • Antonio Muñoz Molina (trans. Edith Grossman), In the Night of Time (HMH). A sweeping historical novel set in the days leading to the Spanish Civil War.
  • Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (trans. Joanne Turnbull), Autobiography of a Corpse (NYRB Classics). NYRB’s second offering of Krzhizhanovsky’s dark, bizzare, philosophical short stories.

January

  • Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (trans. Antonina W. Bouis), Definitely Maybe (Melville House). The Strugatskys brought us Roadside Picnic, which became Tarkovsky’s cult film Stalker. That in itself is enough reason to read this comic romp. Yes, romp.
  • Ben Marcus, Leaving the Sea (Knopf). A collection of stories from the author of Notable American Women.
  • Mikhail Shishkin (trans. Andrew Bromfield), The Light and the Dark (Quercus). The second of Shiskin’s novels to be translated into English, told in the form of letters between lovers.

The WNOR First Half of 2013 Book Preview (January-July)

With no aspirations to completeness or claims about this being the only book preview you’ll need to consult, we present a selection of books we’re excited to see published in the first half of 2013. Our reading tastes dictated the list: included are a lot of translations, works published by small presses, and reprints of out-of-print books. We’re undoubtedly missing some gems and have deliberately skipped over titles you’ll see previewed elsewhere, but hope our offering points you in the right direction nonetheless. A second half preview will follow in July.

Happy new year and happy reading. — Eds.

January

  • Ludwig Hohl (trans. Donna Stonecipher), Ascent (Black Square Editions). A short gem about two mountaineers and two bad decisions, from an overlooked Swiss writer.
  • Alejandro Zambra (trans. Megan McDowell), Ways of Going Home (FSG). The darling of Latin American literature returns with this, his third playful and tender novel to be translated into English.
  • Scott Esposito and Lauren Elkin, The End of Oulipo? (Zero Books). A critical examination of the role and future of the Oulipo.

February

  • William Gaddis (ed. Steven Moore), The Letters of William Gaddis (Dalkey Archive). This promises to be an illuminating collection of letters from the spotlight-wary Gaddis. Including correspondence with notable figures like William Gass, Saul Bellow, Robert Coover, and others.
  • Georges Perec (trans. Daniel Levin Becker), La Boutique Obscure (Melville House). Will answer the burning question: did Perec’s dreams operate under constraints?
  • William Gerhardie, The Polyglots (Melville House). A reprint of a novel called by William Boyd “the most influential English novel of the twentieth century.” A welcome addition to Melville House’s excellent Neversink Library.
  • Arnon Grunberg (trans. Sam Garrett), Tirza (Open Letter). The latest novel by Grunberg, who has also published fiction under the pseudonym Marek van der Jagt, to be translated into English is perhaps his darkest yet.
  • Christa Wolf (trans. Damion Searls), City of Angels or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud (FSG). Christa Wolf’s last novel, set in Los Angeles.
  • Jacob Slauerhoff (trans. Paul Vincent), The Forbidden Kingdom (Pushkin). The early 20th century Dutch classic, included on the list of “1001 Novels You Must Read Before You Die,” finally available in English.

March

  • William Gass, Middle C (Knopf). The prolific Gass’ third novel and first since his legendary Tunnel.
  • Daniel Spoerri, At the Museum of Natural History: An Incompetent Dialogue? (Kerber). Spoerri, a visual artist and writer (see our earlier post) embarks on a project comparing his work with the collection of the Vienna Museum of Natural History.
  • Anne Carson, Red Doc> (Knopf). A sequel of sorts to Carson’s long poem/novel Autobiography of Red.
  • Robert Desnos (trans. Terry Hale), Liberty or Love! and Morning for Mourning (Atlas). Two novellas by Surrealist poet Desnos, now available in the U.S.
  • Severo Sarduy (trans. Mark Fried), Firefly (Archipelago). A richly lyrical coming of age tale of a boy with a head too big and a sense of direction too poor to do anything but get him into trouble in pre-Castro Cuba.
  • Nathalie Sarraute (trans. Barbara Wright), Childhood (Univ. of Chicago). A reprint of Sarraute’s memoir, with a new forward by Alice Kaplan.
  • Renata Adler, Speedboat and Pitch Dark (NYRB). Two eagerly anticipated reprints of books that have been inexplicably languishing out-of-print for years.
  • E.M. Cioran (trans. Richard Howard), The New Gods (Univ. of Chicago). Reprint of a collection of brooding essays and aphorisms by the inimitable Cioran.
  • Jean-Marie Blas de Robles (trans. Mike Mitchell), Where Tigers Are At Home (Other Press). A massive tale of intrigue spanning centuries, with 17th century scholar and man of dubious science Athanasius Kircher at its heart. Winner of the Prix Medicis.

April

  • Italo Calvino (trans. Martin McLaughlin), Letters 1941-1985 (Princeton). Will hopefully reveal all sorts of dirt on Raymond Queneau.
  • Carlos Rojas (trans. Edith Grossman), The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico Garcia Lorca Ascends to Hell (Yale). A fantastical tale about the death and afterlife of poet Garcia Lorca, translated by Edith Grossman.
  • Luis Chitarroni (trans. Rhett McNeil), The No Variations (Dalkey Archive). A classic of Latin American metafiction compared to the work of David Markson and Cesar Aira.
  • Elfriede Jelinek (trans. Damion Searls), Her Not All Her (Sylph Editions). Jelinek takes on Robert Walser in this play about the writer’s life and work.
  • Stig Dagerman (trans. Steven Hartman), To Kill a Child (Godine). A collection of stories by one of the most famous forgotten Swedish writers.
  • Agnieszka Kuciak, Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist (White Pines Press). The title says it all.
  • Ulf Peter Hallberg (trans. Anderson & Cassady), European Trash (Sixteen Ways to Remember a Father) (Dzanc). The first title in Dzanc’s Disquiet imprint, which will bring more translated literature to English-language readers.
  • Danielle Collobert (trans. Nathanael), Murder (Litmus Press). Collobert’s first novel, published by Editions Gallimard in 1964, captures the zeitgeist of the period of the Algerian War.
  • Santiago Roncagliolo (trans. Edith Grossman), Hi, This is Conchita (Two Lines Press). Two Lines expands its publishing venture with this comic novella—told entirely in dialogue—from Premio Alfaguara de Novela winner Roncagliolo (Red April).

May

  • Jorge Luis Borges (trans. Katherine Silver), Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature (New Directions). A previously untranslated collection of Borges’ lectures on English literature.
  • Adam Bodor (trans. Paul Olchvary), The Sinistra Zone (New Directions). A black comedy about a man who’s job it is to guard blueberries at a bear preserve in Eastern Europe.
  • Kenneth Cook, Wake in Fright (Text Classics). This 1961 novel has been called “the greatest outback horror story” and is here reprinted by Text Classics.
  • Imre Kertesz (trans. Tim Wilkinson), Dossier K (Melville House). A self-interview that blends memoir and fiction written by the oddly neglected Nobel laureate.
  • Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo (trans. Levine & Campbell), Where There’s Love, There’s Hate (Melville House). Husband and wife team and collaborators with Borges brought back into print.
  • Franz Fuhmann (trans. Isabel Fargo Cole), The Jew Car (Seagull). A collection of searing stories examining a life lived under the shadow of National Socialism.
  • Marie NDiaye (trans. Jordan Stump), All My Friends (Two Lines). This collection of stories follows the publication of Prix Goncourt winner NDiaye’s acclaimed novel Three Strong Women.

June

  • Guy Davenport (ed. Eric Reese), Guy Davenport Reader (Counterpoint). A collection of essays and stories by the lamentably overlooked Davenport that will hopefully remind people of his greatness.
  • Mario Santiago Papasquiaro (trans. C. Heinowitz & A. Graman), Advice from 1 Disciple of Marx to 1 Heidegger Fanatic (Wave Books). A translation of the book length poem by the co-founder of infrarealism. Readers of The Savage Detectives will recognize Santiago as the Ulises Lima of the novel.
  • Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Seiobo There Below (New Directions). An introduction to a strand of Krasznahorkai’s oeuvre that might surprise some readers.
  • Ror Wolf (trans. Jennifer Marquart), Two or Three Years Later: Forty-Nine Digressions (Open Letter). An “anti-book” of short stories by a writer who mines a similar vein as two Roberts: Walser and Pinget.
  • Samuel Beckett, Echo’s Bones (Grove). Eighty years after it was written, this little known story by Samuel Beckett will come as a welcome addition to the libraries of completists.
  • Curzio Malaparte, Coup D’Etat (Enigma Books). Subtitled “The Technique of Revolution,” this is a translation of the book that earned Malaparte a jail sentence in Mussolini’s Italy. Malaparte’s novel The Skin will be reprinted by NYRB Classics this spring.
  • Jules Supervielle (trans. Terry & Kline), Poems of Jules Supervielle (Black Widow). During his lifetime, Supervielle was praised highly by T.S. Eliot; perhaps this new translation will help resuscitate his posthumous reputation.
  • Simon Leys, The Hall of Uselessness (NYRB). At long last, the great Australian essayist’s work is gathered in a selection ranging from topics as diverse as Chinese history (of which Leys is a scholar) and “the Quixotism of the sea.”
  • Sibylle Lewitscharoff (trans. Katy Derbyshire), Apostoloff (Seagull). A novel of bitterness and reckoning by an award-winning German writer.
  • Stephen Romer (ed.), French Decadent Tales (Oxford). Translator Stephen Romer collects thirty-six dark and darkly humorous tales from 1880-1900, including short stories by Maupassant, Leon Bloy, and Georges Rodenbach.

July

  • Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone (FSG). A whopping 2600-page collection of the Italian poet’s notebooks. This is the first time the notebooks have been made available in their entirety in English. 
  • Marguerite Duras (trans. Ali & Murphy), L’Amour (Open Letter). A previously untranslated novel by Marguerite Duras.
  • Almantas Samalavicius, The Dedalus Book of Lithuanian Literature (Dedalus). A century-spanning collection of Lithuanian literature, reflecting the culture’s changing political and artistic position.
  • Alexander Kluge (trans. Martin Chalmers), Air Raid (Seagull Books). Kluge’s book about the near total destruction of his German hometown during World War II, finally published in English. With an appreciation by W.G. Sebald.

Forthcoming (no publication date listed)

  • Emil Hakl (trans. Marek Tomin), The Witch’s Flight (Twisted Spoon). A dark chronicle of the consequences of an inexplicable crime.
  • Bruno Jasienski, (trans. Gauger & Torr) The Legs of Izolda Morgan (Twisted Spoon). A classic of Polish Futurism, published along with Jasienski’s manifestos and later pieces.
  • Pierre Mac Orlean (trans. Napolean Jeffries), A Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer (Wakefield). A tongue-in-cheek guide for the armchair adventurer.
  • Jean Ferry (trans. Edward Gauvin), The Conductor & Other Tales (Wakefield). A collection of humorous stories by noted screenwriter and member of the College of Pataphysics.
  • Miklos Szentkuthy, Towards the One and Only Metaphor (Contra Mundum). The second book in the eight-volume St. Orpheus Breviary, written by an author who was praised as “out-Prousting Proust.”