It’s a Good and beautiful Friday here (and the start of my favorite month) so I’ll keep this post fairly short and just touch on a few things I’ve been listening to and reading.
Before that, congratulations are due to Finnish-Estonian author Sofi Oksanen for winning the Nordic Council Literature Prize for her novel Purge.
Purge will be published this month by Grove Atlantic and the publisher’s website describes the novel as “a haunting portrait of two generations of women, the ghosts of Estonia’s Soviet occupation, and the cruel realities of contemporary Europe.”
If you enjoy listening to podcasts you’ll want to check out the Reading the World podcast hosted by the ubiquitous Chad Post of Three Percent/Open Letter and translator and poet Erica Mena.
They are off to a good start with these podcasts, which have so far featured interviews with Lawrence Venuti, Susan Harris, and Suzanne Jill Levine.
The World Books podcast by Bill Marx is fascinating and includes over thirty interviews with writers and translators such as Hungarian novelist Ferenc Barnas (who appeared in Absinthe #6), Dubravka Ugresic, Norman Manea, and Susan Bernofsky.
Both podcasts can be downloaded at itunes.
I read Pierre Guyotat for the first time with Semiotexte’s publication of Coma, translated by Noura Wedell. What can I say about it? It’s not an easy read but is a complexly poetic account of the writer’s descent into physical and mental illness.
And today, as many begin to celebrate forgiveness, I completed Philippe Djian’s novel Unforgivable, translated by Euan Cameron and published by Simon & Schuster.
An entertaining read and not surprisingly being made into a film like some of his previous work. This film is said to star Carole Bouquet, who made quite an impression on me as a young man in her Chanel no. 5 commercials (featuring the great Nina Simone and her song “My Baby Just Cares for Me”, and directed by Ridley Scott).
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