A Vision of Battlements by Anthony Burgess

A Vision of Battlements

 

A Vision of Battlements by Anthony Burgess

English fiction

Source – Personal copy

I have over the years I have been blogging talked about my love of Anthony Burgess for me he was one if not the best English writer of the later 20th century. I did a post of all the books I got over a year ago since then this came out as the Manchester University Press has been bringing out some of his out of print novels. This was the first in that collection the Irwell collection it has a lengthy intro by Burgess biographer Andrew Biswell who is also director of the International  Anthony Burgess Foundation. There is also the previous intros from the earlier books the only piece that is missing is the illustrations that were in the first edition a series of cartoon depictions of the story.

Ennis, sergeant Richard Ennis, A.V.C.C , lay in his hammock on the sergeants’ troop deck, shaping his miond, behind his closed eyes, against the creacks and groans of the heaving ship, a sonata for Violoncello and piano. He listened to the sinuous tune of the first movemnet with its percussive accompaniment, every note clear. It was strange to think that this, which had never been heard except in his imagination, never been commited to paper, should be more real than the pounding sea, than the war which might now suddenly come to particular life in a U-Boat attack, more real than himself, than his wife. It was a pattern that time could not touch, it was stronger than love.

Like Burgess Ennis is a composer Burgess often felt himself more a musician that a writer.

A vision of Battlements is partly based on Burgess own experience at the end of the second world war and the time just after the war. He was like the hero well anti Hero of this book Richard Ennis based on that small British island of Gibraltar. Like Burgess Ennis has a job teacher troops about The British way and purpose which was a collection of essays the war office had brought together to illustrate the British way to the everyday squady. Ennis is a musician a heart that loves music and poetry and really has ended up there by the fact of being drafted into the Army. He teaches the students in his own way. But he is viewed as a left winger when he gives his talks. He also has a problem with Authority he frequently clashes with his commanding officer. Major Muir a man sidetracked to the position he is in and one that has invented his own history that finds Ennis a bright younger man a threat and someone to worry about.  This is the everyday life of the Gibraltar post the argument of the men and the way they lived the frequent drunkenness of the men. Ennis is allowed to go into Spain here he falls in love with the poetry of Lorca and decides to translate him and he gets into trouble with the Christain brother who views these poems as godless. Ennis then also has relations with a local widow.

Major Muir was a regular W.O 1 with a first class ceritficate of Education. Wounded early in the war, he had been commissioned as a lieutenant in the army Educational Corps, then transferred, with promotion, to this newer organisation. He had delusions of grandeur and had invented fantasies about himself – the many books he had written, the many universities he had attended.He spoke often ungrammatically, with a homemade accent in which Cockney diphthongs stuckout stiffly, like bristles. His ignorance was a wonder

.Muir and ennnis don’t get one it is rather like the dads army pair of Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson

Now this book was actually the first book he wrote. He finished it in 1953 and put it to one side when he had published a few books in 1961 he gave it to one publisher they passed on it and in 1964 he gave it to the publisher that published the book. The book came from a series of blue notebooks Burgess kept whilst he was posted to Gibraltar doing much the same things as his hero Ennis was doing there is also a nod to Burgess great writing Hero Joyce he used the Aeneid as a loose frame to the book like Joyce had used odyssey in Ulysses. So certain names echo ones in the Aeneid Iabrus is Barasi and Turnus becomes Turner a character that is a complete opposite to Ennis. This book has a sprinkling of the comic the sort of view of army life that only those that have lived in the barracks can see and write about. Ennis was written about the same time as Amis wrote Lucky Jim and they are similar in a number of ways both are loved in a way by those they teach and mistrusted by those around them and also have trouble with the authoritarian figures in the world. This book has been out of print for forty year which is a shame as it is an interesting slice of world war two history not heroic but that everyday side of the army when you are in a place that isn’t near the front line but still needs to be manned. Burgess referred to this as wasted time and a huge chunk of his life. I will be back sometime soon with another Burgess as I still have a lot to cover for this blog.

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Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura

 

Cult X by Fuminori Nakamura

Japanese Crime fiction

Original title – Kyōdan X (教団X)

Translator – Kalau Almony

Source – review copy

I read this a few months ago and decide I have a flick through it today it was one of those books I read and said got do a review and then life and everything got in the way. Anyway, Fuminori Nakamura is one of Japan’s leading crime writers he has won a number of prizes with his books including the Kenzaburo Oe prize one of the biggest book prizes in Japan he has been writing since his early twenties He has had a number of his books Translated into English. The events in this book were inspired by the events that lead up to the Sarin Attack in 1995 in Tokyo and the cult behind it. Strangely as I was reading this in the summer members of that cult were executed in Japan.

“…Cult X?”

What a strange name, Narazuki thought. Like the name of some trashy TV show.

“Have you told the police about this scam?”

“Matsuo-san didn’t want to” Yoshida said, lookinf fed up. “Because of whatever that old connection is between Matsuo-san and Sawatari.I don’t know the details”.

It bega to grow dark outside. Narazaki felt as though the lights inside were growing stronger – manmade lights stretching out everyone’s shadow

When he hears about Cult X he also has a feel of darkness drawing in around him !!

This follows one man as he tries to find his girlfriend. Toru Narazaki girlfriend has disappeared off the face of the earth and he is worried enough in the start to hire a private detective to try and find her. He only turns up that a cult is now connected to one-off her addresses. This is how Toru ends up following what Happened to Ryoko Tachibana also she is known as Rina. Toru has an interest in religion he has been attending talks by a man known as Matsuo.this leads to a dark cult called X which Toru is drawn into as we see the philosophy of its leader through lectures and discussions. She is in the groups compound he needs t get there but behind the fence is a world of a cult with power tri[ps sexual activities  violence and a leader that has lost it and is drawing his followers near the abyss of something that could end their lives but also of a lot of other people as he has brainwashed them so much. This all unfolds nicely as we follow Toru in the rabbit hole of a cult.

The leader was sitting in the dark. At first the woman thought he was sleeping, but then he made a slight movement, as if something small had gotten caught in his thrat. His eyes open briefly.

She examined his face carefully, but the leader closed his eyes again. It was like he had already forgotten the previous moments discomfort.He kept his eyes closed, even though right in front of him were many naked men and woman with only bath towels covering their bodies.

“Today is Monday,” Maeda-Kun said. His voice carried well. He had good posture. He was kind. And he wasn’t the only one – everyone here was kind.

The leader and his naked disciples all isn’t as it seems here.

This book is a writer question what happened with the 1995  Sarin Attacks and the cult and its leader that lead the attack. It is strange I have listened and seen a number of things about cults in the last twelve months. The last series of American Horror story had a cult as it’s storyline this showed how easy it is for ordinary people to get drawn into a cult when they have a few problems in their life. So the fact that Ryoko has a past she hasn’t ever talked about with Toru means this secret made her a perfect target for the cult and their Leader as she was damaged in a WayI also listen to a podcast about the Heavens Gate Cult which liked this showed how the Leaders tend to cherry pick the bits of different philosophies they like and mix them to there own end this is what the first part of the book shows is the ideas behind the cult and shows how when they have been brought by the followers they do the horrific events in the later third of the book which lift that dark curtain of the sex and violence and the abuse of power within the Cult it a slow-burning novel that draws the reader in with the last third that is engrossing and horrifies in equal parts. This is a beautiful book as well Soho has made a real effort in the hardback with the Huge X cut in the hardcover showing the devilish illustrated endpapers in the book.

 

Tropic of Violence by Nathacha Appanah

Tropic_of_Violence.jpg

Tropic of Violence by Nathacha Appanah

Mauritian fiction

Original title – Tropique de la violence

Translator – Geoffrey Strachan

Source – review copy

I often wonder when I review a book from one of the more unusual places around the world if I will ever review another book by the same writer. That was what I wondered over the years when I reviewed Nathacha first book to be translated into English The last brother that was eight years ago , I had seen a copy of another of her books had come out in the US last year which I had been looking at getting so when this dropped through my letterbox I was excited to be reading her writing again. This is set on another French colony of Mayotte which at the time I wrote the review of The last brother she was living of the island of Mayotte this is from her experiences of this distant island.

She points to one of the baby’s eyes. I don’t understand, i can see nothing , the baby’s asleep. ashe becomes impatient, she points to her two eyes, then to mine, then to those of the baby. Oh, is your baby blind ? She shakes her head vigorously ad suddenly the baby begins to wriggle, smacks its lips once or twicce, as if it is searching for the nipple and the young woman holds it out to me as you might do with something theat both frightens you and disgusts you. I don’t know why I take this baby that’s being handed to me and the infant stretches out in my arms and this warm little body snuggling up to me is wonderful, The child opens its eyes. the mother shriks back against the bed.

His mum is scared of him due to his eye colour but what happened to this young woman.

This is the tale of a sons journey to discover who he really is the story opens with Marie she is a nurse the books opens with her story of a failed marriage and her not having her child with her husband this is how she ended up in Mayotte working as a nurse in the frontline of the city so when one day a Baby that has one green and one dark eye that his teen mother feels has the curse of the Jinn on it Marie adopts this baby. She calls him Moise for the first few years of his live everything is great he is in a private school a dog called Bosco after his adoptive Mums favorite writer Henri Bosco. But he is a teen and being raised in this all-white world in a way he knows he is different he questions his background. Then the worst happens his world falls apart when Marie dies so the young boy takes his mom backpack and the boy and the river and sets of to Gaza the large Slum near the capital of Mayotte this brings him into conflict with the head of a local gang Bruce he also meets a policeman Called Oliver and a volunteer called Stephane as the young man tries to discover his past but also tries to survive in the present as Bruce sees him as bad as the white people that come to the  slum to help out.

La Teigne told me about you, he told me he’d met a Black Muzungu but he thought you were African, a proper negro, one of them who wears shirts and trousers and speaks Frenc, not one of them dying in the gutter in rwanda, the Congo or Somalia. He said you followed him everywhere like a dog, that you put your hand into your pocket without a second thought and you were  called Mo and had a weird eye. Weird that’s the word he used, the dumb bastard.

Bruce in Gaza the Slum when Mo first goes there and is seen in a certain way by them.

This has some similar traits to the earlier books a boy struggling for identity which was a thread in the earlier book The last brother. Another common theme is that of identity her it another boy struggling with his childhood and being different. This has been a theme of many books of the years. There is something Dickens at times the story of Moise fits neatly into a Dickens-like story adoption having a good life the losing it could almost be Great Expectations. There is also something a bit Magic realist to this as well the sense of Moise journey that reminded me at times of Marquez writing that sense of viewing the world the way he did is something that we see with Moise.Also the thread of the book by Henri Bosco a writer I haven’t read yet but will be doing at some point.  There is something of a commentary on the place itself Mayotte. This distant colony has struggled with its large refugee population slums which have led to riots on this far-flung piece of France. This won a  big prize for female writing in France the Prix Femina Des Lyceens a prize for Female fiction which is chosen from a shortlist of ten by high school kids.

Inspector Cadaver by Georges Simenon

 

Inspector Cadaver by Georges Simenon

Inspector Cadaver by Georges Simenon

Belgian fiction

Original title – L’Inspecteur Cadavre

Translator William Hobson

Source – library book

I had another couple of books set aside for 1944 club but started one and didn’t get into it and the other was rather long so I had picked this up in the library last week after thinking Had Simenon wrote any books in 1944. Not that hard to imagine he hadn’t as he wrote 700 novels in his life and there is a good chance he had written some books in 1944. He turned out to have written three Maigret books that year This and as the earlier title was Maigret and the fortuneteller and Maigret and the toy village the later I knew as it was used as one of the earlier ITV Maigret series with Micheal Gambon called Felice. Now it has a common theme with this book as well.

“You don’t need anything ? I was forgetting … let me show you the w.c..”

The Men shake hands, and then Maigret undresses and gets in bed. He hears noises in the house. from very far off in his half sleep his ears cathc what sounds like the murmuring of voices , but it sonns fades awaym and the house becomes quiet as it is dark.

He falls asleep, of thinks he does. He keeps seeing the dismal face of Carve, who had to be the most miserable man on this earht, and then he dreams that the apple-cheeked maid who waited on them at dinner is bringing him his breakfast.

Magiret arrives and meets carve and dreams of him and the local maid that first nifght in the village.

Felice like Inspector Cadaver sees Maigret outside his home turf of Paris. He heads to a small village like in Felice. This time he is doing a favor for a Judge friend. The brother in law of the Judge Etienne Naud a landowner in the village of Saint Aubin Les Marias. On January 7 a man was killed by the train the Albert was crushed by a train.The young man had a connection to the Naud family.  Now the Judge is worried as he brother in law has said the rumor going around is that he has done it and Maigret is asked to go and try and find out what happened. When he arrives he sees another man that he has known in the past a former Policeman that Maigret had a run in whilst they were both still policeman the man Carve was called Inspector cadaver by his fellow officers. He wasn’t the best policeman what is he doing in the village. As Maigret starts to ask questions around the village everyone is silent. But as it becomes clear what sort of man Maigret is and that is a man of truth and justice the locals start to open up about the event before and during that fateful night.

The question Maigret had been turning over in his mind since the previous evening was this;  was he staying with decent sorts who had nothing to hide and were extending their warmest welcome to a guest from Paris, or was he an undesirable outsider whom examining Magistrate Brejon had thoughtlessly imposed on a non plussed household who would gladly have dispensed with his services.

Maigret gets there and feelslike the Nauds doin’t really want him there.

I was reading this earlier in the week and Kaggyy put up her review of this book as well. I left reading it so I had read the book and thought what I thought of the book. This has part of what we haven’t seen yet in the recent Maigret tv series and that is him outside Paris he was in one of the new books but it did link back to Paris this is a story set in the Village. I had the Gambon Maigret in mind for this story as he seems o more suited in my mind to the ones outside Paris he actually did what Simenon did there and Kaggy point out and that he tended to side with the common folk in the story this especially in Felice where he sided with the young woman in the village  that everyone else had problems with he was a man of the poor and the underdog . he is also like a terrier dog as a detective not graceful more get stuck in and the clues are there and he goes around at times he is quite blunt in this book. Then there is also the story of his old rival as a second storyline the story of how Carve was made to leave the police. Another enjoyable book in this series and it brings to eight of the Maigrets I have reviewed there is still a lot to go in the series hopefully next club will also have one to review !!

Anthea Bell RIP

Anthea Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today the translation community got the sad news that one of the best-known Translators of the last fifty years had passed away. Anthea Bell is a name readily known too. She had translated a lot of the books I read pre-blog so was a translator. She was best known for her work on the Asterix series. She said in an interview “It’s all about finding the tone of voice in the original. You have to be quite Free”. Klaus Flugge said of Anthea -” Anthea has a talent that not every translator has for catching the mood of a book. Some are a bit more wooden and some try to take too many liberties. She has a knack of hitting the right style and atmosphere,” I was a huge fan of she had featured in a dozen review of her translations over that last eight years of the blog. I had picked my three favorites from the blog.

A minutes silence by Siegfried Lenz – One of the Gruppe 47 writers that post-war set alight German Literature. This is the tale of a doomed romance between a teacher and Pupil.

The glory of life by Michael  Kumpfmüller – The book tells the story of Kafka’s final days as he falls for a younger woman first on the Baltic coast then through Berlin.

Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig – the tale of Ludwig and his love for a married woman was a novella that Zweig worked on for y=twweig translations were simply stunning works of translation. I also enjoyed here Sebald Translation.

Have you a favorite Bell translation?

The dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist

Image result for the dwarf par lagerkvist

The Dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist

Swedish fiction

original title – Dvärgen

Translator – Alexandra Dick

Source – personal copy

When Simon and Kaggy announced the 1944 club, I searched the list of books published that year and this was one that jumped out at me especially when I saw the cover. Par Lagerkvist was a Nobel winner. He grew up in a house where the books he had to read were the Bible and the book of common prayer. But in later life he didn’t turn against religion he was a socialist but had a deep interest in what man his symbols and God. What man’s position is in that world. This book is a perfect example of what he did in a lot of his writing question what is good and Evil.

What abput the Prince ? Does he suspecgt nothing? or maybe everything?

It looks as thpugh the matter of her secret life did not exist for him. But cannot tell, with him one can never be quite sure of anything. He consorts with her in the daytime, and it seems as though he himself were daytime in person , for he is so utterly irrahited with the light of day. It is odd that such a person should be  beyond my comprehension – just he! but perhaps that is because I am his dwarfm and again – he does not understand me either !

This passage does make you wonder is Piccoline is just another side of the Prince .

The book is narrated from the point of view of the dwarf of the title he is the court Jester  Piccoline. He is in the court of an Italian Principality. He has the ear of the prince. He is also told secrets by other members of the court such as their lovers and who is doing what which gives him a greater insight into the inner workings of the town. But this little guy has a real twist of evil in him he is a true Machiavellian figure. The town they live in is in many a feud with the local towns. This is et in the 15th century Italy around the same time as some of the other villages built great big towers here they have hired Bernardo to do some painting (This character could be a version  Leonardo Da Vinci) The town could be Milan but the time and place isn’t ever really mentioned so for me it is just a mixture of tale of the time when Italy was made of small towns and states that were at constant battle what is the problem here is the dwarf they all see as just a jester in a way is twisting them and helps the prince when he has to poison someone for the Prince he does this as he hates the person but he hates everyone around him he isn’t the jovial figure they think he is as we see how he sees the downfall of his town and the violence he has in part he has unleashed.

I am no blasphemer. It was they who blasphemed, not I , but the prince had me clapped in irons for several days. The little jest had been intended to amuse, but I had to spoiled it all and the guests had been very upset, almost scared. There were no chains small enough so they had to be specially mad, and the smith thought it was a great deal of trouble for such a short sentence. But the prince said that it might be as well  tohave them another time. he let me go sooner than he had planned

Again is the dwarf real  and does the prince really see the dark side of him and what he has inside him .

I was drawn in by Piccoline narration of his life he is truly a dark figure. He is maybe more of a dwarf on the inside and that is the question is he a real figure or maybe just the dark side of the Prince of the town. His dark inner child in a way the acts and thoughts of Piccoline has that childlike way of seeing good and evil as he views the world as very black from his mere 26 inches. This is the reason I love events like 1944 club is they make you look out older books. I have always tried Nobel winners when I have seen their books around second hand so I would have got to Lagerkvist at some point but this coming out in 1944 meant I got to it sooner. Lagerkvist does seem to question through Piccoline what our actions are when we are faced with violence and conflict around us. A lost gem of world literature as this seems to be out of print at the moment!!

Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte

Kaputt

Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte

Italian Novel

Original title – Kaputt

Translator – Cesare Foligno

Source – personal copy

Now, it is a nice coincidence that my last read for NYRB fortnight happens to tale in with the 1944 club that officially starts tomorrow. There is a lot of talk recently about Autofiction being a trend but it has been around for years and here is a perfect example of Autofction. Curzio Malaparte was an Italian writer he was sent by an Italian paper to cover the eastern front. This book is what he observed and is an account of the inner workings of the Germans and how they were in eastern Europe during the final years of the war as he saw the end was near.

During the summer of 1941 i was in Pestchanka, a village in the Ukraine, and one morning I went to visit a large Kolkhoz close by  the village; the Kolkhoz Voroshilov. The Russians had left Pestchanka just two days before. It was the largest and richest Kolkhoz I had ever seen . Everything was left in perfect order but the cattle shed and stables were empty; there was not agrain of wheat in the granges, not a blade of hay in the lofts. A horse was limping  around the farmyard; it was old , blind and lame. At the end of the yard, under a long shed, were ranged hundreds upon hundreds of agricultural machines , mostly of Soviet manufacture, but many were Hungarian and some were Italian, germans , swedish and American. The retreating russian had not set fire to the Kolkhoz, to the ripe crops, or to the forest of sunflowers seeds.

He shows how the Russians didn’t leave behind ruins when the Germans taken over the countryside.

The book starts as the reporter at the center of the story is in Sweden after spending time in Finland this is a reporter with connections as the opening page sees him in the company of a Swedish prince. Then he is sent to Ukraine where he first sees the brutal side of the \german forces. this is based around real events he saw in 1941 in Ukraine. Then in the Balkans, as he goes around he chronicles the brutal and violent nature of the Germans and their views of the people whose countries they have occupied.as the book moves on he starts to see the cracks in the German regime. When Leningrad happened it seems in this as it proved a turning point. One of the hardest scenes in the book is where he is shown around the Ghetto and how proud the Germans were of this but he shows how there were so many people living in such a small space. This is a glimpse behind the lines of world war two and the Nazi when they were still at the top but the downfall had started by the end of the book.

The German soldiers returning from the front line, when they reached the village squares, dropped their rifles on the ground in silence. They were coated from head to foot in black mud, their beards were long, their hollow eyes looked like the eyes looked like the eyes of the sunflowers, blank and dull. The officers gazed at the soldiers and at the rifles lying on the ground, and kept silent. By then the lightning war, the blitzkrieg, was over, te Dreigjahrigerblitzkrieg, the thirty year lightning war had begun. The winning war was over, the losing war had begun.

Malaparte sees the war turning in the face of the soldiers returning from the front.

This is one of those books I wasn’t sure I would like to read Malaparte himself is a questionable character. But he did manage to get inside the German regime and see far more than many other people did the inner workings from the Generals and leaders hobnobbing it and living it largely to those in charge of the Ghetto, those SS troops and the horror of what was happening to the Jews and others around Eastern Europe. Through the disdain, the troops on the ground felt as the war was turning near the end of the book. What makes this readable is the way Malaparte describes the world and the is unblinkered in the full horror of what he was seeing. You feel the decay decadence sheer horror of this world where the people were turning a blind eye to the horrors or saw what they were doing as normal. Malaparte used his own experience in this novel and he used them to make the episodic nature of the book it has no real plot as such just follows a narrator as he observes the places he is sent to and the people he meets. The cover is also wonderfully creepy. This is a great example of Autofiction and makes some of the modern versions seem pale in comparison.

Midnight in the century by Victor Serge

Midnight in the Century

Midnight in the century by Victor Serge

Russian fiction

Original title –  S’il est minuit dans le siècle

Translator – Richard Greeman

Source – Personal copy

I left it to the last weekend to cover my last two NYRB fortnight reads. The first is the second book by Victor Serge I have covered on the blog I reviewed Conquered city a few years ago I went out and got a few more books from him. Serge had an interesting life growing up in an exiled family in Brussels at the turn of the century he was a firebrand and an anarchist in France in 1912 he was sentenced to five years and then expelled to Spain in 1917. He went to Russia in 1919 and joined the Bolsheviks and after that worked in the communist Press service until in 1928 he fell foul of the government and then in 1933 was arrested by Stalin’s police and held for 80 days and the sent in exile in Orenburg a remote city in Russia. He left Russia after two years there.

Mikhail Ivanovich Kostrov, who was not at all superstitous, had a feeling that things were about to happen in his life, They were heralded by almost imperceptable signs. So it was for his arrest. There had been the perculiar tone of voice with which the rector had told him: “Mikhail Ivanovich, I’ve decided to suspend your course for the moment …. you’re up to the directory.* aren’t ypou ? ” Fear obviously, of allusions to the new political turn “So” the rector continued, “prepare me a very short  course on Greece”.

The start of the troubles and Exile for Kostrov when he is called in and arrested.

That two years in Exile is the backbone to this novel and is about a city of Exiles. Chenor also called Blackwaters is where these exiles all live. The place is a mix of Old Bolsheviks like Rhyzik and the narrator, young workers Rodion a man that has taught himself and a splattering of Orthodox church believers and all those that Stalin didn’t want are thrown into the melting pot that is Chenor. It is an insider view into what it was like in Stalin’s Russia as we find out how people got there the fear that everyone at the time lived under the hopelessness of being stuck in exile and no chance of escape. This is the burnt embers of those that shone brightly but were stubbed out by Stalin’s policies and violent regime. We see how Kostrov at the start of the book is sold out by a colleague that was the reason he ended up in Exile. The book sees one of them trying and succeeding in escaping the city.

The forest line grows darker at the horizon. A little over two centuries ago, peasants fleeing serfdom built this little town on the bluff overlooking the river bend. They thought they had gone far enough into the inclement North to be forgotten. They were only half right, but what could they do? however far you flee, your grandchildren will have to flee one day in their turn.

This captures the hopelessness of living in Chenor set up by those that fled serfdom has now trap those there two centuries later.

This is one of those books that draw you into the world he saw that of being an exile and also of living in everyday  Stalin Russia where no one is what the seems. The dreams of the early days of the Bolshevik revolution seems very far and distance in the Russia they are living in. I have read other accounts from the like of Arthur Koestler Darkness at noon (strange the title has a similar tone to the title of this book) also Solzhenitsyn wrote about the cruel nature of the Stalin regime. This is an Orwellian world from the start when our main character is sold out by a colleague at work. Serge is one of those writers that is able to turn his own experience no matter how dark and black they were into touching and heartfelt prose in this great translation.  This is another example of why over the last ten years of the blog I have slowly been buying NYRB books my only wish is they were easily available to buy locally I have brought a few in Sheffield but most I have to buy online. Have you read Serge.

 

DSC prize Longlist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONGLIST ANNOUNCED FOR THE DSC PRIZE FOR SOUTH ASIAN
LITERATURE 2018
16 novels including 4 translated works in contention for the coveted prize
New Delhi, October 10, 2018: The much anticipated longlist for the US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian
Literature 2018 was announced today by eminent historian and academic Rudrangshu Mukherjee, who is the
chair of the jury panel for the distinguished prize. The longlist of 16 novels which was unveiled at the Oxford
Bookstore in New Delhi includes 4 translated works where the original writings were in Assamese, Kannada,
Tamil and Hindi. The longlist features six women authors and three women translators, and two outstanding
debut novels that find place alongside the works of several established writers. The longlist represents the best
of South Asian fiction writing over the last year and includes submissions from a diverse mix of publishers and
authors of different backgrounds writing on a wide range of issues and themes. The novels include stunning
portrayals of migration, war and the pain of displacement, poignant love stories, the exploration of new found
relationships and identities, and vivification of the personal struggles, hopes and aspirations that symbolize the
urgent and divisive realities of contemporary South Asian life. Apart from authors based in South Asia there are
writers based outside the region who have incisively and evocatively brought alive the subtle nuances of South
Asian life and culture. The longlist announcement event was attended by publishers, authors and literary
enthusiasts who welcomed the selection of the longlist.
This year the DSC Prize, administered by the South Asian Literature Prize & Events Trust, received 88 eligible
entries and the five member international jury panel diligently went through these entries to arrive at this year’s
longlist of 16 novels which they feel represent the best works of fiction related to the South Asian region.

The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018 are:
 Anuradha Roy: All The Lives We Never Lived (Hachette, India)
 Arundhati Roy: The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness (Alfred Knopf, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Canada)
 Chandrakanta: The Saga Of Satisar (Translated by Ranjana Kaul, Zubaan Books, India)
 Deepak Unnikrishnan: Temporary People (Penguin Books, Penguin Random House, India)
 Jayant Kaikini: No Presents Please (Translated by Tejaswini Niranjana, Harper Perennial, HarperCollins
India)
 Jeet Thayil: The Book Of Chocolate Saints (Aleph Book Company, India and Faber & Faber, UK)
 Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire (Riverhead Books, USA and Bloomsbury, UK)
 Manu Joseph: Miss Laila Armed And Dangerous (Fourth Estate, HarperCollins, India)
 Mohsin Hamid: Exit West (Riverhead Books, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House, India)
 Neel Mukherjee: A State Of Freedom (Chatto & Windus, Vintage, USA and Hamish Hamilton, Penguin
Random House, India)
 Perumal Murugan: Poonachi (Translated by N Kalyan Raman, Context, Westland Publications, India)
 Prayaag Akbar: Leila (Simon & Schuster, India)
 Rita Chowdhury: Chinatown Days (Translated by Rita Chowdhury, Macmillan, Pan Macmillan, India)
 SJ Sindu: Marriage Of A Thousand Lies (Soho Press, USA)
 Sujit Saraf: Harilal & Sons (Speaking Tiger, India)
 Tabish Khair: Night Of Happiness (Picador, Pan Macmillan, India)

About the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature:
The US $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature which was instituted by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula
in 2010, is one of the most prestigious international literary awards specifically focused on South Asian writing.
It is a unique and coveted prize and is open to authors of any ethnicity or nationality as long as the writing is
about South Asia and its people. It also encourages writing in regional languages and translations and the prize
money is equally shared between the author and the translator in case a translated entry wins.
Now in its 8th year, the DSC Prize has been successful in bringing South Asian writing to a larger global audience
through rewarding and showcasing the achievements of the authors writing about this region. Past winners of
the DSC Prize have been H M Naqvi of Pakistan, Shehan Karunatilaka of Sri Lanka, Jeet Thayil and Cyrus Mistry
from India, American author of Indian origin Jhumpa Lahiri, Anuradha Roy from India, and Anuk Arudpragasam
of Sri Lanka who won the prize last year.
In line with its South Asian essence, the DSC Prize Award ceremony is held in various South Asian countries by
rotation. The winner of the DSC Prize 2015 was announced at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India, the winner
of the DSC Prize 2016 was announced at the Galle Literary Festival in Sri Lanka, the winner of the DSC Prize 2017
was announced at the Dhaka Lit Fest in Bangladesh, whereas the winner of the DSC Prize 2018 would be
announced in a South Asian country which is being finalized. For more information, visit: www.dscprize.com 

Another day and today see the longlist for the DSC prize for south Asian literature.I hope to read the four translated books on the longlist.

 

Warwick women in translation prize Longlist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

it is the second year of the Warwick women in translation prize

 

The 2018 prize is once again being judged by Amanda Hopkinson, Boyd Tonkin and Susan Bassnett. Last year the inaugural prize was awarded to Memoirs of a Polar Bear (Portobello Books, 2017), written by Japanese-German writer Yoko Tawada and translated from German by Susan Bernofsky.

 

The competition received a total of 53 eligible entries representing 22 languages. The longlisted titles include 9 novels, 3 collections of short stories, 2 memoirs and one work of literary non-fiction, and cover 9 languages, with German, Polish, Croatian and Swedish being the most represented. 10 publishers have had their titles included on the list, with Maclehose Press, Portobello Books, Fitzcarraldo Editions and Norvik Press submitting multiple nominees.

I have linked to my reviews of books I have read great see so many books I have enjoyed I have read over half the list and may try a coule of the books I havent read yet which books Have you read

The full list of longlisted titles is as follows:

 

Bang by Dorrit Willumsen, translated from Danish by Marina Allemano (Norvik Press, 2017)

 

Belladonna by Daša Drndić, translated from Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth (Maclehose Press, 2017)

 

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2017)

 

Go Went Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from German by Susan Bernofksy (Portobello Books, 2017)

 

Hair Everywhere by Tea Tulić, translated from Croatian by Coral Petkovich (Istros Books, 2017)

 

Land of Smoke by Sara Gallardo, translated from Spanish by Jessica Sequeira (Pushkin Press, 2018)

 

Letti Park by Judith Hermann, translated from German by Margot Bettauer Dembo (The Clerkenwell Press, 2018)

 

Maybe Esther by Katja Petrowskaja, translated from German by Shelley Frisch (4th Estate, 2018)

 

1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink, translated from Swedish by Fiona Graham (Scribe Publications, 2017)

 

Of Dogs and Walls by Yuko Tsushima, translated from Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt (Penguin, 2018)

 

River by Esther Kinsky, translated from German by Iain Galbraith (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018)

 

The Emperor of Portugalia by Selma Lagerlöf, translated from Swedish by Peter Graves (Norvik Press, 2017)

 

The House with the Stained-Glass Window by Żanna Słoniowska, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Maclehose Press, 2017)

 

The White Book by Han Kang, translated from Korean by Deborah Smith (Portobello Books, 2017)

 

Vernon Subutex One by Virginie Despentes, translated from French by Frank Wynne (Maclehose Press, 2017)

 

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