Women in translation

I had initially mention doing a best of 2013 ,but have since decide to bring ten female writers in translation I have enjoyed on the blog .I like many others would love to see a few more female writers translated ,I probably do have a slight bias of reading male writers ,but have in recent times tried to add a few more female writers in translation to my reading .As it international women’s day it seem a great time to share some of my favourite female writers and there books from around the world .I will keep trying to add female writers in translation to the blog .

sidewalksValeria Luiselli is a Mexican writer I have reviewed two of her books on the blog .Sidewalks and Faces in the crowd .Sidewalks is a series of essays mainly about cites and walking .Faces in a crowd set in new york is a novel about a women an old poet and writing a wonderful book .Valeria is my favourite female writer in translation .

stones in a landslideIts hard to believe this was one of the first books from Peirene and it is one I still think of a lot ,stones in a landslide is a story of Conxa her life in the small villages of the pyrenees .

The rest is silenceNow top chile and Carla Guelfenbein one of the rising stars of Latin American fiction .We follow Tommy a young boy ,whose mother has died ,as he uncovers what really happened to her .

revenge by Yoko OgawaNow Yoko Ogawa writes dark short stories I have reviewed two of her books on the blog Revenge and diving pool .I loved revenge its clever series of recurring motifs and other worldliness makes it a stunning collection .

Train-to-Budapest-Maraini-DaciaNow Dacia Maraini is a name that wheneveer the Nobel prize betting appears ranks high ,she is an Italian writer I have only reviewed train to Budapest on the blog .But have three more I need to get to over the next year or so including Silent duchess her best known book .

summer bookNow I was a later comer to Tove Jansson I had read a moomin book as a kid but it wasn’t til I started Blogging I discovered her adult books .She wrote two books summer and winter book about her life on a small island both are gems .

hunger angelNow the German writer  Herta Muller has won the Nobel prize and is another of my favourite female writers ,I have reviewed Nadirs ,the passport  and her most recent book The hunger angel .Her books look over the dark past of communism and her use of language is very unique .

Until-Thy-Wrath-Be-PastAsa Larsson is one of the best Nordic crime writers I have review her book Until thy wrath be past one of the series she has written about Rebecca Martinsson .

trieste dasa drndicDasa Drndic book was shortlist for the IFFP last year it is the story of a women born under the lebensborn programm of Nazi regime ,but also the history of the Italian Jews during the war a list of every Jew from Italy that died is a strong reminder of what happened .

ekaterinfrontcover_50b7770928f02I ve lastly picked Marija Knezevic a Serbian writer for her book Ekaterini follows the history of the Balkans but also what it was to be a women during those times .

So there is ten female writers in translation ,I could added lots more maybe if you could suggest some ? that would be great .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Pushkin press fortnight 2014

I would  like to welcome you all to the first  Pushkin press fortnight two weeks celebrating one of the true champions of fiction in translation in the Uk .For me they have brought a number of names to me as a reader , that I wouldn’t have read other wise ,the biggest of course is Stefan Zweig but also modern writer like Andres Neuman ,Peter Stephen Jungk and Pietro Grossi .

Some recent reviews from me are

Pushkin_JackMortimer

 

I was Jack mortimer by Alexander Lernet-Holenia - tense noir is fictrion ,as a man takes over a dead man’s identity .

parrots Flippo BolognaThe parrots by Flippo Bologna Italian wrioter compete for a to[ prize one is young one in the middle of his career and another considered a great writier near the end of his career .

traveller of the centuryTraveller of the century by Andres Neuman the wonderful book set in Europe a wonderful book on translation book shifting realities one of the best books of recent times also he has a new short story collection out soon .

This next two weeks I ll be reviewing two books from Stefan Zweig Amok and other stories and Journey into the past .The break by Pietro Grossi and Oliver VII by Antal Szerb all of which I have read I also have Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and from the fatherland with love by Ryu Murakami to try and read .

Have you a favourite book from Pushkin press ?

 

 

That was the month that was Jan 2014

20140202-142508.jpg

Well I got 2014 off with a bang I managed to review 19 books on the blog which is the most I have acheived for a couple of years  and I  have read 16 books also my best ever start for a year .So I decide it is about time I brought back the month end round up posts  .A great start here is what I read in January -

  1. the art and craft of approaching your head of department to submit a request for a raise by Georges Perec france
  2. The confusion of young Törless by Robert Musil Austria
  3. Naomi by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki Japan
  4. Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon Belgian
  5. Miruna ,a tale by  Bogdan Suceavă Romanian
  6. The restaurant of love regained by Ito Ogawa Japan
  7. Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop – Phane france (review in march )
  8. The people in the photo by Helene Gestern france (review in feb)
  9. The lonely hearts club by Raul Nunez argentina
  10. The last day of a condemned man by Victor Hugo France
  11. Botchan by Natsume Soseki Japan
  12. The space between us by Zoya Pipzad Iran
  13. The infatuations  by Javier Marias spain
  14. The castle of whispers by Carole Martinez France
  15. The front seat passenger by Pascal Garnier france
  16. Crumbs by Miha Mazzini  Slovenia

As you see a real mix but with French novels and Japanese to the fore .I think the real gem of the month is Zenith Hotel a book that comes out in march but one that I read and instantly called the best book I had read for a long time .I enjoyed taking part in Tony’s January in Japan event again .

Books read 2014 to date – 16

Countries read from – 9

Next month – Well Pushkin press fortnight is at the end of the month I have a couple I read last year to review for that and also halfway through a couple on my kindle .I’ve a new French crime series to start .

What were your highlights for January ?

The German lottery by Miha Mazzini

Mazzini

The German Lottery by Miha Mazzini

Slovenian fiction

Translator - ,Urska Zupanec

Source – review copy via his agent

Orginal title Nemška loterija

Well I was happy to get an email from the US agent of Miha ,whom I had mentioned in a post about literature from Slovenia ,I had also not known I had read a short story from him that was the first translated story to be featured in the Fiction desk collection of stories .Miha Mazzini is a slovenian writer and filmmaker ,his website tells me he has written 27 books all of which have at some point been translated into other languages ,he has written two award-winning screenplays and also made five films to name a few things more info at his website here .

“Good day ,comrade .Are you Zora Klemenc ?”

“Yes ?”

“A registered letter .Can you prove your indentity ?”

“Gladly comrade postman ,just wait a minute “

“What pride I took in saying those words ! A profession dosen’t only need a uniform ,it needs its own language that sounds strange to the uninitiated ,new words that knit us into a community .

Toni first meets Zora and the letter what is that about ?

The German lottery is set in 1950′s ,but has a feel of a story that could have only be written after the fall of the iron curtain we join Toni a young post man who is drawn into a world of the German lottery after he deliver a package to a women ,the scheme run by the women’s husband ,also  he gets the locals to play the German lottery and thus make some money ,giving  them hope and  a little wealth to the poorest of the locals ,at first Toni thinks he is doing the world of good .But all is not as it first seems and then things fall apart ,but he has also fallen in love which adds to the complications around the story .

Pass me a handkerchief , please

would the magic chain still work ?

Well sure .Everything built on greed is timeless .

I’ll tell you tomorrow …..

the closing lines at a much later time  post communism greed is still there .

Miha has pulled of something great in this book using the past to reflect the present .Greed is the driving force in this book as the locals see what a glimpse of the west can bring forth through the winnings they are seeing .But there is more to this it isn’t as it seems and poor old Toni are the hero in this book is a bit naive and is drawn into a dark world of someone making more money than he imagine from the poorest people around him .This reflects a lot of the modern world ,I read an interview in translation with Miha where he said it was meant to reflect what has happened in Slovenia since communism fell ,I did say on twitter the other day talking about this book the other day it was a dark post communist satire ,but then didn’t follow up why and this is the reason reflect how one small village is driven crazy by greed now reflects the wider world of post communist europe .So thanks to his agent for sending it as they said it is one that seemed to have fallen between the holes in the reviewing world This is part of the reason I love my blog and the ability to bring books like this to you my readers so you can get the chance to break the normal cycle of what your told to read and find something different !!

What gems have you discovered like this one by chance or through a kind person connected to the writer ?

Stoner ,stoner how many translations could be discovered like stoner

Well unless you’ve been under a rock for last couple of years .you won’t have missed the rise and rise of Stoner a slow climber a writer book it is said ,I enjoyed it but maybe not as much as others the style had the soft spoken style you find in a number of European writers ,this as I start considering a review of stoner , set me thinking of how many stoners are out there either translated and out of print or not even translated ? For me the answer is more than we imagine every year sees a few gems that have been waiting for a publisher to take a dive to translate or a publisher to reissue people like pushkin press , Peirene ,NYRB , Dalkey archive and twisted spoon have in recent years all discover gems Walser ,Zweig , Fallada , Vanderbeke to name a few of many .I’ve been buying and looking at books towards my century of translation project and am amazed what has been translated and fallen out of print .So let’s hope the next stoner is a translation and sets about a wave of rediscovery of lost writers from around the world ?
have you a writer in translation you think should be highlighted ?

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Englands group teams for world cup 2014 the literature of our opponents

Well as many of you that follow the blog know I am a huge football fan and as I type the world cup groups for 2014 Brazil are being drawn live on tv so as we wait and see if it runs smoothly .We sit with baited breath as the draw carring on who will England get  ? I will of course  nearer the  time I may do another post about the Literature of the other teams in the world cup like I did four years ago. But for  today I focus on the three teams that England face in the world cup we will be playing

Uruguay

garden of silica

Well I ve not many Uruguaian  books under review just one Garden of Silica by Ida Vitale the well known Uruguainan poet .Other well known writers from Uruguay are Eduardo Galeano and Juan Carlos Onetti are probably the two most well known to us in English .I will be reading one or more before June .As for the players of Uruguay well Diego Forlan played for united that I support and of course Luis Suarez is very well know to most English football fans

Costa Rica

cadence of the moon

Óscar Núñez Olivas is the only name I know of in English easily available I will be looking more in depth at this I have on a couple of occasions when Costa rica first qualified to find a book from there and the Olivas on a year of reading was the only one that jump out more research may turn up another .As for players I had to look up their national team and find a player I knew well .Then saw there captain is a Fulham player Bryan Ruiz and scored this blinding goal .

Italy

parrots Flippo Bologna

Well the relief I ve a lot of Italian books under review on Winstonsdad .I had two in my top ten books this year ten by Andrej Longo and the parrots by Flippo Bologna .I m sure next year will have more italian books to add to the 23 under review on the blog .As for a player it has to be the bad boy of Italian football the former Manchester city player Mario Balotelli.So as they call him some super Mario goals .

Well we have the heat of the Amazon   and not the  easy group ,but it could be worse and I can’t wait for the games .Come on England#

How was your Draw for the world cup ?

Winston’s year the books

Well it’s that time of year when people start putting across the best of list .I have decided to do my best of year ,given the focus of the blog it is going be just translations ,I will not I have read The luminaries and lowland both on a lot of best of list I liked both but haven’t got round to reviewing them yet ,so I’m not mentioning them .As for other books in English not translated my favourite by far is The boy from Aleppo who painted the war by Sumia Sukkar the first I ve read around the current Syrian conflict .So to the top ten of 2013 .

the mirror of beauty

The mirror of beauty by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi 

I reviewed this yesterday as I want it fresh in people’s memorey the rest of the list is books I have loved but by far this is my book of the year .An epic following the mother of a well-known Urdu poet in 19th century India and actually in an update to my previous review due out in the UK may 2014 .

My review 

the son Andrej Nikolaidis

The son by Andrej Nikolaidis 

A son wander around the port town of Ulcinj and thinks about his father and the history of this town .Andrej shared his love of my next book in the list  and its influence on this book .

My review Thoams Bernhard the loser Faber Finds

 

The loser by Thomas Bernhard 

Glenn Gould in Vienna blows away two music students and we see the aftermath of a touch with a Genius on two people’s lives .

My review 

ten Andrej Longo

Ten by Andrej Lingo 

A short story collection based round the ten Commandments ,around the dark underbelly of the city of Naples .This also reignited a real love of short stories in me ,more about that at a future date .

My review

TD-covers

Mother departs by Tadeusz Różewicz

A son looking back on his mother ,growing up ,world war two and his brother from the foremost living Polish poet .A wonderful mix of prose and poems .

My review 

my fathers' ghost is climbing in the rain

My fathers ghost is climbing in the rain by Patricio Pron 

Certainly if i had a side prize for the best title of the year this book would easily walk off with it .A son returns to Argentina and discovers more about his father than he thought .

My review 

A man in Love

A man in love by Karl Ove Knausgaard 

I love the first part of this collection and had hopes it would carry on and was surprised part two was  even better Karl now with kids and a struggling writer in the fictionalized version of his life ,can’t wait for part three next year .

My review 

Brief loves that live forever

Brief loves that live forever by Andrei Makine

I have loved his other books a glimpse at soviet summers of the past and fleeting romance and lives .Makine back on form here .

My review 

parrots Flippo Bologna

The parrots by FlippoBologna

A gem of a book about writers and a book prize we meet three unnamed writers at three stages in the career as they wait to see if they have won the big book prize .

My review

sidewalks

Sidewalks by Valeria Luiselli

A collection of non fiction writing from the wonderful Mexican writer mainly on the journey of discovery like looking for a grave in Venice .

My Review  

 

Hello all, I ‘m back

Dad , Milly  and Myself

Well I have been off-line for over two weeks which I think is the longest break I have had since I started this blog .Now return after that time I find myself rather like a new starter feeling my way again ,I feel a slight lose of confidence ,but I have had a busy few weeks I found out my father had collapsed at home and need to have a pacemaker fitted ,this has played on my mind a lot recently and was actually the icing on the cake of 2013 that has leapt from one thing to another all year . But as you can all see from the updated books read in 2013 I have been reading as much if not more than normal as I have passed 100 books read for the fourth year in a row .I have found solace in my books ,they offer me a way to forget my own personnel woes and escape into another world ,I have also spent  time with Amanda and visiting my dad for the day as he lives quite far from me .So I return to the blog after all this looking forward to joining in German lit month but also with a real sense of wanting to clear my backlog of read books and transform them into reviews before time runs out on 2013 ,so 2014 can be an easier year with less catch up on my blogging  and in general as I feel 2013 has been a bad year for myself .So tomorrow I return with a review of Stoner by John Williams  ,a book which I have tossed and turned over how to review .I will be slowly commenting on everyone’s posst as I am now off work for ten days .

Nobel Prize for Literature 2013 is Alice Munro

Well it’s that time of year again when we stare into the world of Literature and try to guess the winner of Nobel prize it is like shooting minnows in a swimming pool many names mentioned this time the usual Nadas ,Murakami ,Djebar and Munro .New Names like Alexievich ,Fosse and Marias this year who knows the betting seems to point to Svetlana Alexievich as favourite a late run on Thoig’o and Djebar at this time half hour before this time Nobel have provide an Embedded feed here

Thanks for Lisa for heads up on this

The winner this year is Alice Munro The short story writer

Here is her Wikipedia page 

And a link to the short story the bear came over the mountain on new yorker here 

Happy birthday And Other stories book giveaway

Well I can’t believe its over three years since I got a email from Stefan the head man at and other stories, about them starting and how they choose the books via there reading groups. But it is true today Saturday Marks  three years since the first book came out they grown and had a book on the booker list and still doing great translations .I ve been given the chance to share some love for this and give away three titles by them .I ve been chosen  to give these titles

And-other-stories-Down-the-Rabbit-Hole-cover

Down the rabbit hole by Jaun Pablo Villalobos

The Islands Carlos Gamerro

The Islands by Carlos Gamerro

black vodka Levy

and BLack Vodka by Deborah Levy

Simply choose your book and I ll draw them and let and other stories know the winners

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