Pushkin Press fortnight MK2 Feb 13-28 2017

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It was three years ago I did the first Pushkin press fortnight in 2014. As a publisher whose books I have enjoyed not just reading but also there design . Since the original fortnight Pushkin Have grown with a number of new imprints Pushkin Vertigo doing crime fiction One of their books  I recently saw was  by Frederic Dard,which  caught my eye , he was a friend of Simenon he wrote nearly as many as his fellow writer with 200 books in french.Pushkin Children whihc has been publishing the Dutch fantasy series by Tonke Dragt. Pushkin Collections this is where  all those Tranlsated classics we all love . The most recent is The Odessa stories by Isaac Babe was a paperback of the week in the Guardian l. One the best of english lit The fisherman was on the booker list from this imprint. As for me I’m looking forward to reading The Evenings by Gerald Reve for the fortnight.Why now you ask well it is thanks to Lizzy from Lizzy Siddal  who herself is trying to cut her TBR pile and in doing so found a number of Pushkin books so ask me if I would do a second Pushkin press fortnight , SO the last 15 days in Feburary if you could try and read one of more books from Pushkin press it would be great . Have you a favourite from them ? Please leave a comment of post on twitter with the Hashtag#ppf2

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Five wonderful years of Peirene Press lets go back to year one

stones in a landslide

This years sees the fifth year of Peirene press publishing the wonderful novellas in translation and on this #translationthurs , I m setting a challenge  for you all .They publish three books a year and each year has  a theme for the three books that  year .I for one have loved every single book I have read from them ,Meike seems to have a real talent to  bring three books on a theme every year that although different show different sides of the theme of the year and how this theme can be viewed around europe  . Any way its been five years since ,I read the first three books from Peirene so I’ve decide this  December I ‘m going to revisit those first three books on the theme of female voices  and review them again , to see if time has change my view of them but also to see if the five years since I reviewed them if this blogger has changed in the way I look at books ! I would love for some of my fellow bloggers to join in with just one or even all of the books , for the first time or just to revisit them like my self .The first three are beside the sea by Veronique Olmi  which has since been a play .Stone in a landslide by Maria Barbel , any one that has read this blog or followed me on twitter for any time know this is my all time favourite from Peirene , a classic of Catalan fiction and will tie nicely with the two recent books from there I have read .Lastly portrait of the mother as a young woman , a one sentence book that follows a young woman on one afternoon in Rome in 1943 .So just read and post over December if we use a hashtag of #peirene5  then we can see them on twitter .

What is your favourite book from Peirene press !! ?

AUTONAUTS OF THE COSMOROUTE BY JULIO CORTAZAR AND CAROL DUNLOP

source – personnel copy published by Telegram books

Julio Cortazar was a Argentina writer spent his youth around Europe before his family settled back in Argentina ,on leaving university ,he became a translator in france for Unesco ,he lived there until his death in the eighties ,he is considered one of the most influential latin american writers of the period  and european writers including Roberto Bolano and Georges Perec ,he was part of the fifties Noveau roman movement .The book follows Cortazar and his third wife the writer photograph Carol Dunlop,on a trip down one of the main freeways of france from Paris to Marseilles .

The book is made up as a travelogue / guide book in the style of the great books of history by the likes of Marco Polo .We find the preparation ,planning for this Journey down the main road from Paris to Marseilles ,not leaving the road and visiting two rest areas every day and sleeping in the dragon the name they gave their battered VW camper they had got for this voyage of discovery ,so we see the guys organizing food drops gathering scientific equipment a typewriter camera ,so they set of and we see each rest stop described .How the struggle with washing etc . Then we get Julio’s daily observations a map of the route ,what they eaten and Carols photographs of the gallant troop as they try to conquer the route .

The parell highway we’re looking for perhaps only exists in the imagination of those who dream of it ; but if it exists I( its to soon to make categorical affirmations and nevertheless one would say we’re there and have been for the last twenty for hours ;let’s be skeptical reader think before denying reality to this new route by eliminating the “perhaps” from the phrase ,that may well disappear with it ;may he have patience then,at least wait until we’ve been able to gather evidence .

just before they embark on the journey .

What I loved about this book is Julio’s ability to take what may seem something very boring and uninteresting as I 33 journey down a single road not leaving it for that time .But what he does is like slow cooking is in this age of speed and jets ,that as he says you may notice more when travelling at camels pace .So every rest are thou similar to the last is like a new country awaiting observation and discovery with their woods ,dogs that may be there or bins that may look like a little knights helmet ,how will the dragon cope with the heat ? .as the pace is slow they notice little things that pass the every day motorist ,it shows how the ebb and flow of life has sped up  over time .even at the end there is a sadness that the trip went so quickly .I ve had this a good year on my shelves and wish I d pick it earlier to read as it was a book I knew I d love and it was finished in two evening not bad for a 368 page BOOK,I just want to see them reach the next rest area have that next encounter and see what Julio made of it and what pictures there was of this leg of the trip  .the book was translated by Anne McLean from the Spanish .

Have you read Cortazar ? if so what should I read next ?

POEM STRIP BY DINO BUZZATI

source – own copy purchased from amazon

publisher –  NYRB CLASSICS

Dino Buzzati was one of italys leading writers ,he work all his life as a journalist in Milan for the corrierie della sera,during the war he served as a journalist in Africa attached to an Italian marine troop ,he had his first novel published in 1933 ,he is best known for his 1940 novel The Tatar steppes the story of an officer stuck at an old fort in the desert as time passes .Poem strip was his last book  published in 1969 and was his only graphic Novel .

The book follows Orfi a young  brooding musician who falls for a women who is already dead  but up on the surface from the underworld Eura ,he follows her to a door on the viva saterna in Milan ,this door leads to the underworld ,eventually Orfi enters this underworld he wants to bring Eura to the real world again and has a day to find her ,he avoids the temptation of the underworld where he is offered different women to try out  and also sees the chaos of the underworld  .but sticks to his guns .It combines music ,sex and the dark side of life wonderfully .

A sample of the artwork the story itself is a modern retelling of the greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice myth the descent to the underworld if you aren’t keen on reading the original greek  myths this is one of the best modern retelling of this myth .The book is very graphic in places ,you can tell Dino Buzzati liked the female form ,it is compelling and obviously was a real passion for Buzzati who also did a number of actual paintings connected to the story ,these were exhibited in Milan in 2007 .This book is a real find as ever by NYRB they keep turn these wonderful books up .A warped take on the sixties from an  Italian perspective from a philosophical and thoughtful writer ,this has made me want to read Tatar steppe that has been on my wish list for ages .The story was translated by Mairna Harss who has translated a number of the best known Italian writers ,she did a great job of making Orfis songs still seem poetic in translation .

who wants to help ?

I would love some people to help me out with the around the world challenge have a basic format but ideas and offers of help most welcome .THE IDEA SO FAR IS 11 CATEGORISE no order but a year-long challenge ,thinks I need help with are using mister linky ,making a button for blogs to show any help or offers of support be most welcome . here is what the categories would be –

  1. EUROPE (NORTHERN) -ie Germany ,Holland ,Sweden ,Denmark , Finland,Russia ,Poland ,uk ,Iceland ,Ireland ..
  2. EUROPE(SOUTHERN)-ie spain ,Portugal,Italy ,Greece,Turkey Balkans …
  3. AFRICA (FRENCH AFRICA) The west of africa mainly Senegal ,Cotes de Ivorie including books in other language from these areas in english.
  4. AFRICA (ENGLISH SPEAKING ) southern and eastern africa IE Kenya ,Ghana ,South Africa also books in other languages translated in to english
  5. ARABIC books from the arabic world Algeria ,Egypt etc
  6. ASIA  (Korea ,Japan and China )
  7. ASIA rest of asia
  8. AMERICAS (NORTH) US AND CANADA BOOKS
  9. AMERICAS (CENTRAL) plus Caribbean
  10. AMERICAS (SOUTH )
  11. AUSTRALIA ,NEW ZEALAND AND OCEANIA

There are categories I ve in mind and let people read in what ever order they want but one a month for challenge leaving spare month as we all have things crop up and may need time in hand .

WHAT DO YOU THINK ?

I want this to be fun my personnel goal was to read books from 52 countries this year I ve nearly done that in twelve months ,its given me such a scope of books ,I just in a little way want to pass that on to other people in a fun way ,all the best stu and winston .

Best European Fiction 2010 Bosnia

best european fiction 2010

Now it has been a while and I really should get through the rest of the stories and novel snippets ,especially as the 2011 one is due in a few weeks ,so have got rest of this book cleared before starting this

TITLE – AT THE SARAJEVO MARKET BY IGOR STIKS

This short story focuses on a couple going round the market during the war in Bosnia ,we see old books being sold for a bargain of 1 Deutschmarks a piece rare german translation ,Shakespeare ,then they find a watch and tell the story of the previous owners in the end leaving the market empty-handed .The writer was nominated for the Impac in 2006 for the translation in to english of his novel A castle in Romagna ,he currently lives in Edinburgh ,his second novel won the Croatian book of the year .

great new project

I received a e-mail from James Alsono the other day from the polyglot project a new venture initially with classic books where you can try to read in the original language and then use their tools to translate words you aren’t very sure of .This includes don Quixote ,which is how james found me now I know Richard is read along in spanish with us so this may help if you want to see how the orignal was written and help improve your spanish there is also works in german english and french to work on .

world cup wishes by Eskhol Nevo

 

Eshkol Nevo

Notes –

Eshkol is an Israeli writer ,he is related to Levi Eshkol the third prime minster of israeli,he teaches creative writing at the university of tel Aviv ,he has written two novels his first received widespread recognition when published this is his second novel .his last book spent over 50 weeks on the Israeli bestseller list .

The book –

we start in 1998 four friends are sat watching the world cup final when one of them Amichai  suggests ,why don’t they make wishes where or what they want in four years time in the next world cup . these four guys grew up together and have closeness ,as the story unfolds we see them have successes and failures grow apart at times but in the end  grow closer always chatting to one another and helping each other out  when they can ,whilst the everyday life of modern israeli unfolds as a backdrop . The wishes in the end play second fiddle to the friendship of these four guys .but in a mad dash Ofir writes and  self publishes a book in time for the world cup finals .all this back to the music of the chameleons .

What i was thinking he said ,is that each of us should write down on a piece of paper where he dreams of being in another four years . Personally ,professionally . In every sense .And at the next world cup ,we ll open the papers and see what happened in the meantime

The idea for the wishes from Amichai near the start of the book .

 

  

my view –

This book is the second football related book i ve read in  the last week ,but in this book the football is really a framing for the novel and gives it a definite start and finish ,the main think in this book is friendship and the stress of modern life in israeli with all that entailed at the turn of the millennium .Eshkol wonderfully drags you into the world of these guys you feel your sat with them as they chat away ,you have to give praise to th translator Sondra Silverston who has done a wonderful job of translating from the original hebrew ,its nice to see a book about male friendship that isn’t about army or gangs ,the characters are realistic and I would imagine based on Eshkol’s own friends in some way .A great pre world cup read .

Links –

a video of eshkol on panel at pen usa last month

IN THE POST THIS WEEK –

IN THE POST THIS WEEK

 

 There been few parcels ,this week at Winston towers .a great selection of books –

The private memoirs and confessions of a justified sinner & contributions to annuals and gift books by James Hogg

 These were both sent to me by the lovely bookrambler ,Jannette edit the contribution book by James Hogg was a poet and novelist and one of Scotland’s treasures ,I have only read a slim volume of his works ,and am looking forward to these a true classic scotts writer .

Young Hitler  by Claus Hant

This is a non fiction novel by a german scriptwriter Claus Hant ,who has work on this over a number of years ,whilst working on a hugely successful tv show der bulle am Tolz (the bull from bad Tolz ) a comic police show .I m sure this book is going to cause some controversy ,but Hant says he wants to discover what made Hitler the monster he became .

The queen of  Palmyra by Minrose Gwin

A debut novel  set in Missippi in the early sixties it involves race secrets growing up in the segregated era ,this partly comes from Rose’s own experience as a child growing up in the sixties .

Beiruit39-

This book is part of a project from hay festival and Beirut ,the project  involved writers from all over the arab world submit work ,they only had to be under 40 ,this project follows the successful bogota39 project which help launch the   career of Junnot Diaz among others .link to the hay page –beirut39

The beautiful screaming of pigs by Damon Galgut

DAMON GALGUT

Notes –

Damon Galgut is one of South Africa’s leading writers with a number of books after being published  at 17  in 1980 with a sinless season ,this is his third novel and won the C.N.A South Africa’s leading literary prize ,He has also been shortlisted for the booker in 2003 with the good doctor ,he has also written several plays .

The book –

The book revolves around Patrick Winter and his two visits to South West Africa the first as a solider ,and secondly with his mother who has recently got divorced  ,the second visit his mother is visiting Godfrey her new lover a black swapo activist ,still a taboo at the time in South africa ,we also discover that Patrick had a great love on his first posting to South West Africa ,we are lead to belive this may have been a male love ,there is a funeral of a white activist from swapo that was killed ,the themes  are love discovery ,change and new beginnings in this book .

My view –

This is an amazing book for its short length ,and tackles the changing face of Southern Africa in the early nineties ,the breaking of long-held taboos and love between couples and a mother and son ,I read this book after some one  on twitter recommend his new book but at the library it wasn’t there but this wonderful book was ,this book made me think as i work with a colleague from Nambia which is what south-west africa is now called ,and was also a great counter point to the purple violets of Oshaantu ,which i read after this book .

Links –

An  interview with damon galgut

Questions –

Have you read any South African writers ?

Have you read Damon Galgut ?

 .

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