Our friends at Menage Magazine have published two poems from Mahmoud Darwish‘s A River Dies of Thirst: Journals, translated from the Arabic by Catherine Cobham as part of their “Pair of the Week” feature.
You can read the poems here.
The British magazine New Statesman has included Something Will Happen, You’ll See by Christos Ikonomou and translated from the Greek by Karen Emmerich as one of its favorite books of 2016. The book was selected by Columbia Professor of History Mark Mazower. He praised Emmerich’s “fine translation,” and compared Ikonomou’s writing to William Faulkner.
You can check out the entire list here.
Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka, translated from the German by Peter Wortsman, is featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books. The article, called “Kafka: An End or a Beginning?” by Morten Høi Jensen praises Konundrum and Wortsman’s accomplishment in the translation.
Jensen writes that “The translator Peter Wortsman’s excellent and bracing new selection of Kafka’s stories, Konundrum: Selected Prose of Franz Kafka (published by Archipelago Books), brings the author’s peculiar rhetoric to glorious life. ”
You can read the full article here.
Homero Aridjis, poet, environmentalist, and author of The Child Poet, has penned a letter to Donald Trump on behalf of Mexico, discussing the great unease with which Mexico views the future given Trump’s penchant for racist and xenophobic rhetoric throughout his presidential campaign. Aridjis calls on Trump to work towards the success of both nations, citing our shared history and the interweaving of our cultures. Aridjis also urges Trump to reconsider his position on the myriad of environmental issues which affect us all, regardless of nation.
You can read the entire article on the Huffington Post website here.
Scholastique Mukasonga, author of the award-winning Our Lady of the Nile and the freshly released memoir Cockroaches, joined Laurent Dubois, Maboula Soumahoro, Darryl Pinckney, and Chris Jackson for a panel discussion titled “Europe and America in the Black Literary Imagination” as part of the Festival Albertine 2016 this past weekend.
If you missed the event, or would just like to watch it again, Festival Albertine has made a livestream video recording of the event, which you can watch here.
Wayward Heroes by Nobel Laureate Halldór Laxness and translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton is now officially out and available for purchase. Our friends over at Tin House have published an excerpt of the novel over on their blog, which you can read here.
“Brilliant, bleak, uproariously funny, and still alarmingly prescient, Wayward Heroes belongs in the pantheon of the antiwar novel alongside such touchstones as Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch-22….”
— Justin Taylor, Harper’s Magazine
Miljenko Jergovic, author of Sarajevo Marlboro, has written a powerful and moving meditation comparing and contrasting the international reaction to the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War and the current and ongoing siege of Aleppo in Syria. You can read the full article here.
“In the summer of 1992, three or four months after the beginning of the siege…Sarajevo’s inhabitants believed that the president of the United States was lying awake in bed at night, thinking of our city.
Is this what the citizens of Aleppo are thinking today? Perhaps not so much. At the beginning of the 1990s, the United States was thought of in the eastern parts of Europe as an empire of freedom and justice. Today, people experience America differently…maybe, the citizens of Aleppo no longer even see America as the land of freedom. If that is so, then America is dying alongside them, because it cannot help.”
Our friends over at Words Without Borders have included our forthcoming Cockroaches by Scholastique Mukasonga and translated from the French by Jordan Stump as part of their October Watchlist. Cockroaches finds itself amongst many other exciting titles.
WWB books editor M Bartley Seigel writes of Cockroaches:
“At our best we bear witness to the horrors of the human condition with solemnity and respect that we might learn from our collective histories and move forward together with some hope for a shared future. That Mukasonga’s lyricism allows us to endure those troubling spaces with grace and wit is not just deeply moving, it’s a blessing.”
Check out the entire list over on WWB’s website.
You can read an excerpt of Cockroaches over at the Tin House blog here, and don’t miss the opportunity to see Scholastique speak in NYC November 7th at the 92Y, which you can find more information about here.
Our friends over at Asymptote have just published an extract of our forthcoming Wayward Heroes by Halldór Laxness and translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton. The novel by the only Icelandic Nobel Laureate is slated for release November 1st. You can read the full extract here.
Justin Taylor recently had this to say about Wayward Heroes in Harper’s Magazine:
“Brilliant, bleak, uproariously funny, and still alarmingly prescient, Wayward Heroes belongs in the pantheon of the antiwar novel alongside such touchstones as Slaughterhouse-Five and Catch-22.”
Here’s the beginning of the extract. You even have the option to read the original Icelandic on the Asymptote site if you should feel so inclined.
“Chieftain Vermundur had a kinsman named Bessi, the son of Halldór. He lived at Laugaból, a short distance from Vatnsfjörður. Bessi was highly versed in poetry and law and was popular with everyone, but not very well-to-do. He and Vermundur were not only related but also good friends—Bessi often accompanied Vermundur when he had business to attend to, either at the Alþingi or elsewhere. Bessi’s wife had passed away before this story begins, but he had a young son named Þormóður. The lad soon proved to be quick-witted, if somewhat sharp-tongued. From his father he learned poetry and other arts, and even at an early age could relate much lore of the Northern kings and jarls most intrepid in war and other noble pursuits, as well as of the Æsir, the Völsungar, the Ylfingar, and the renowned heroes who wrestled with ogresses. In addition, the lad had excellent knowledge of the great passions men shared with women in the world’s first days, when Brynhildur slept on the mountain, and he knew stories of the swans that flew from the south and alighted on the headlands, cast off their dresses, and spun men’s fates. What is more, he was fluent in the uncanny lore predicting the end of the peopled world and the twilight of the Gods.”
Our friends over at Tin House have published an extract from Scholastique Mukasonga’s upcoming Cockroaches, which is slated for release on the 25th of October and translated from the French by Jordan Stump. The extract is titled “1968-1971: A Humiliated Student,” and it deals with the narrator’s experience in school as a Tutsi, one of the persecuted groups in Rwanda…
“Arriving at the Lycée Notre-Dame-de-Cîteaux with the little card-board suitcase once used by my brother André, and then by Alexia, I was filled with hope and apprehension at the same time. My apprehensions were more than justified, but I never lost hope.
I’d seen violent and even deadly persecution in Nyamata, but the solidarity of the ghetto gave us the strength to endure it. At school, I would know the solitude of humiliation and rejection.
I hadn’t shed my Tutsi status when I crossed the Nyabarongo – anything but. And in any case, there was no way to hide it. Every student was issued an ID card marked with their so-called ethnic group, like a brand on a cow. When I was forced to show it to one of the sisters, her look and her attitude changed immediately: wariness, disdain, or hatred? I didn’t want to know. They also discovered that I came from Nyamata. I wasn’t only a Tutsi: I was an Inyenzi, one of those cockroaches they’d expelled from the livable part of Rwanda, and perhaps from the human race. Among my schoolmates, too, I soon came to feel different. Or rather, it was they who made that dif-ference cruelly clear to me. They made me ashamed of the color of my skin (not dark enough for their tastes), of my nose (too straight, they said), and of my hair (too much of it). It was my hair that caused me the most trouble. Evidently it was Ethiopian hair, irende, the sup-posed mark of the Inyenzi. I spent my time putting water on that Inyenzi hair so it would shrink down to a little ball, tight as a sponge. Most often, I resigned myself to shaving it off. That hurt me: in spite of the mockery, I was fond of my hair.”
Once again, you can read the excerpt in its entirety here.