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One of the Guardian Unlimited Books' top 10 literary blogs: "A home-grown treasure ... smart, serious analysis"

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Blog entries on '20 January 2006'

Friday 20 January 2006

Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

Consistently the most interesting literary prize around, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize always throws up some interesting titles. The sixteen strong long-list for this year is:

  • Tonino Benacquista's Someone Else
  • Tahar Ben Jelloun's This Blinding Absence of Light
  • Stefan Chwin's Death in Danzig
  • Philippe Claudel's Grey Souls
  • Marie Darrieussecq's White
  • Karen Duve's This is Not a Love Song
  • David Grossman's Lovers and Strangers
  • Judith Hermann's Nothing but Ghosts
  • Pawel Huelle Mercedes-Benz
  • Imre Kértesz's Fatelessness
  • Ellen Mattson's Snow
  • Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore
  • Per Petterson's Out Stealing Horses
  • Dai Sijie's Mr Muo's Travelling Couch
  • Magda Szabó The Door
  • Dubravka Ugresic's The Ministry of Pain

For now, we have just Imre Kértesz's Fatelessness and Marie Darrieussecq's White reviewed here on RSB.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 20 January 2006

Exposure Shorts

Lee, the RSB techie (oh and so much more than that too!) is "very excited ... as Apple have just listed the Exposure Shorts Video Podcast on their podcast directory." For more information about what on earth this is, check out the Exposure Shorts website.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 20 January 2006

Green Integer and buses

So, I've not heard anything from the excellent American independent publisher Green Integer for an age and then, bus-like, three or four of their volumes come along at once. Most exciting is Pierre Joris' translation of Paul Celan's Threadsuns. Actually, I'm convinced that this has been out for a wee while, but I must be going mad (or they've reissued it) as Green Integer list this as landing February 9th. I'll get all this cleared up for you when I interview Pierre in the next month or so.

Just released - with a preface by Albert Camus - is Islands by Jean Grenier:

Jean Grenier (1898-1971) was a French philosopher and writer who combined a rigorous philosophical intelligence with an artistic and literary sensibility. Among his many works are essays, art criticism, autobiographical novels, travel essays, and the volumes of aphorisms, Lexiques and Les á-peu-prés. Grenier was also the teacher of another major French author, Albert Camus.

Islands, a collection of some of his most lovingly written and personal of philosophical speculations, was first published in an edition of five essays in 1933. The revised edition, with six essays, was published with a preface by Albert Camus in 1948; the third edition, upon which this translation is based, was published in 1959.

Joseph Conrad's great mate Ford Madox Ford has his "saddest story" The Good Soldier given the GI treatment too. I've been meaning to read this "brilliant tale in which nothing is quite what it seems, including the narrator's telling of the tale" for ages so, hopefully, having this gorgeous edition will encourage me.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 20 January 2006

Manchester Metro News

Those visiting RSB for the first time after the glowing wee article in this week's Manchester Metro News ("Britain's biggest free weekly newspaper", don't you know!) are very welcome ... but don't expect too much from me: all that talk of "taking the high-brow literary world by storm" has gone straight to my head. I best lie down.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

Friday 20 January 2006

A Night at the Majestic

Now, this looks like it could be quite good fun: Richard Davenport-Hines's A Night at the Majestic: Proust and the great modernist dinner party of 1922 (Faber). The publisher blurb runs:

One May night in 1922, in a grand hotel in Paris, five of the greatest artists of the 20th century sat down to supper. It would be the only time that Joyce and Proust, Picasso, Diaghilev and Stravinsky were in a room together. Each of these exponents of early twentieth-century modernism was at the peak of his creative powers, and of all of them, Proust was enjoying the most spectacular success. Yet within six months he would be dead.

A Night at the Majestic evokes the luxury and glamour of early-twentieth century Paris, the intellectual achievement of the modernist movement and the gossip, intrigue and scandal of aristocratic France. Above all, Richard Davenport-Hines gives us a compelling portrait of one writer's bravery and devotion to his masterwork - and of the people and the city which gave it shape.

Posted by Mark Thwaite

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As you sow, so shall you reap. The bags packed,
Umbers and gold swollen between the purse-strings,
Getaway cars nose on a hot scent.
Under striped canvas the patrons gather,
Staring at blue, incorrigible seas.
The stubble burns a hole in summer's pocket;
Upon the baked crust of their world, the mice
Scatter their ashes to the harvest moon.

-- Peter Scupham
(Carcanet Press)

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Word of the Day

The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or two

Pre-order Anu Garg's new book: The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two: The Hidden Lives and Strange Origins of Common and Not-So-Common Words (ISBN 9780452288614), published by Penguin more …

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October's Books of the Month

The New Spirit of Capitalism The New Spirit of Capitalism
Luc Boltanski; Eve Chiapello
Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM Horizons Touched: The Music of ECM
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths

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