Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Critical Flame

A quick note to recommend the second issue of The Critical Flame. There are a couple of books under review which I have also covered (D. A. Powell's luminous Chronic covered here and Mark McGurl's The Program Era covered here and here), and I feel the reviews there do them great justice. Also, Scott Esposito takes a look at the "breakout" novel of last year's Nobelist, J. M. G. LeClézio. I've been meaning to get around to him…

Some other odds and ends:
  • Despite feeling like he suffers from the all-new-films-are-bad-films mode of criticism, Andrew Tracy's reviews at ReverseShot are consistently engaging both on a verbal and conceptual level. His review of Public Enemies, which I saw and liked quite a bit better than he, is his latest.
  • This interview (in German) with Junot Díaz and Aleksandar Hemon sounds incredibly interesting, and with my one college term's worth of the language, I might try to get some of it translated, but I doubt the results will be any good, so have fun with the link if your German's better than mine. Otherwise, have fun with Google Translate.
  • Continuing a not-in-English theme, this post on Moleskine Literario has me wondering if there is a new collection of stories from Daniel Alarcón on the way: it appears that one is coming out in Peru, titled The King Is Always Above the People, "gathering all the stories not published in his first book [War by Candlelight], although many of them were published in Anglophone magazines (the one which gives its name to the collection appeared in Granta)…" I was under the impression that Alarcón writes in English and that the contents of War by Candlelight and its Spanish version were identical, so I assume all the stories which are coming out under this title in Peru could quite easily be bundled and printed in English as well. Hopefully we'll soon see that on shelves up here.
  • Mark Athitakis points to a pretty interesting new feature on the National Book Awards site: they've got a line-up of all the past winners and are featuring a winner a day. It will be interesting to see how much information they can still pull on a forgotten novel like Wright Morris's The Field of Vision. Isn't Plains Song the only Morris anybody reads anymore? Mark also has an interesting brief history of the awards in his post.

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