Tag Archives: 21st Century

The Impossibility of Connection

On another day I’ll read László Krasznahorkai’s Seiobo There Below hungrily. After an intensely beautiful first chapter, the second chapter begins with an untranslated Italian crossword. This, and the sections being arranged according to the Fibonacci sequence, struck me as … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Letters, Literature in Translation | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fra Keeler’s Influences

Reading is pure pleasure for me, without obligation, professional or otherwise. I abandon books frequently after fifty pages or halfway through, whichever comes first. For every book I finish, three preceding books end up in a bag by the front … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, The Joy of Lists, Uncategorised | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Han Kang’s The Vegetarian

It’s been ages since I read a book as fast as I read The Vegetarian by Han Kang, with its savagely beautiful cover. Fifty pages in I knew that this well-written novel, translated by Deborah Smith, would not release me … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature in Translation | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Genre Sublimation (Bieńczyk, Sebald, Bae Suah)

It isn’t possible to read books like Marek Bieńczyk’s Transparency without seeing traces of Sebald, rather like the lost Da Vinci that might lie hidden behind the Vasari mural in Florence. Bieńczyk’s form of literary historiography weaves autobiography and literary … Continue reading

Posted in Essays, Fiction, Literature in Translation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Admitting Light: Not Entirely

In Ancient Greece they used the lovely word diaphanes. You can repeat it for its pleasure alone, not knowing what it means, but feeling how it fills the mouth with clear air and opens it to the sun with its … Continue reading

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Transparency, Transparencia, Prezroczystość

Here’s a taster of Marek Bieńczyk’s Transparency, so good that I want to share, but also because typing it here it slows me down. This is one of those books, that you want to inhabit as long as possible, one of … Continue reading

Posted in Essays, Literature in Translation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Strange Struggle With Meaning

It was during this translation [of Blanchot’s work] that I experienced another strange struggle with meaning: when in a simpler paragraph I found I could follow the thread of M. Blanchot’s argument from one sentence to the next, and that … Continue reading

Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Max Frisch, Bae Suah and Meaningless Existence

There are my old chestnuts, those writers to whom I’ve become attached. They are sufficient that I could just read and reread their works till the end, but something compels me to seek out new voices, or those that are new … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature in Translation | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Istanbul Rewards Persistence

Finished reading Istanbul: Memories of a City by Orhan Pamuk, a book I almost abandoned on a couple of occasions, struggling with its insipid writing style. Through a series of thematic essays, Pamuk scrutinises Istanbul, his family and growing up … Continue reading

Posted in Autobiography, Literature in Translation | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Blue-bottle in a Jar

Last week, I took Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul to the city that is its subject, but read very little. Istanbul, whose siren’s call I’ve heard since watching Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s crazy films, left little time for reading. It is a hypomanic city, caught between projection and reality, … Continue reading

Posted in History, Literature in Translation, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment