27 April 2012

The Femicide Machine by Sergio González Rodríguez

The phenomenon of female homicides in Ciudad Juárez began to be denounced in 1993. There is evidence these crimes began years before. Why were they murdered? For the pleasure of killing women who were poor and defenseless.

How many victims have there been? Of the 400 women and girls killed for various reasons from 1993 to the present, at least 100 murders were commited in tandem with extreme sexual violence. The lack of reliable information from the authorities is part of the problem.

Who killed them? Drug traffickers, complicit with individuals who enjoy political and economic power.

Where and how did the events take place? The victims were abducted from the streets of Ciudad Juárez and taken by force into safe houses where they were raped, tortured, and murdered at stag parties or orgies.

--from Sergio González Rodríguez's The Femicide Machine (trans. Michael Parker-Stainback, Semiotext(e), 2012). Read the rest of the excerpt and interview in Bookforum.

Interview with Ōe Kenzaburo

With regard to your relationship with [Kazuo] Watanabe, what do you consider to be the “task of the translator”, as stated by Walter Benjamin? The German term that Benjamin uses is Aufgabe, which contains both the idea of giving (geben) and abandoning or renouncing (aufgeben)…

K.O.: I am unable to philologically examine what Benjamin means by the expression “the task of the translator”. But I can tell you about my “method” for reading poems translated into Japanese.

When I read T.S. Eliot’s poetry, for example, I set out the original text before me, alongside the translations by Junzaburo Nishiwaki and Motohiro Fukase. I read these three versions and learn them by heart. In doing so, I feel that what the translations give (geben) as well as renounce (aufgeben) helps me to apprehend the original poem.

--from an interview with Ōe Kenzaburo in IF VERSO where he talked about French literature and translation, with more interview links at the bottom. The French-based site IF VERSO is well worth the look too.

26 April 2012

"Revenge" by José Saramago

The boy was coming from the river. Barefoot, with his trousers rolled up above his knees, his legs covered in mud.

He was wearing a red shirt, open in front where the first hairs of puberty on his chest were beginning to blacken. He had dark hair, damp with the sweat that was trickling down his slender neck. He was bent slightly forward under the weight of the long oars, from which were hanging green strands of water-weeds still dripping. The boat kept swaying in the murky water, and nearby, as if spying, the globulous eyes of a frog suddenly appeared. Then the frog moved suddenly and disappeared. A minute later the surface of the river was smooth and tranquil and shining like the boy's eyes.

--from "Revenge", a short short story by the Portuguese novelist, excerpted from The Lives of Things (trans. Giovanni Pontiero), Saramago's only collection of short fiction.

Read it at Morning Star.

See also the story "Things" from the same collection, excerpted in two parts (Part 1, Part 2) in Guernica.

(Via Verso)

25 April 2012

Andrés Neuman interview

The Parrish Lantern has a goodly interview with Andrés Neuman whose Traveller of the Century was published last month by Pushkin Press.

You can also read a positive review of the novel's translation, by Nick Caistor and Lorenza Garcia, at Tony's Reading List.

Related posts:
Andrés Neuman
Reading list: Translators in fiction

22 April 2012

Evil contents

The Secret of Evil, the posthumous selection of prose pieces by Roberto Bolaño, is out this month from New Directions. It's translated by Chris Andrews and Natasha Wimmer. I've yet to read it but here's the table of contents. The three pieces marked with asterisks were also published in Between Parentheses, translated by Natasha Wimmer.

0. Preliminary Note

1. Colonia Lindavista

2. The Secret of Evil

3. The Old Man of the Mountain

4. The Colonel's Son--Animated and excerpted (not online) by Granta. Most likely based on the zombie flick Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993) (via comment).

5. Scholars of Sodom--About V. S. Naipaul's critique of Argentina. Excerpted in NYRblog. See also links to Naipaul’s essays from The New York Review of Books: Argentina: The Brothels Behind the Graveyard, The Corpse at the Iron Gate, and Comprehending Borges (via Ricardo Blanco's Blog).

6. The Room Next Door

7. Labyrinth--Excerpted in The New Yorker.

8. Vagaries of the Literature of Doom*

9. Crimes

10. I Can't Read--Excerpted in Harper's.

11. Beach*--Read a background of this story here.

12. Muscles

13. The Tour--Read a translation by Venepoetics.

14. Daniela

15. Suntan

16. Death of Ulises

17. The Troublemaker

18. Sevilla Kills Me*--A short controversial and unfinished piece. I read an essay by Jorge Volpi (I think through Google Translate) criticizing Bolaño's Spanish editor Ignacio Echevarría for publishing it.

19. Days of Chaos


See related posts on The Secret of Evil here.

With thanks to Michael for the contents and cover image.

13 April 2012

Marcela Valdes on César Aira

In The Nation, Marcela Valdes situates César Aira's fiction within the political history of Argentina.

Diary of Hepatitis, a novella by César Aira, translated by Forrest Gander, is "on deck".

06 April 2012

"Scholars of Sodom"

Argentineans are not especially popular in the rest of Latin America, but I can assure you that no Latin American has written a critique as devastating as Naipaul’s. Not even a Chilean. Once, in a conversation with Rodrigo Fresán, I asked him what he thought of Naipaul’s essay. Fresán, whose knowledge of literature in English is encyclopedic, barely remembered it, even though Naipaul is one of his favorite authors. But to get back to the story: Naipaul listens and notes down his impressions but mostly he walks around Buenos Aires.

- "Scholars of Sodom", Roberto Bolaño, trans. Chris Andrews, from The Secret of Evil (2012), excerpted in NYRblog (read more)

05 April 2012

Spam attack is art

Since being posted in July the Jpeg of Monsieur Pain by Armando Andrade Tuleda has been continuously and systematically attacked by internet bot/spam, on the 924COLLECTIVE.WORDPRESS.COM webblog.  These attacks are deceptive as they promote the website while embedding spam links. PT I RAFT

Artist & Researcher Matu Croney compiles the information feeds on these attacks directed @ Monsier Pain and creates a narrative unintentionally created by internet spambots, to create a unique work of art.  Commenting on the very notions of art history within the internet, and the increasing usage and hijacking of these invisible systems.

>> Read more.

>> See also: Pictures from the Regen Projects' "Distant Star" art exhibition (here).

02 April 2012

Goodreads: Classics recommendations

One of the more interesting features of Goodreads is the "recommendations" page where the site recommends books according to an algorithm. They based their recommendations on the books I've added on my shelf (taking into account my reader ratings) and books which were enjoyed by other readers with interests similar to mine. How they do this thing was a mystery.

According to Goodreads, I'll enjoy the following 10 books in the "classics" genre. They actually named 50 titles, but it's too bothersome to list them all.

1. The Divan by Hafez, because I added Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám of Naishapur.

Unless a copy landed on my desk, I don't foresee myself buying this book.

2. Antonin Artaud: Selected Writings, because I added The Ubu Plays by Alfred Jarry.

The book was edited and selected by Susan Sontag, the probable connection with Jarry. 720 pages. It's not on the reading horizon for me.

3. Journey to the End of the Night by Louis-Ferdinand Céline, because I added The Plague and The Stranger by Albert Camus and The Castle and The Trial by Franz Kafka.

I have a copy, so Goodreads scores this one.

4. The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, because I added the two Kafka novels and The Loser and Wittgenstein's Nephew by Thomas Bernhard.

I am interested.

5. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, because I added Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Maybe. Because I thoroughly loved Saint-Exupéry's book. And because of the kick-ass title.

6. Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, because I added A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.

Maybe not.

7. The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip, because I added the first three books of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle.

Not in this lifetime, no.

8. Selected Writings by Guillaume Apollinaire, because I added two books by Jorge Luis Borges.

Finally, a poetry book! I'll read it, given the chance.

9. Q by Luther Blissett, because I added Umberto Eco's The Island of the Day Before.

I think I won't enjoy it. The premise is insufferable. 

10. Jakob von Gunten by Robert Walser, because I added a book each by John Williams, Kafka, Stefan Zweig, W. G. Sebald, and Bernhard.

This turned out to be a Euro-centric list of recommendations. But Walser has long been on my wish list. So, I'm good with it.

At 5 out of 10, Goodreads barely passed my unscientific bookmatching test for classics.

The other genres which the site provides recommendations for are: fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, and philosophy. They also give recommendations based on your entire "read" shelf or any shelf category you happen to create (e.g., favorites list, postmodernism, procrastination).

Marías goes Penguin

Man, they look good. Here's the context.