31 January 2013

The Guardian 100 greatest non-fiction books

The Guardian came up with the 100 best nonfiction books in 2011.

 They introduced the list, thus: "After keen debate at the Guardian's books desk, this is our list of the very best factual writing ... "

Under the category "Travel" they included The Rings of Saturn by W. G Sebald. Which is really odd since the book is fiction. In several instances the novel is hardly factual at all.

Max Sebald's grave


29 January 2013

Last-evenings-on-earth-inspired art

Slide show of: Rockslide Sky (via The Millions), curated by Carleen Sheehan, at The Center Gallery and the Lipani Gallery, Fordham University at Lincoln Center, 1 October - 5 November 2012

"The artists in this exhibition all touch on aspects of the narrative in compelling ways, bringing visual impact and tangential experience to the space evoked by the written word. In a sense this exhibition is a visual collaboration with Roberto Bolaño, conjuring and collaging visual accomplices to his words."


Walking books

Two reading lists featuring walking:

Walking While Reading

Ten Outstanding Books That Combine Walking and Thinking

25 January 2013

10 most viewed

On New Year's Day, Bifurcata bifurcata turned two years old. It's been a great two years of irregular blogging. I've never regretted the decision to open a second blog. This site here is my Twitter feed.

I checked the most viewed posts of the site and share them here with you.

1. The 2011 Roberto Bolaño Reading Challenge - The one that started it all. I guess introductory posts are usually the most often viewed.

2. A reader's guide to 2666 - Proof of a continuing interest in the novel.

3. Woes of the True Policeman - The latest Bolaño translation will always generate a lot of buzz.

4. The Savage Detectives Group Read - The invitation post to one of the seminal events in blogging history in recent memory. No exaggeration intended. LOL. The wrap up post is here.

5. Carlos Fuentes's best Latin American novels of the past and present centuries - Also proof of continuing interest in listing exercises on the best of Latin American novels.

6. Celebrating José Saramago - Glad to see the Senhor racking up some stats. His posthumous popularity is well deserved.

7. The construction of the Bolaño backlash - An influential critical essay by Castellanos Moya on the most talked about post-Boom Latin American novelist.

8. Sneak preview of Tres - Happy to see some poetry loving here.

9. "Your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint...." - Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian has always had a cult following.

10. A Bolaño walking tour, Blanes, Spain - Some tourists found their way here?!

13 January 2013

The Hare reissued

In March 2012, in my review of Varamo, I wrote in in lieu of a field guide:

If the critic Ignacio Echevarría (via Caravana de recuerdos) was asked, the single most essential Aira was La liebre, which fortunately has already been translated. A good choice, I must say. The Hare, at a fair novel length, has the heft and substance of a long sojourn. Its adventures hover perilously between high and low entertainments, hanging as if at an angle of repose, at any moment at risk from falling off a cliff.... A lightning charge striking with all its pent-up electrical energy.... A short circuit of brain synapse.... A numinous moment in time.... And I will have to say that the prose of translator Nick Caistor, which was slightly inelegant and unpolished and neutral and wry, lent a certain understatement to the statement. It was Aira without the airbrush of beautiful writing, not the superhero but his alter-ego. In other words, this reader was not after exercises of perfection or near-perfection in a novelita. Let's face it. The long novel was the true test of a writer's métier. Arguable point, of course. But the form of the long novel, where anything can go wrong and the trappings of didacticism were ever present, where the temptation to over-deliver was stronger, where the writer struggles much harder to avoid false moves than make the right ones, the long form could provide a breath of fresher Aira. Publishers, take note. Go for the longer Aira, they were bound to be more spontaneous and more driven. And go for the critics' favorites. It would not hurt to consider "translating" the opinions of Spanish writers and critics.

In June 2013, New Directions is reissuing The Hare and publishing it for the first time in the US. How cool is that?