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(08/07/2009) The Obstacles by Eloy Urroz. Normal/London. 2006. Dalkey Archive. Translated From The Spanish By Ezra Fitz. keywords: Literature Mexico Latin America Translated South America. 350 pages. Cover design by Clinton Inselmann & N. J. Furl. 1564784274.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   One of the most remarkable books of contemporary Mexican literature, THE OBSTACLES is the story of young writers coming of age in a world dominated entirely by their own fictions. It tells, in alternating chapters, the stories of two teenagers, Ricardo and Elias, who are characters in each others' novels. Ricardo lives in Mexico City with his mother, who is mourning the recent death of her husband. Elias, an orphan, lives in Las Remoras, a town on the Baja Peninsula that has been invented and meticulously imagined by Ricardo. Blurring our notions of reality and fiction, Eloy Urroz takes the reader into a world where characters invent characters and challenge their creators. And the book's conclusion—in which a surprising connection between Ricardo and Elias is revealed—shows that not even fiction can be controlled in a world of such incredible unpredictability.

Eloy Urroz is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, literary criticism, and prose. He was one of the authors of the ‘Crack Manifesto,’ a statement by five Mexican writers dedicated to breaking with the pervading Latin American literary tradition, which was published in CONTEXT magazine. He is a professor at The Citadel. THE OBSTACLES is his first novel to be translated into English.

Ezra Fitz studied translation under Robert Fagles, whose translations of Homer's Greek epics achieved critical acclaim, at Princeton University. Since graduating in 2000, Fitz has translated Latin American novels such as Eloy Urroz's THE OBSTACLES and Alberto Fuguet's THE MOVIES OF MY LIFE.

 

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(08/06/2009) Ancient Scepticism by Harald Thorsrud. Berkeley. 2009. University Of California Press. Ancient Philosophies, 5. keywords: Philosophy Classical Studies. 264 pages. Cover illustration - 'Caraneades with the Busat of Paniscus' by Luca Giordano March 2009. 9780520260269.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Scepticism, a philosophical tradition that casts doubt on our ability to gain knowledge of the world and suggests suspending judgment in the face of uncertainty, has been influential since its beginnings in ancient Greece. Harald Thorsrud provides an engaging, rigorous introduction to the central themes, arguments, and general concerns of ancient Scepticism, from its beginnings with Pyrrho of Elis to the writings of Sextus Empiricus in the second century A. D. Thorsrud explores the differences among Sceptics and examines in particular the separation of the Scepticism of Pyrrho from its later form—Academic Scepticism—the result of its ideas being introduced into Plato's Academy in the third century B. C. Steering an even course through the many differences of scholarly opinion surrounding Scepticism, the book also provides a balanced appraisal of the philosophy's enduring significance by showing why it remains so interesting and how ancient interpretations differ from modern ones.

Harald Thorsrud is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Agnes Scott College and the author of CICERO'S ETHICS.

 

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(08/05/2009) California Indians and Their Environment: An Introduction by Kent G. Lightfoot & Otis Parrish. Berkeley. 2009. University Of California Press. 130 color illustrations, 3 line illustrations, 8 maps. California Natural History Guides, 96. keywords: Native American California Indian. 512 pages. Cover design by Barbara Haines. 9780520256903. April 2009.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Capturing the vitality of California's unique indigenous cultures, this major new introduction incorporates the extensive research of the past thirty years into an illuminating, comprehensive synthesis for a wide audience. Based in part on new archaeological findings, it tells how the California Indians lived in vibrant polities, each boasting a rich village life including chiefs, religious specialists, master craftspeople, dances, feasts, and ceremonies. Throughout, the book emphasizes how these diverse communities interacted with the state's varied landscape, enhancing its already bountiful natural resources through various practices centered around prescribed burning. A handy reference section, illustrated with more than one hundred color photographs, describes the plants, animals, and minerals the California Indians used for food, basketry and cordage, medicine, and more. At a time when we are grappling with the problems of maintaining habitat diversity and sustainable economies, we find that these native peoples and their traditions have much to teach us about the future, as well as the past, of California.

Kent G. Lightfoot, Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, is author of INDIANS, MISSIONARIES, AND MERCHANTS: THE LEGACY OF COLONIAL ENCOUNTERS ON THE CALIFORNIA FRONTIERS, among other books.

Otis Parrish is a member of the Kashaya Pomo Tribe.

 

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(08/04/2009) Love Lessons: The Selected Poems Of Alda Merini by Alda Merini. Princeton. 2009. Princeton University Press. Translated From The Italian By Susan Stewart. keywords: Poetry Italy Women Translated Literature. 130 pages. Jacket design by Pamela Lewis Schnitter. 9780691129389.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Alda Merini is one of Italy's most important, and most beloved, living poets. She has won many of the major national literary prizes and has twice been nominated for the Nobel Prize--by the French Academy in 1996 and by Italian PEN in 2001. In LOVE LESSONS, the distinguished American poet Susan Stewart brings us the largest and most comprehensive selection of Merini's poetry to appear in English. Complete with the original Italian on facing pages, a critical introduction, and explanatory notes, this collection gathers lyrics, meditations, and aphorisms that span fifty years, from Merini's first books of the 1950s to an unpublished poem from 2001. These accessible and moving poems reflect the experiences of a writer who, after beginning her career at the center of Italian Modernist circles when she was a teenager, went silent in her twenties, spending much of the next two decades in mental hospitals, only to reemerge in the 1970s to a full renewal of her gifts, an outpouring of new work, and great renown. Whether she is working in the briefest, most incisive lyric mode or the complex time schemes of longer meditations, Merini's deep knowledge of classical and Christian myth gives her work a universal, philosophical resonance, revealing what is at heart her tragic sense of life. At the same time, her ironic wit, delight in nature, and affection for her native Milan underlie even her most harrowing poems of suffering. In Stewart's skillful translations readers will discover a true sibyl of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Susan Stewart is the author of five books of poems, including RED ROVER and COLUMBARIUM, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other books include POETRY AND THE FATE OF THE SENSES, which won the Christian Gauss and Truman Capote prizes for literary criticism, and THE OPEN STUDIO: ESSAYS ON ART AND AESTHETICS. A former MacArthur Fellow, she is the Annan Professor of English at Princeton and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

 

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(08/03/2009) Frost by Thomas Bernhard. New York. 2006. Knopf. Translated From The German By Michael Hofmann. keywords: Literature Translated Germany. 345 pages. Jacket art & design by Peter Mendelsund. 1400040663. October 2006.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Visceral, raw, singular, and distinctive, FROST is the story of a friendship between a young man at the beginning of his medical career and a painter who is entering his final days. A writer of world stature, Thomas Bernhard combined a searing wit and an unwavering gaze into the human condition. FROST follows an unnamed young Austrian who accepts an unusual assignment. Rather than continue with his medical studies, he travels to a bleak mining town in the back of beyond, in order to clinically observe the aged painter, Strauch, who happens to be the brother of this young man’s surgical mentor. The catch is this: Strauch must not know the young man’s true occupation or the reason for his arrival. Posing as a promising law student with a love of Henry James, the young man befriends the mad artist and is caught up among an equally extraordinary cast of local characters, from his resentful landlady to the town’s mining engineers. This debut novel by Thomas Bernhard, which came out in German in 1963 and is now being published in English for the first time, marks the beginning of what was one of the twentieth century’s most powerful, provocative literary careers.

Thomas Bernhard was born in Holland in 1931 and grew up in Austria. His interest in music and theater led him to study at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg. He published nine novels, an autobiography, one volume of poetry, four collections of short stories, and six volumes of plays. He died in Austria in 1989.

 

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(08/02/2009) Toward The Radical Center: A Karel Capek Reader by Karel Capek. Highland Park. 1990. Catbird Press. Edited By Peter Kussi Various Translators From The Czech. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 413 pages. 0945774060.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Karel Capek (1890-1938) is generally considered the greatest Czech author of the first half of this century. This volume includes a selection of Capek's best plays, stories, columns, essays, and travel writing, all newly translated or modernized and corrected. In his writings, Capek searched for the root, or the radical center, of our contradictions and mysteries. From a paean to clumsy people and the discovery of a single footprint in an untrodden field of snow, to dramatic meditations on mortality and commitment, there is little that Karel Capek did not examine in his uniquely humorous and searching way. CONTENTS -- Plays (all in new translations): R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots), THE MAKROPULOS SECRET, THE MOTHER, and Act II of FROM THE LIFE OF THE INSECTS. Stories: from TALES FROM TWO POCKETS, APOCRYPHAL TALES, PAINFUL TALES, and WAYSIDE CROSSES. Plus humorous and serious columns, excerpts from travel books and his gardening book, and his introduction to AT THE CROSSROADS OF EUROPE, a 1938 book published by PEN to show why Czechoslovakia should be supported by the West.

Karel Capek (January 9, 1890 - December 25, 1938) was one of the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. Capek was born in Malé Svatonovice, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic). He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Capek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. He is perhaps best known as a science fiction author, who wrote before science fiction became widely recognized as a separate genre. He can be considered one of the founders of classical, non-hardcore European science fiction, a type which focuses on possible future (or alternative) social and human evolution on Earth, rather than technically advanced stories of space travel. However, it is best to classify him with Aldous Huxley and George Orwell as a speculative fiction writer, distinguishing his work from genre-specific hard science fiction. Many of his works discuss ethical and other aspects of revolutionary inventions and processes that were already anticipated in the first half of 20th century. These include mass production, atomic weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or intelligent salamanders. In addressing these themes, Capek was also expressing fear of impending social disasters, dictatorship, violence, and the unlimited power of corporations, as well as trying to find some hope for human beings.

 

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(08/01/2009) Gabriela, Clove & Cinnamon by Jorge Amado. New York. 1962. Knopf. Translated From The Portuguese By John L. Taylor & William L. Grossman. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America. 429 pages. Typography, binding, and jacket design by WARREN CHAPPELL. August 1962.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In 1925-26, Ilhéus was booming. There was a record cacao crop, but because of a sandbar in the harbor, shipments could not be made direct but had to clear through and pay tribute to the larger port to the north, Bahia. The controversy over the removal of this sandbar is one of the threads that runs through the story and gives you a wonderful picture of politics in a provincial Brazilian city. And then, too, it was the year that Colonel Mendonça lived up to the inviolable unwritten law and, shot his wife and her lover when he caught them in flagrante delicto. But above all, it was the year that Gabriela moved in from the backlands, one of a flock of dirty, bedraggled migrant workers -but what a girl she turned out to be. Nacib, the Arab owner of the most popular café-restaurant in town, was in really serious trouble-he had lost his cook. Gabriela proved to be a superb cook and, once scrubbed and decently clothed, a great beauty as well. Nacib’s business boomed and, fat and foolish though he was, he found himself the happy possessor of a mistress who loved him and who soon became the most sought-after woman in the town. In this skillfully plotted novel there is a lusty and often humorous echo of the sly political machinations that control the life of every town, and the story crackles with intrigue as progress threatens the entrenched landowners and their hired assassins, just as it threatens the town’s social and sexual mores. And Gabriela moves serenely through it all. She wields her increasing power to enchant until that age-old prerogative heretofore exercised by the cuckolded is no longer de rigueur or even legal.  

 

 

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(07/31/2009) The Absolute At Large by Karel Capek. New York. 1927. Macmillan. Translated from the Czech. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 242 pages. May 1927.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this satirical classic, a brilliant scientist invents the Karburator, a reactor that can create abundant and practically free energy. However, the Karburator’s superefficient energy production also yields a powerful by-product. The machine works by completely annihilating matter and in so doing releases the Absolute, the spiritual essence held within all matter, into the world. Infected by the heady, pure Absolute, the world’s population becomes consumed with religious and national fervor, the effects of which ultimately cause a devastating global war. Set in the mid-twentieth century, THE ABSOLUTE AT LARGE questions the ethics and rampant spread of power, mass production, and atomic weapons that Karel Capek saw in the technological and political revolutions occurring around him.

Karel Capek (January 9, 1890 - December 25, 1938) was one of the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. Capek was born in Malé Svatonovice, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic). He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Capek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. He is perhaps best known as a science fiction author, who wrote before science fiction became widely recognized as a separate genre. He can be considered one of the founders of classical, non-hardcore European science fiction, a type which focuses on possible future (or alternative) social and human evolution on Earth, rather than technically advanced stories of space travel. However, it is best to classify him with Aldous Huxley and George Orwell as a speculative fiction writer, distinguishing his work from genre-specific hard science fiction. Many of his works discuss ethical and other aspects of revolutionary inventions and processes that were already anticipated in the first half of 20th century. These include mass production, atomic weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or intelligent salamanders. In addressing these themes, Capek was also expressing fear of impending social disasters, dictatorship, violence, and the unlimited power of corporations, as well as trying to find some hope for human beings.

 

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(07/30/2009) Lyubka The Cossack & Other Stories by Isaac Babel. New York. 1963. Signet/New American Library. Newly Translated From The Russian & With An Afterword By Andrew R. MacAndrew. keywords: Signet Classic Paperback Russia Translated Literature. CT203. 285 pages. Cover art by Lambert. November 1963.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Isaac Babel has been compared to Hemingway in the violence he depicts, in his abiding theme of test and initiation, in his intense artistic dedication. Yet his style and vision are uniquely his own. Babel’s tales are shaped by deeply personal and intense ironies: maternal love vies with the harsh realities of ghetto life; a starving writer is coupled with a sensual wealthy woman; a Jewish intellectual enters into a strange alliance with brutal Cossacks in the Goyaesque horrors of war in Poland. Babel’s stories are written with passionate devotion to the mot juste, the swift phrase, the unexpected image, and they form a series of lightninglike attacks upon the reader’s sensibilities. From the author’s juxtaposition of gruesome detail and lyric grace there emerges an unforgettable revelation of the mingled bestiality and beauty that lie in primitive emotion and naked action. Lionel Trilling called the stories in RED CAVALRY ‘the most remarkable work of fiction that had yet come out of revolutionary Russia. having upon it the mark of exceptional talent, even of genius.’

 

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(07/29/2009) The Sinking Of The Titanic: A Poem by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Boston. 1980. Houghton Mifflin. Translated from the German by The Author. keywords: Poetry Germany Literature Translated. 98 pages. 0395291216.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC is a poem of major proportion. The poet takes the tragic sinking of the famous ocean liner as the central image in a work that explores the historic event as a symbol of our entire culture. In this striking narrative, Enzensberger deals not only with a catastrophe in the past but with its metaphorical significance in the present - for all those facing impending doom. The poem, which treats the specifics of the wreck and depicts the pathetic confusion of crew, passengers, the dead, and the survivors, reveals that the poet's vision is firmly fixed on the great ship and its human freight as aspects of modern myth. Enzensberger employs a variety of styles within the poem—the lyric, the dramatic, the ballad—and intersperses the main narrative with commentary that is sometimes descriptive, sometimes polemic. The final stanzas are a hymn to the fierce necessity of survival and to the observer/narrator who bears witness.

 

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(07/28/2009) Vilnius Poker by Ricardas Gavelis. Rochester. 2009. Open Letter. Translated From The Lithuanian by Elizabeth Novickas. keywords: Literature Lithuania Translated. 491 pages. Cover design by Milan Bazic. 9781934824054.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Vytautas Vargalys is stuck in an absurd job, helping to create a digital catalog for a library in Soviet-ruled Vilnius that no one is allowed to access. A survivor of the labor camps, an experience which has left him both physically and mentally damaged, Vargalys is obsessed with finding out ‘what’s really going on’ in Vilnius. As his tenuous grip on reality begins to slip, he discovers that They have taken over. They are dead-eyed demons who have assumed human form; They are determined to steal everyone's soul and turn the world to shit. Vargalys begins to find evidence of Their presence wherever he looks: in books, in the death of his best friend, and in the beautiful women who are sent to work at the library. One of these beautiful women is Lolita, an aptly named seductress with a mysterious past and a growing love for Vargalys. Vilnius Poker chronicles the tragic relationship between Vargalys and Lolita - and between Vilnius and everyone who lives in the city - from four different perspectives, and it captures the surreal horror of life under the Soviet yoke by turns lyrical, philosophical, and deeply shockingly, VILNIUS POKER is often referred to as ‘the turning point in Lithuanian literature’ and it earned Gavelis his reputation as Lithuania's greatest novelist.

Ricardas Gavelis was a prose writer and playwright. He published his first book - a collection of short stories entitled THE CELEBRATION THAT HAS NOT BEGUN - in 1976 and went on to write six novels, three collections of stories, and several plays before passing away in 2002. His other novels include SEVEN WAYS TO COMMIT SUICIDE, THE LAST GENERATION OF PEOPLE ON EARTH, and THE LIFE OF SUN-TZU IN THE SACRED CITY OF VILNIUS. This is his first novel to be published in English.

Elizabeth Novickas graduated from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a M. A. in Lithuanian Language and Literature. She has worked previously as a bookbinder, newspaper designer, cartographer, and computer system administrator. VILNIUS POKER is her first full-length literary translation.

 

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(07/27/2009) Cousin Bazilio by Eca de Queiroz. Sawtry, Cambs. 2003. Dedalus Books. Translated From The Portuguese By Margaret Jull Costa. keywords: Literature Portugal Translated. 439 pages. Cover illustration by Paula Rego, 'The Bride '. Cover design by David Bird. 1903517087.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   COUSIN BAZILIO is a tale of sexual folly and hypocrisy and vividly depicts bourgeois life in nineteenth-century Lisbon. Eça gives us a whole gallery of characters from Bazilio the suave villain to Jorge the smugly uxorious husband, from Luiza the bored, empty-headed wife to Juliana, the plain, ailing maidservant desperate, by whatever means, to grab some of life's little luxuries, from Leopoldina, nicknamed 'the Ever-Open Door', to Joana the cook and her affair with the tubercular carpenter who lives opposite, and the voluminous Dona Felicidade who nurses an entirely unrequited passion for the unbearably pompous Acácio, who lives in concubinage with his much younger housekeeper, who is also having an affair. Eça de Queiroz is Portugal's greatest nineteenth-century writer. This, his second novel, was published in 1878 to great acclaim and great scandal. What scandalised then was the book's frank description of sex and sexual desire. What still grips the reader now is the author's acute portrayal of the constraints imposed on both men and women, but especially women, and, as ever with Eça, his unerring sense of irony.

  

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(07/24/2009) Strindberg: Five Plays by August Strindberg. Berkeley. 1983. University Of California Press. Translated From The Swedish & With An Introduction By Harry G. Carlson. keywords: Drama Literature Sweden Translated. 297 pages. Jacket design by Janet Wood. 520046978.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Harry G. Carlson's new translations of August Strindberg's most frequently performed plays - THE FATHER, MISS JULIE, A DREAM PLAY, THE DANCE OF DEATH, and THE GHOST SONATA are the first to appear in 20 years. They take into account the subtle changes in language that have evolved over this period and embrace the freshness of colloquial, spoken English. At the same time Professor Carlson has captured the spirit of the original Swedish texts, remaining faithful to Strindberg's poetic resonances and evanescent imagery. Strindberg is, first and foremost, a theatre poet whose dialogue is at its best when spoken. Until now, however, available translations have been encumbered by a generally undramatic, staid quality that is more typical of written language than its spoken counterpart Here, Professor Carlson preserves what he terms the speakability and playability of Strindberg's poetry in translations intended to be acted as well as read. They have been acclaimed for their fluency and elegance, in fact, in several recent Off Broadway productions. Bound in a durable edition with extra-wide margins intended for the notes of actors, directors, and stage manages, this collection of plays will be an outstanding resource both in the classroom and on the stage.

Harry G. Carlson is Professor of Drama and Theatre at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He has written widely on Scandinavian drama and theatre; his translations of plays - and critical guides - including the definitive biography of Strindberg by Martin Lamm - earned him a prize from the Artur Lundkvist Foundation in Sweden.

 

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(07/23/2009) Stepping Stones: Interviews With Seamus Heaney by Dennis O'Driscoll. New York. 2008. Farrar Straus Giroux. keywords: Poetry Biography Seamus Heaney Ireland. 523 pages. Jacket design by Charlotte Strick. Jacket photograph of Seamus Heaney from the Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archive Collection, John J. 9780374269838.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Widely regarded as the finest poet of his generation, Seamus Heaney is the subject of numerous critical studies, but no book-length portrait has appeared before now. Through his own lively and eloquent reminiscences, STEPPING STONES retraces the poet’s steps from his first exploratory testing of the ground as an infant to what he called his ‘moon-walk’ to the podium to receive the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature. It also fascinatingly charts his post-Nobel life and is supplemented with a number of photographs, many from the Heaney family album and published here for the first time. In response to firm but subtle questioning from Dennis O’Driscoll, Heaney sheds a personal light on his work and on the artistic and ethical challenges he faced during the dark years of the Ulster Troubles. Combining the spontaneity of animated conversation with the considered qualities of the best autobiographical writing, STEPPING STONES provides an original, diverting, and absorbing store of reflections and recollections. Scholars and general readers alike are brought closer to the work, life, and creative development of a charismatic and lavishly gifted poet whose latest collection, DISTRICT AND CIRCLE, was awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2007.

DENNIS O'DRISCOLL's previous publications include NEW AND SELECTED POEMS and REALITY CHECK. He is the author of a collection of essays and reviews, TROUBLED THOUGHTS, MAJESTIC DREAMS, and the editor of QUOTE POET UNQUOTE. He works as a civil servant in Dublin.

 

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(07/22/2009) Memoirs by Pablo Neruda. New York. 1977. Farrar Straus Giroux. Translated From The Spanish By Hardie St. Martin. keywords: Literature Translated Chile Latin America Poetry. 370 pages. Jacket design by Antonio Frasconi. 0374206600.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Perhaps no other poet received in his lifetime the international recognition and honors that Pablo Neruda received, was so widely translated, or exerted such far-reaching influence. His name has long been a byword in the Spanish-speaking world, and over the past decade he has been increasingly read and admired in the United States and England. Neruda’s long-awaited memoirs begin with a lyrical evocation of his childhood in the south of Chile - then a frontier wilderness - where he was born, the son of a railway-man, in 1904. He retraces, with numerous anecdotes and loving recollections of people and places, his Bohemian student years in Santiago; his sojourns as Chilean consul in Burma, Ceylon, and Java, in Spain during the civil war, and finally in Mexico; and his service as a senator of the people of Chile. Neruda, a Communist, was driven from his senate seat in 1948, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. After a year in hiding, he escaped on horseback over the Andes and then to Europe; his travels took him to Russia, Eastern Europe, and China before he was finally able to return home in 1952. The following year he was awarded the Stalin Prize, the highest literary honor of the U. S. S. R. In 1969, Chile’s Communist Party chose Neruda as its candidate in the presidential election, but he soon withdrew in favor of Salvador Allende. In 1971, while ambassador to France, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Failing health led to his return to Chile in November 1972, where he died less than a year later, twelve days after the coup that overthrew Allende. The final section of these memoirs was written after the coup, and Spanish editions were published in Argentina and Spain several months after Neruda’s death. In these pages we meet many of the century’s most important literary and artistic figures, who were Neruda’s friends - Garcia Lorca, Vallejo, Alberti, Eluard, Aragon, Ehrenburg, Picasso, Siqueiros, and Rivera, among them - and also such political leaders as Gandhi, Nehru, Mao Tse-tung, Castro, Che Guevara, and of course Neruda’s good friend Allende. Neruda not only explains his views on poetry and describes the circumstances that inspired many of his poems, but he speaks out in defense of the causes he considered just and vigorously supported. This intimate and revealing record of the poet’s life, written in his unmistakable style, is a significant part of the history of our time. The final editing of Pablo Neruda’s memoirs was interrupted by his death, Matilde Neruda and Miguel Otero Silva prepared the manuscript for publication. CONTENTS: 1. THE COUNTRY BOY; 2. LOST IN THE CITY; 3. THE ROADS OF THE WORLD; 4. LUMINOUS SOLITUDE; 5. SPAIN IN MY HEART; 6. I WENT OUT TO LOOK FOR THE FALLEN; 7. MEXICO, BLOSSOMING AND THORNY; 8. MY COUNTRY IN DARKNESS; 9. BEGINNING AND END OF EXILE; 10. VOYAGE AND HOMECOMING; 11. POETRY IS AN OCCUPATION; 12. CRUEL, BELOVED HOMELAND; Chronology; Index. 1974 by the Estate of Pablo Neruda). 1974 by the Estate of Pablo Neruda).

 

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(07/21/2009) The Prose Edda: Tales From Norse Mythology by Snorri Sturluson. Berkeley. 1964. University Of California Press. Translated from The Icelandic By Jean I. Young. keywords: Literature Iceland Scandinavia Translated Norse Mythology Saga. 131 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Written by Iceland’s most versatile literary genius, Snorri Sturluson’s PROSE EDDA is a work without predecessor or parallel. Snorri was born in western Iceland in 1179, the son of a great chieftain, and early in his career won a reputation at home and in Norway for his poetic talents. Later he traveled to Norway and wrote the lives of the kings: the HEIMSKRINGLA SAGA, EGIL’S SAGA, and ST. OLAF’S SAGA, a work unsurpassed in Icelandic prose. The PROSE EDDA - edda means ‘the poetic art - was designed as a handbook for poets to compose in the style of the skalds of the Viking ages. Snorri feared that the traditional techniques, the pagan kennings, and the allusions to mythology would be forgotten with the introduction of new verse forms from Europe. Arranged in three parts, The PROSE EDDA is an exposition of the rules of poetic diction with many examples, applications, and retellinqs of myths and legends. The first part is the GYLFAGINNING, ‘The Deluding of Gylfi,’ a guide to mythology that forms one of the great story books of the Middle Ages. The second part, the SKALDSKAPARMAL, ‘Poetic Diction,’ gives examples of technical expressions such as kennings. The third part, the HÁTTATAL, a long poem written in honor of King Hákon and Duke Sküli, is omitted in this translation. The present selection includes the whole of ‘The Deluding of Gylfi’ and the longer heroic tales and legends interspersed in the illustrations of ‘Poetic Diction.’ Snorri Sturluson was a master storyteller and this translation in modern idiom of his inimitable tales of the gods and heroes of the Scandinavian peoples brings them to life again for their own sakes.

 

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(07/19/2009) Macunaima by Mario De Andrade. New York. 1984. Random House. Translated From The Portuguese By E. A. Goodland. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America Mythology. 169 pages. Jacket art: Rita Loureiro. 0394534123. July 1984.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Announcing a major literary event: here is the first translation into English of a landmark precursor of Latin American magical realism, which has informed the work of contemporary writers from Garcia Marquez to Salman Rushdie. MACUNAIMA, first published in Portuguese in 1928, and one of the masterworks of Brazilian literature, is a comic folkloric rhapsody about the adventures of a popular hero whose fate is intended to define the national character of Brazil. ‘Inventive, blessedly unsentimental,’ as Kirkus Reviews has it, and incorporating and interpreting the rich exotic myths and legends of Brazil, Macunaima traces the hero’s quest for a magic charm, a gift from the gods, that he lost by transgressing the mores of his culture. Born in the heart of the darkness of the jungle, Macunaima is a complex of contradictory traits, and can at will magically change his age, his race, his geographic location, to suit his purposes and overcome obstacles. Dramatizing aspects of Brazil in transition, Macunaima undergoes sometimes hilarious, sometimes grotesque transformations until his final annihilation and apotheosis as the Great Bear constellation in the heavens. One of the founders of the Modernist Movement of Brazil,

MARIO DE ANDRADE was born in São Paulo in 1893. He studied at the Conservatory of Music and Drama, but his scholarly training also extended to anthropology and folklore. He wrote what is still regarded as some of the most important work in twentieth-century Brazilian poetry, and copious literary music and art criticism. He is similar to Cocteau in the force and versatility of his artistic character, but closer to Breton in the critical impact that his work had on the avant-garde in the post - World War I period of Brazilian letters. Mario de Andrade died in 1945.

 

 

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(07/17/2009) The Black Heralds by Cesar Vallejo. Pittsburgh. 1990. Latin American Literary Review Press. Translated from the Spanish by Richard Schaaf & Kathleen Ross. keywords: Poetry Translated Latin America Peru Literature. 174 pages. Cover: Dea Trier Morch. 0935480439. (original title: los heraldos negros, Lima, Peru, 1918).

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From these early poems to his late poems, published after his death in 1938, Vallejo’s work shows a mystical and social vision that penetrates the deepest recesses of the human spirit and consciousness. Peru’s leading social thinker and critic, José Carlos Mariátegui, wrote in 1928: ‘César Vallejo’s first book, Los heraldos negros [THE BLACK HERALDS], ushers in the dawn of a new poetry in Peru. Vallejo is a creator; even if Los heraldos negros had been his only work, it still would have inaugurated a new epoch in our literary process. These initial lines of Los heraldos negros probably mark the beginning of Peruvian, in the sense of indigenous, poetry: ‘There are blows in life, so hard. I just don’t know! / Blows as from God’s hatred; as if before them, / the backwash of everything suffered / welled-up in the soul. I just don’t know!’ With the publication of this faithful and inspired rendering of THE BLACK HERALDS, English readers can finally understand how the young, bohemian Vallejo, along with Pablo Neruda in Chile, was to change forever the voice of Latin American poetry.

CESAR VALLEJO, one of the great poets of this century and Peru’s greatest modem poet, was born in 1892 in Santiago de Chuco in northern Peru. Vallejo wrote of people and things he experienced: he worked as a miner, he spent time in jail, he experienced the alienation of exile, he knew the horror of hunger, exploitation and war, he was an active communist. THE BLACK HERALDS is his first book of verse and one of two books published in Peru before he left for Paris in 1923. He never returned. 

 

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(07/16/2009) Children In Exile: Poems 1968-1984 by James Fenton. New York. 1984. Random House. keywords: Poetry England. 112 pages. Jacket design by Richard Adelson. 0394533607.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   James Fenton's THE MEMORY OF WAR: POEMS 1968-1982 was published in Britain in 1982 to an extraordinary onrush of critical enthusiasm. Not since the appearance of W H. Auden's Poems of 1930 has a new voice—one that seems to signal the emergence of a new poetic generation—been so widely and enthusiastically noticed. CHILDREN IN EXILE contains all the poems in THE MEMORY OF WAR, as well as the new poems Fenton has written since that book was published. Some of the poems draw on his extensive experience as a journalist in Indochina in the early seventies and later in Germany—evoking the ravaging effects of war with a directness and a lyric elegance that is all the more powerful for its restraint. Other poems deal, often fancifully or sardonically, with modern English scenes; the group entitled ‘The Empire of the Senseless’ are nonsense poems, worthy inheritors of a distinguished tradition that includes Lewis Carroll, Eliot and Auden. Fenton's work is elegant, highly finished, reticent, witty. It can also be disturbing and deeply affecting. His poems limn the dimensions of a post-modern sensibility in a sophisticated, skeptical and humane manner which seems immediately to broaden the possibilities for his chosen art form, charting sudden new territories for investigation and expression. CHILDREN IN EXILE is an exhilarating and memorable performance, worthy of being widely read, and reread.

 

 

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(07/14/2009) Stranger At The Gate by John Hearne. London. 1956. Faber & Faber. keywords: Literature Caribbean Jamaica Black. 304 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The explosive interaction of political and private passion, the dark crosscurrents of race and history, the clash of loyalties in conflict, all combine to charge John Hearne’s second novel with pace and concentrated power. Only a narrow stretch of Caribbean water divides Cayuna from St Pierre: the first solid, settled, British for centuries; the second a black republic under the left-wing dictatorship of Henri Etienne. And when Etienne’s government is overthrown and he himself driven to Cayuna for clandestine refuge his coming is a catalyst which precipitates violence and disaster - and love and heroism - in several different lives. In the life of Carl Brandt, handsome, generous, universally liked and respected, owner of Brandt’s Pen and head of the Brandts who for two centuries have been among the island’s leading families; of his best friend, Roy Mackenzie, lawyer and left-wing politician, brilliant, ambitious, unstable, fanatical in his devotion both to causes and to people; of Sheila Pearce who disorients both their lives; of Hector Slade, the decent, likeable man and devoted amateur scholar who is the tough and efficient head of the island’s police; of Tiger Johnson, uncrowned king of that pullulating shantytown which everybody calls ‘the jungle’. When John Hearne’s first novel, Voices Under the Window, was published in 1955, it was very widely acclaimed; and was accepted as exciting evidence that a new and outstanding writer had arrived. Stranger at the Gate more than fulfils the promise of its predecessor. In its breadth and scope, in the suppleness and solidity of its characterization, in its narrative and descriptive power, it marks an impressive development in the range of John Hearne’s already impressive powers.

 

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(07/13/2009) The Order Of The Day: An Unindentified Flying Opus by Marcio Souza. New York. 1986. Avon/Bard. Translated From The Portuguese By Thomas Colchie. Paperback Original. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America. 223 pages. 0380897652. July 1986.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   CHUPA-CHUPA - Things were heating up in the Amazon jungles. Vera Martins, Ministry of culture agent assigned to Parintins, had run into an old lover with an immediate resumption of amorous activities. And the natives of this steam y tropical village had experienced a tern in encounter with blood sucking aliens. In this case the intruders were Chupa-chupa from outer space, not the United States. Despite scientific evidence - and the involvement of the KGB and CIA - the incident was being covered up by the Brazilian government. Vera, however, was determined to expose the truth about the strange disappearances, deaths, returns-from-the-dead, and an El inspired coup d’etat. The result is a hilariously funny, sharp-edged satire on power and politics, intrigue and absurdity mixed with a salsa beat. TRANSLATED BY THOMAS COLCHIE.

MARCIO SOUZA was born in 1946 in Manaus, the Amazon region of Brazil. He began writing film criticism for newspapers when he was fourteen years old. He studied social sciences at the University of Sao Paulo. THE EMPEROR OF THE AMAZON, his first novel, was an extraordinary bestseller in Brazil and was serialized in a major Paris newspaper. Its pointed critique of Amazonian society cost him job with the Ministry of Culture. In 1967 he published a collection of film writings under the title Mostrador de Sombras (Show of Shadows}. Souza is also a filmmaker and a dramatist. As a playwright, he works with Teatro Experimental do Sesc Amazonas, an important group fighting for the preservation and defense of the Amazon. His second novel, MAD MARIA, is also available from Avon/Bard Books in a translation by Thomas Colchie.

 

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(07/11/2009) Selected Poems by Lars Gustafsson. New York. 1972. New Rivers Press. Translated From The Swedish By Robin Fulton. Photographs by Arthur Tress. keywords: Poetry Literature Sweden Translated. 106 pages. Cover by Arthur Tress. 0912284285.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘Lars Gustafsson's poetry is a poetry of stark and mysterious contrasts, stark because the combinations of apparently familiar objects can be startling and unexpected, and mysterious because the power of what is not said seems to be all the greater for the clarity with which the variegated details are presented. Witness the strange arrest, the expectancy that will never be fulfilled. ’ – from the introduction by Robin Fulton.

 

 

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(07/10/2009) Before The Birth Of The Moon by V. Y. Mudimbe. New York. 1989. Simon & Schuster. Translated From The French By Marjolijn De Jager. keywords: Literature Zaire Africa Black Translated. 205 pages. Jacket design by Jackie Seow-Pracher. Jacket illustration by Anthony Russo. 0671675664. January 1989.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   BEFORE THE BIRTH OF THE MOON is a story of passion, love and power, of deception and hate. It is a story of the romance of a statesman and a prostitute caught in a web of sincere lies and manipulations, a man and a woman reflecting each other like distorted mirrors. Their complex relationship, set in the steamy, smoke-filled night world of Kinshasa, Zaire, is a powerful metaphor for a society

V.Y. Mudimbe (born 8 December 1941, Jadotville) is a philosopher, professor, and author of books and articles about African culture, poems, and novels. He was born in the Belgian Congo, which became Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a young man, he joined a monastery, but left in order to study the forces that shaped African history. After teaching at Haverford College and Stanford University, he now teaches at Duke University. Mudimbe focuses most closely on phenomenology, structuralism, mythical narratives, and the practice and use of language. As a professor, he teaches classes on these topics, as well as on ancient Greek cultural geography.

 

 

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(07/09/2009) In Wonderland by Knut Hamsun. Brooklyn. 2004. IG Publishing. Translated From The Norwegian by Sverre Lyngstad. keywords: Literature Norway Trannslated. 192 pages. Cover artwork by Lorna Leighton. 0970312555.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   First published one hundred years ago, and now translated into English for the first time by noted Norwegian scholar Sverre Lyngstad, IN WONDERLAND is a diaristic account of a trip Hamsun took to Russia at the turn of the century. This detailed travelogue is a rich and loving portrait of the people and culture of Russia, and is filled with the trademark style and keen observations of the author of such classics as HUNGER, MYSTERIES, and GROWTH OF THE SOIL. IN WONDERLAND is unlike any other book written by Hamsun, and offers not only an intimate glimpse into the mind of the Nobel Prize winning author at his unguarded best, but a rare view into a Russia that would soon vanish in the fire of revolution.

 

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(07/07/2009) The Issa Valley by Czeslaw Milosz. New York. 1981. Farrar Straus Giroux. Translated from the Polish by Louis Iribarne. keywords: Literature Translated Poland Eastern Europe. 288 pages. Jacket art by Jan Lebenstein. 0374177988.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘The Issa Valley has the distinction of being inhabited by an unusually large number of devils. ‘ So begins one of the storyteller’s descriptions of his child-protagonist’s Lithuanian countryside. Thomas inhabits, as did Milosz, a world to which Christianity came late; a time when nature still held forth the possibility of both pagan ecstasy and Manichacan horror. John Bayley, writing in The Times Literary Supplement, ascribes to Milosz ‘the freedom and detachment’ that allow him not to shun a certain kind of old-fashioned literary good manners.’ The extraordinary episodes of THE ISSA VALLEY, rich with the imagery of a poet, have a ring of authority that leads the reader to suspect autobiographical elements, Thomas is subject to both the contradictions of nature in this severe northern setting and the sometimes enchanting, sometimes brutal timbre of village life. There are the deep pine and spruce forests, the grouse and the deer, and the hunter’s gun. And there is Magdalena, the beautiful, lowly mistress of the village priest, whose suicide unleashes her ghost to haunt the parish. When Catholic exorcisms fail to appease her spirit, the village resorts to a violent pagan rite, with the new priest’s tacit approval. There are also the warm and cultivated grandparents with whom Thomas lives, who provide a balance to the not-quite-Dostoevskian devils which pay visits to the village people. In the end, Thomas is severed from his childhood and the Issa River, and leaves prepared for adventures beyond his valley. THE ISSA VALLEY, one of Milosz’s two works of fiction, was first published in Polish in 1955 and is now translated into English for the first time.

CZESLAW MILOSZ is universally acknowledged as the greatest living poet writing in Polish, He was born in 1911 in the heart of Lithuania and was educated in Wilno, a city which then belonged to Poland, After his first two collections of poems were published, political pressures forced him to move to Warsaw in the late 19305. During World War II, he worked clandestinely in Warsaw as a writer and editor for Resistance publications. After the war, Milosz, a socialist, joined the Polish diplomatic service, but, following the suppression of the coalition government, broke with the regime in 1951, and settled in Paris, Since 1961 he has been Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California at Berkeley, while continuing to translate and to write and publish poems and essays. In 1978, Milosz received the Neustadt International Prize for Literature; in 1980, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

LOUIS IRIBARNE teaches Polish and Russian literature at the University of Toronto. His previously published translations include books by Witold Gombrowicz, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, and Stanislaw Lem. He has been a Translator-in-Residence at the National Translation Center, and in 1979 he received the Alfred Jurzykowski Award for Translations from the Polish.

 

 

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(07/06/2009) Life Is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera. New York. 1974. Knopf. Translated From The Czech By Peter Kussi. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 293 pages. Jacket illustration by Frank A. Fitzgerald. 0394480104. July 1974.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   ‘It a necessary to be absolutely modern.’ – Rimbaud. The Poet - From his birth he is willed to be Artist by his romantic, disappointed mother, who praises his first stumble into rhyme As a boy, he is stung when his schoolmates contradict the image she has imposed on him: Prodigy. As a youth, he escapes her - in search of his own authentic self. To be modern, to be radical, to change the world - this is his compulsion, his idea of the artist's place in the cosmic scheme. At last, at the University of Prague, as the Communists rally the students to their cause, he is endowed with a persona that both he and the rest of the world can accept: People's Literary Hero, an identity validated by the rousing applause given his poems by the assembled members of the poetry circle of the Police Academy. This is Jaromil, protagonist of Milan Kundera's brilliant, unsparing, and high-comic novel - a portrait of the self-deluded poet defining himself through abstract cliche yet determined to stand out as Hero, whose naive and frenzied venture into the real blood and guts of politics preordains his emergence as fool and informer, setting in motion a tragedy of errors. In its wry, sly, ultimately blasphemous ambushing of the very essence of the romantic poet's ego and the ‘lyrical’ attitude toward life - nearly every episode in Jaromil's story has its counter - part in the life of some great poet - LIFE IS ELSEWHERE demonstrates the gifts that have won for Kundera, Czechoslovakia's foremost novelist, the praise of such diverse writers as Sartre, Aragon, and Philip Roth.

 

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(07/05/2009) Homo Faber by Max Frisch. London/New York. 1959. Abelard-Schuman. Translated From The German By Michael Bullock. keywords: Literature Translated Germany Switzerland. 200 pages. Jacket design by Colin Spencer.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   There are only a few novelists for whose new work readers truly wait. Since the publication of I’M NOT STILLER, Max Frisch is among these. In Stiller, he had created an artist-intellectual who consciously sought to lose himself; in Walter Faber, the protagonist of his deceptively simple new novel, Frisch has given us a technologist-engineer, impatient with such metaphysics, who loses himself nonetheless, but this time without consciousness, Yet, as before, the theme is a man’s need to rediscover his past, derive self-knowledge, and atone for his failings. Caught by the fate they have prepared for themselves, Frisch’s characters discover their own existence in ‘a sphere where the comic and the tragic meet,’ And Frisch, as one critic has remarked, ‘is one of the rare writers who can show both at once.’ Travelling on a UNESCO mission to an underdeveloped South American country, Faber, the man who distrusts emotions as ‘fatigue phenomena’ and believes only in the calculable, is involved in a series of incalculable events by which he meets and becomes the lover of his own illegitimate daughter, Sabeth. Taking leave from his work, Faber joins Sabeth in a trip through France and Italy, at the end of which she is to rejoin her mother in Athens, He does not suspect her identity until a chance remark on the way reveals the maiden name of her mother, twice married and divorced since Faber last saw her, Sabeth and Faber are thrown into one another’s arms by the overwhelming emotion experienced during a lunar eclipse, a cosmic event which Faber of course tries to dismiss as an easily explicable astronomical phenomenon, blinding himself to the impact it has on the more primitive levels of his mind. Through the jottings in Faber’s journal, w~ learn that he is a man who in his youth said ‘No’ to experience. He had loved Hanna, Sabeth’s mother, enough to accept responsibility; he had been unable to commit himself wholly as friend, lover, husband, or father, just as for twenty years he has been unable to acknowledge his guilt for these failings, Caught now, by the very chance he despises so much, in a tragedy of positively classical horror, Faber at last experiences all of these things. For life does not let itself be denied, save at the price of life. Frisch penetrates deeply into the soul of modern man who arrogantly assumes the superiority of human handiwork over nature’s, an attitude which in Faber, as in all of us, masks an ingrained self- distrust, a sense of inadequacy and alienation from our own deepest and most genuine feelings. Perhaps Max Frisch’s greatest triumph is that he can carry in Faber’s own idiom, the idiom of the unliterary man, all that his hero feels on his journey south, towards illumination, fulfillment and destruction.

 

 

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(07/04/2009) Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles. New York. 1943. Knopf. keywords: Literature America Women. 273 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Eccentric, adventurous Christina Goering Meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs. Copperfield at a party. Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves, they go in search of salvation: Mrs. Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, where she finds solace among the women who live and work in its brothels; while Miss Goering becomes involved with various men. At the end the two women meet again, each changed by her experience. Mysterious, profound, anarchic and very funny, TWO SERIOUS LADIES is a daring, original work that defies analysis. 


 

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(07/03/2009) The Investigation by Stanislaw Lem. New York. 1974. Seabury Press. Translated From The Polish By Adele Milch. keywords: Literature Translated Poland Eastern Europe Science Fiction Mystery. 216 pages. Jacket design by Ted Menten. Photograph by Bolestaw Lutostawski. 0816491658.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A young officer at Scotland Yard is assigned to investigate a baffling and eerie case of missing-and apparently resurrected-bodies. Encounters with the chief inspector and other key figures supply Lieutenant Gregory with scientific, religious, and philosophical theories, and with a series of potential clues-but is there in fact a solution to the mystery? Lem’s unique contribution to the detective-mystery genre reflects his fascination with bizarre and random events; it is a disturbing book, and its incredible ending will astonish readers. Literary critic, screenwriter, novelist, essayist, and futurologist, Polish author Stanistaw Lem is one of Europe’s most prolific and articulate writers, with translations in close to thirty languages and a total sale around the world of more than six million copies of his many works. His writing represents an extraordinary range of subject and style, most frequently dealing with the confrontation between human values and other, alien systems.

Stanistaw Lem was born on September 12, 1921, in Lvov, Poland Originally trained in the field of medicine, he has been writing since 1946. Lem is co-founder of the Polish Astronautical Society and a member of the Polish Cybernetics Association, and serves on the advisory board of the Science Fiction Association of the College of Wooster, Ohio. His works have earned him a special, honorary Nebula Award.

 

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(07/01/2009) Those Who Eat The Cascadura by Samuel Selvon. London. 1972. Davis-Poynter Limited. keywords: Literature Trinidad India Caribbean. 182 pages. Jacket illustration by Maxwell United. 0706700023.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Only Manko, the village obeaman, foresees trouble when Roger Franklin invites his old friend, Gary Johnson, to come and stay on his cacao estate in Trinidad. Before long, however, the premonitions of the old medicine man are fulfilled. The estate workers are already uneasy in their new role with the white men after Trinidadian independence and the love of Gary for the lovely Indian, Sarajini, only aggravates their prejudices. The love affair acts as a catalyst to expose the rivalries, jealousies and intrigues amongst the villagers and what had been a happy-go-lucky atmosphere quickly evaporates as tension begins to mount. Oppressive weather culminating in a hurricane is by no means the only storm with which the community has to contend and Roger Franklin, already immersed in a controversy between the sugar and cacao planters finds he can no longer afford to ignore what is happening on his estate. Samuel Selvon writes with a light and evocative touch about his island and the result is a tale full of atmosphere and teeming with life.

 

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