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(05/27/2009) The Taker & Other Stories by Rubem Fonseca. Rochester. 2008. Open Letter. Translated From The Portuguese By Clifford E. Landers. keywords: Literature Brazil Latin America South America Translated. 173 pages. Jacket design by Milan Bozic. 9781934824023.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Most widely admired for his short fiction, THE TAKER AND OTHER STORIES is Fonseca's first collection to appear in English translation, and it ranges across his oeuvre, exploring the sights and sounds of the modern landscape of Rio de Janeiro. Rubem Fonseca's Rio is a city at war, a city whose vast disparities—in wealth, social standing, and prestige—are untenable. In the stories of The Takei; rich and poor live in an uneasy equilibrium, where only overwhelming force can maintain order, and violence and deception are essential tools of survival. Whether recounting the story of a businessman who runs over pedestrians to let off steam, a serial killer being pushed to ever greater crimes by his bourgeois lover, the desperate poor rushing to butcher a cow that has been killed in a traffic accident, or a man seeking out confirmation for a past that his friends deny, Fonseca repeatedly reaffirms his status as one of the purest storytellers on the contemporary Brazilian literary scene.

 

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(05/26/2009) Elegy For The Departure & Other Poems by Zbigniew Herbert. New York. 1999. Ecco Press. Translated From The Polish BY John & Bogdana Carpenter. keywords: Poetry Literature Poland Translated. 134 pages. Jacket photograph by Nick Vaccarfo/Photonica. Jacket design by Michaela Sullivan. 0880016191.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Available for the first time in English, ELEGY FOR THE DEPARTURE AND OTHER POEMS is an important collection from the late Zbigniew Herbert. Translated from the Polish by award-winning translators John and Bogdana Carpenter, these sixty-eight verse and prose poems span forty years of Herbert's incredible life and work. The pieces are organized chronologically from 1950 to 1990, with an emphasis on the writer's early and late poems. Here Zbigniew Herbert's poetry turns from the public - what we have come to expect from this poet—to the more personal. The title poem, ‘Elegy for the Departure of Pen Ink and Lamp,’ is a three-part farewell ode to the inanimate objects and memories of childhood. Herbert reflects on the relationship between the living and the dead in ‘What Our Dead Do,’ the state of his homeland in ‘Country,’ and the power of language in 'We fall asleep on words. Herbert's short prose poems read like aphorisms, deceptively whimsical but always wise: ‘Bears are divided, into brown and white, also paws, head, and trunk. They have nice snouts, and small eyes. Children who love Winnie-the-Pooh would give them anything, but a hunter walks in the forest and aims with his rifle between that pair of small eyes. ’ ELEGY FOR THE DEPARTURE AND OTHER POEMS confirms Zbigniew Herbert's place as one of the world's greatest and most influential poets.

 

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(05/25/2009) The Pyramid & Four Other Kurt Wallander Mysteries by Henning Mankell. New York. 2008. New Press. Translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg & Laurie Thompson. keywords: Mystery Sweden Literature Translated. 392 pages. Jacket photograph by Frederic Cirou/Jupiter Images. Jacket design by Pollen, New York. 9781565849945.

Kurt Wallander - He works tirelessly, eats badly and drinks the nights away in a lonely, neglected flat. Still, he tackles some pretty incredible cases - An old man has been tortured and beaten to death, his wife lies barely alive beside his shattered body, victims of violence beyond reason. a teenage girl douses herself in gasoline and set herself aflame. The next day Sweden's former Minister of Justice has been axed to death and scalped in a murder that has the obvious markings of a demented serial killer… four nuns and an unidentified fifth woman are found with their throats slit in an Algerian convent, while in Sweden, a birdwatcher is skewered to death in a pit of carefully sharpened bamboo poles… a Swedish housewife is murdered execution-style in a string of events that uncovers a plot to assassinate Nelson Mandela involving the South African secret service and a ruthless ex-KGB agent… an old acquaintance of Wallander’s, a solicitor, who is tied to an enigmatic business tycoon hiding behind an entourage of brusque secretaries and tight security, turns up dead, shot three times after his father dies in a traffic accident (or was it an accident?). In woodland outside Ystad, the police make an horrific discovery: a severed head, and hands locked together in an attitude of prayer. A Bible lies at the victim's side, the pages marked with handwritten corrections. A string of macabre incidents, including attacks on domestic animals, has been taking place, a group of religious extremists who are bent on punishing the world's sinners. … On Midsummer's Eve, three friends gather in a secluded meadow in Sweden. In the beautifully clear twilight, they don costumes and begin a secret role-play. But an uninvited guest soon brings their performance to a gruesome conclusion. His approach is careful; his aim is perfect. Three bullets, three corpses… An unknown killer is on the loose, and their only lead is a photograph of a strange woman no one in Sweden seems to know…A life raft washes ashore in Skane, Sweden, carrying two dean men in expensive suits, shot gangland-style. It is discovered that the men were Eastern European criminals… A man stops at an ATM during his evening walk and inexplicably falls dead to the ground. Two teenage girls brutally murder a taxi driver They are quickly apprehended, shocking local policemen with their complete lack of remorse. One girl escapes police custody and disappears without a trace. A few days later a blackout cuts power to a large swath of the country When a serviceman arrives at the malfunctioning power substation, he makes a grisly discovery… a shadowy group of anarchic terrorists, hidden by the anonymity of cyberspace. and we haven't even gotten to Kurt Wallander's personal issues!

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   THE PYRAMID is the long-awaited addition to Henning Mankell's critically celebrated and internationally bestselling Kurt Wallander mystery series: the book of five short mysteries that takes us back to the beginning. Here are the stories that trace, chronologically, Wallander's growth from a rookie cop into a young father and then a middle-aged divorce, illuminating how Wallander became a first-rate detective and highlightingnew facets of a now-canonical character. ‘Wallander's First Case’ introduces us to the twenty-one-year-old patrolman on his first homicide case: his next-door neighbor, seemingly dead by his own hand. Wallander is a young father confronting an unexpected threat on Christmas Eve in -The Man with the Mask. ’ In ‘The Man on the Beach. ’ he is on the brink of middle age and troubled by a distant wife as he unravels why a lonely man on vacation was poisoned. Newly separated in ‘The Death of the Photographer,’ Wallander investigates the brutal murder—and the well-concealed secrets—of the local studio photographer. In the title story, he is a veteran detective uncovering unexpected connections between a downed mystery plane and the assassination of a pair of elderly sisters. Over the course of these five stories, he comes into his own as a murder detective, defined by his simultaneously methodical and instinctive work even as he finds himself increasingly haunted from witnessing the worst aspects of an atomized society. Written from the unique perspective of an author looking back upon his own creation to discover his origins, these mysteries are vintage Mankell and essential reading for all Wallander fans. THE PYRAMID is a wonderful display of Mankell's virtuosic powers as an acknowledged master of the police procedural.

 

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(05/24/2009) Dick: The Man Who Is President by John Nichols. New York. 2004. New Press. keywords: Politics America Dick Cheney Biography History. 250 pages. Jacket photographs by Corbis and Getty. Author photograph courtesy of the Capital Times. Jacket design by Ben Smyth/BAD. 1565848403.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   George Walker Bush may hold the title of Commander-in-Chief But real power is in the hands of Richard Bruce Cheney, a remarkably unexamined and-as this book reveals-extremist politician. Dick Cheney runs the country. He staffed the White House. He sets energy policy. He guided the nation into war with Iraq and, working closely with Karl Rove, he oversees the political infrastructure that allows corporate interests and the religious right to control lawmaking, regulation, and the selection of judges. Here is the first biography of the most powerful vice president in American history. Drawing on ground-breaking reporting-including interviews with members of Congress who have tangled with the vice president and who are now investigating him-DICK: THE MAN WHO IS PRESIDENT details Cheney’s history of dodging the draft, his efforts to undermine investigations and prosecutions of the worst scandals of the Reagan era, his far-right congressional career, his relationship with corporate giant Halliburton, and his relentless promotion of the Iraq War. The book opens debate on a fundamental yet, until now, unasked question: On Americans really want Dick Cheney to continue running their country?

John Nichols, The Nation’s Washington correspondent, has covered politics in the United States and abroad for more than two decades, He runs the editorial page of Madison, Wisconsin’s Capital Times, and is a co-founder of the national media reform organization Free Press. Nichols is the co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of two books: It’s the Media, Stupid and Our Media, Not Theirs, and is the author of JEWS FOR BUCHANAN.

 

 

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(05/23/2009) The Tragedy Of The Street Of Flowers by Eca De Queiros. London. 2000. Dedalus. Translated From The Portuguese By Margaret Jull Costa. keywords: Literature Translated Portugal. 320 pages. 187398264x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   THE TRAGEDY OF THE STREET OF FLOWERS was discovered amongst the author's papers after his death, and was only published in Portugal in 1980. This is the first English translation, and its publication is timed to coincide with the centenary of Eca's death.’ ‘One night at the theatre, Vitor da Silva, a young law graduate, sees a strikingly beautiful woman: Genoveva de Molineux. She claims to have been born in Madeira and to have lived for many years in Paris. The truth about her past gradually begins to surface, as does the terrible secret that lies behind the overwhelming mutual attraction between her and Vitor. Eca brilliantly dissects a world in which only surface counts, providing the reader with a vivid and gripping portrayal of a society and class consumed by hypocrisy, greed and materialism.’

 

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(05/22/2009) Fraulein by Mario De Andrade. New York. 1933. Macaulay Company. keywords: Literature Translated Brazil Latin America. 252 pages. Original Brazilian edition ‘Amar, Verbo Intransitivo’, 1927. 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From the publisher’s preface: ‘Anyone meeting Fraulein Elsa Schumann in the streets of the foreign city where she had found a refuge, would have been impressed by her sensitive, beautiful, and intelligent face. It would have been impossible to guess that in the household where she served as governess her chief duty was not to teach the languages and accomplishments she knew, but to initiate the eldest son into the mysteries of love. That was her strange profession, to prepare wealthy young men for their love life and to save them from the physical and spiritual perils of the underworld. How she entered this profession, what the teaching of love did to her own love life, how it affected her career, makes a story as heart-stirring as it is unusual.'

 

  

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(05/21/2009) The Bears' Famous Invasion Of Sicily by Dino Buzzati. New York. 1947. Pantheon Books. Translated From The Italian By Frances Lobb. Illustrated By Dino Buzzati. keywords: Children Italy Literature.

My daughter loved this book.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   One terrible winter, King Leander leads his troop of bears down the mountains of Sicily in search of food. Along their treacherous and sometimes heartbreaking journey, the bears encounter an army of wild boars, a wily professor who may or may not be a magician, ghosts, snarling Marmoset the Cat, and, worst of all, treachery within their own ranks. If THE BEARS' FAMOUS INVASION OF SICILY sounds too distressing to read alone, that's because it is.

 

 

 

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(05/20/2009) The Sport Of The Gods by Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York. 1999. Signet/New American Library. Introduction By William L. Andrews. keywords: Signet Classic Paperback Black America Poetry Literature. 2755. 148 pages. Cover: Culver Pictures/CORBIS/Bettman. 0451527550. December 1999.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this brilliant novel, Paul Laurence Dunbar - hailed by Booker T. Washington as the ‘Poet Laureate of the Negro Race’ - presents a grim, ironic look at urban black life. The story of a displaced southern family’s struggle to survive and prosper in Harlem, THE SPORT OF THE GODS was one of the first novels to depict the harsh realities of Ghetto life. Published in 1902, and now available for the first time in a single, affordable edition, this book marked the transition from the antebellum period to the Harlem Renaissance, and the revolutionary truths it uncovered still resonate today. ‘I should feel that he had made the strongest claim for the Negro in English literature that the Negro has yet made. He has at least produced something that, however we may critically disagree about it, we cannot well refuse to enjoy.’ - William Dean Howells.

 

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(05/19/2009) How To Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology In The Disney Comic by Ariel Dorfman & Armand Mattelart. New York. 1975. International General. Translated & Introduction By David Kunzle and annotated bibliography of Marxist writings on cultural imperialism, and the comics. keywords: Politics Latin America Disney Chile. 112 pages. First published as Para Leer al Pato Donald in Chile 1971.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   IS WALT DISNEY THAT INNOCENT? WHY ARE THERE NO PARENTS IN HIS COMIC BOOKS? HOW COME THE NATIVES AND SAVAGES ALWAYS GIVE UP THEIR RICHES TO THE DUCK INVADERS? WHY DOES DONALD LOVE STATUES AND PHOTO ALBUMS? WHAT ARE HUEY, DEWEY, AND LOUIE DOING IN VIETNAM? The Chilean people began to ask these and other questions in revolutionary Chile 1970. How to Read Donald Duck was first published as Para Leer al Pato Donald in Chile 1971, and since the fascist coup in 1973, it has been banned and burned there with other literature. A product of the political struggle, the book is a profound and imaginative critique of the sacred cow of children’s culture: the Disney Myth. 

 

 

 

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(05/18/2009) Charleston & Other Stories by Jose Donoso. Boston. 1977. Godine. Translated From The Spanish By Andree Conrad. keywords: Literature Translated Chile Latin America.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In the world of Jose Donoso, all is not what it seems. Behind the bland rituals of everyday life lurk impulses that can disturb and even destroy. In these crisp, impeccably written stories, the great Chilean writer follows with precision and compassion the emergence of such impulses: an otherwise nondescript office worker becomes crazed by a bizarre obsession that at first seems innocent enough; an American boy living in a remote Mexican village is destroyed by forces beyond his control; a man is overpowered by his passion for sleeping. Many of these stories are explorations of perception. Children play large parts in them, either as participants or as perceivers; with their peculiar sensitivity they are aware of what their elders recognize only dimly, if at all. In ‘Ana Maria’ a charming but somehow terrifying child undermines the lives of an elderly couple; in ‘A Walk’ the disintegration of a formal bourgeois household is observed through the eyes of a boy. But for all the subtleties of these tales, Donoso is first and foremost a storyteller. They begin, as do all stories; but unlike some stories, they also end firmly with the reader carried along from first word to last.

Jose Donoso was born in Chile in 1924 and educated there and at Princeton. He has taught at Santiago University and at the Universities of Iowa and Princeton and is the author of a number of novels, including CORONATION, THIS SUNDAY, and THE OBSCENE BIRD OF NIGHT.

 

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(05/17/2009) House Of Mist by Maria-Luisa Bombal. New York. 1947. Farrar Straus & Company. keywords: Literature Translated Chile Latin America Women. 245 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In her prologue to HOUSE OF MIST, Maria-Luisa Bombal writes: I wish to inform the reader that even though this is a mystery, it is a mystery without murder. He will not find here any corpse, any detective; he will not even find a murder trial, for the simple reason that theft will be no murderer. Theft will be no murderer and no murder, yet there will be. crime. And there will be fear. Those for whom fear has an attraction; those who are interested in the mysterious life people live in their dreams during sleep; those who believe that the dead are not really dead; those who are afraid of the fog and of their own hearts. they will perhaps enjoy going back to the early days of this century and entering into the strange house of mist that a young woman, very much like all other women, built for herself at the southern end of South America.

Maria-Luisa Bombal was born in Chile in 1910 and educated in France, At twenty she wrote articles for Chilean literary reviews. In 1933 she went to live in the Argentine, where her first book, LA ULTIMA NIEBLA, was published in 1934. She returned to Chile in 1941 and was awarded the Grand Prix de Roman of Santiago for her second novel, LA AMORTA JADA. She represented Chile in the International Congress of Pen Clubs at the World’s Fair in 1938, and in 1942 she came here again on a minion to the Library of Congress for the Bibliotheque Nationale. In 1943 she married Fal de Saint-Phalle, of the family of international bankers.

 

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(05/16/2009) Greenfinger by Julian Rathbone. New York. 1987. Viking Press. keywords: Literature Mystery England. 246 pages. Jacket design by Neil Stuart. Jacket illustration by Russell Farrell. 0670815888. July 1987.

A thriller set in the jungles of Costa Rica with a resourceful woman as the main character.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In an alleyway in San José, Costa Rica, a botanist is shot to pieces, and the specimens he is carrying are stolen. A primitive but thriving coffee collective in the mountains runs into sudden opposition from the authorities. An agricultural field station in Nicaragua is wiped out in a surprise attack, and three years’ worth of research is destroyed. These events and the brutal killings that follow are the consequences of a covert operation mounted by Greenfinger Inc. , a subsidiary of the giant Associated Foods International. A contract killer and a commando group trained on $5 lines have been given their orders: Destroy ‘Ldt,’ a new coffee hybrid, and anyone who has knowledge of it. When Kit Carter, an agricultural economist for the United Nations Agricultural and Food Organization, fights back to save the collective, he is trapped by the ugly truths of multinational greed. It is his beautiful and vibrant wife, Esther, surely one of the most unusual and provocative characters in recent fiction, who must face the chilling forces of evil alone. GREENFINGER is thrilling entertainment, an ingenious adventure that leads the reader from the back-alley slums of Central America up into the eerie canopy of the tropical rain forest. A novelist of international distinction, Julian Rathbone once again proves himself a master of suspense, a writer whom The Daily Telegraph has called ‘one of the very best storytellers around.’

JULIAN RATHBONE has traveled extensively throughout the world, and presently lives in England. Twice short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize, his novels have been translated into ten languages. GREENFINGER is his eighteenth novel.

 

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(05/15/2009) Captain Pantoja And The Special Service by Mario Vargas Llosa. New York. 1978. Harper & Row. Translated From The Spanish By Gregory Kolovakos & Ronald Christ. keywords: Literature Translated Peru Latin America. 244 pages. Cover art by Anita Lovitt. 0060144947. January 1978.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Both a farce and a fable, CAPTAIN PANTOJA AND THE SPECIAL SERVICE marks a new direction in the literary development of Mario Vargas Llosa. Here, through a wonderfully comic montage of letters, military documents, radio broadcasts, dream sequences and dialogue, the author combines political satire with psychology, social criticism with humor, morality with uproarious sexuality. Pantaleon Pantoja, an Army captain who has been ordered to organize a special brigade of women to service the lonely troops in the jungle, meets with such success that he is forced to disband the very brigade he created. In the process, he nearly loses his wife and mother, while battling with religious zealots, a hypocritical radio announcer, the female ‘recruits’ and the Army that gave him the mission in the first place. The various elements of the story include arguments among the military officers over the morality of the brigade; a religious leader who wins thousands of converts by crucifying himself; a radio broadcaster who attempts to blackmail the Army; the private lives of the prostitutes themselves; and Captain Pantoja’s involvement with one of his ‘recruits. ’ VARGAS LLOSA brilliantly dissects social and moral clichés, popular culture, military jargon, religious fervor and blackmail-all of which he presents and satirizes simultaneously.

Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer who is one of Latin America’s leading novelists and essayists. Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa to a middle class family of Spanish forebears, the only child of Ernesto Vargas Maldonado and Dora Llosa Ureta. His parents separated five months after their marriage. Vargas Llosa spent his childhood with his mother in Cochabamba, Bolivia, obtaining his early education at the local Colegio La Salle. During the government of José Luis Bustamante y Rivero, his grandfather obtained an important political post in the Peruvian city of Piura, which prompted Vargas Llosa’s family to return to Peru near his grandfather and study in the Colegio Salesiano. In 1946, Vargas Llosa moved to Lima and met his father for the first time. His parents reestablished their relationship and lived in the capital during his teenage years. While in Lima he studied at the Colegio La Salle. When Vargas Llosa was 14, his father sent him to the Leoncio Prado Military Academy in Lima. A year before his graduation, Vargas Llosa was already working as an amateur journalist. He withdrew from the military academy and finished his studies in Piura, where he worked for the local newspaper La Industria and, at the same time, where the theatrical performance of his first dramatic work, La Huida del Inca, took place. During the government of Manuel A. Odría, Vargas Llosa entered Lima’s National University of San Marcos in 1953 to study literature. At the young age of 19, he married Julia Urquidi, his uncle’s sister-in-law, who was 13 years his senior. The relationship did not last long, however, and in 1959 he left to Spain thanks to a Javier Prado scholarship, and did post-graduate studies at the Complutense University of Madrid, from which he received a Ph. D. Vargas Llosa first came to attention as a writer with La Ciudad y los Perros, based on his teenage experiences at Leoncio Prado. The work met with wide acclaim, and its author was hailed as one of the main exponents of the Latin American literature boom, alongside Paraguay’s Augusto Roa Bastos, Argentina’s Julio Cortázar, Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes and Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez. The novel shows influence of the existentialist works of Jean-Paul Sartre, and quotes a dialogue from one of his novels at the beginning of each of its two parts. It also showed as a stepping for what would become Vargas Llosa’s trademark technique, the use of alternating dialogue to portray realities that are separated by space and time, and the use of verb tense to move his narrative back and forth in time; as well as establishing what would become the main theme of his narrative: the fight of the individual in search of freedom in an oppressive reality. He followed La Ciudad y Los Perros by writing La Casa Verde, a novel that shows the considerable influence that William Faulkner had on the budding writer. The novel deals with a brothel called the Green House, and how its quasi-mythical presence affects the lives of the characters. The main plot follows Bonifacia, a girl who is about to receive the vows of the church, and the transformation that will lead her to become la Selvatica, the best known prostitute of the Green House. The novel confirmed Vargas Llosa in his position as an important voice of Latin American narrative, and went on to win the first edition of the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize in 1967, out-voting works by the veteran Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti and by Gabriel García Márquez. Vargas Llosa’s third novel completes what many critics consider to be his most valuable narrative cycle. Published in a four-volume edition, Conversación en la Catedral was Vargas Llosa’s first attempt at what he calls a ‘total novel,’ that is, the depiction of all the levels of a society through fictional narrative. The novel is a deconstruction of Peru under the dictatorship of Odría in the 1950s, and deals with the lives of characters from the different social strata of the country. The ambitious narrative is built around two axes, the stories of Santiago Zavala and Ambrosio respectively; one the son of a minister, the other his chauffeur. A random meeting at a dog pound leads to a rivetting conversation between the two at a nearby bar known as the Cathedral In the course of the encounter Zavala tries to find the truth about his father’s role in the murder of a notorious figure of the Peruvian underworld, shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way. The novel makes sophisticated use of techniques of alternating narrative, as the conversation in the bar is intercut with scenes from the past. Vargas Llosa followed this serious novel with the shorter and much more comic Pantaleón y las visitadoras, which, through a series of vignettes of dialogues and documents, follows the establishment by the Peruvian armed forces of a corps of prostitutes assigned to visit military outposts in remote jungle areas. In 1977 Vargas Llosa published La tia Julia y el escribidor, based in part on his first marriage. Julia Urquidi, his ex-wife, later wrote a memoir, Lo que Varguitas no dijo in which she gave her own version of their relationship. Vargas Llosa’s novel was later adapted as a Hollywood feature film, Tune in Tomorrow. La guerra del fin del mundo, published in 1981, is a fictional recreation of the War of Canudos, an incident in 19th-century Brazil in which an armed millenarian cult held off a siege by the national army for a number of months. Vargas Llosa’s most recent novel, Travesuras de la niña mala, relates the decades-long obsession of its narrator, a Peruvian expatriate, with a woman with whom he first fell in love when both were teenagers. Vargas Llosa’s novels include many different literary genres, including comedy, murder mystery, historical novel, political thriller, and erotic They are often based on historical events or personal experiences. His writing style often includes intricate changes in time and narrator, similar to that of American novelist William Faulkner, whom Vargas Llosa acknowledges as a literary influence in his account of the novelist’s craft A Writer’s Reality Vargas Llosa’s first novels were set in Peru, but he has broadened his setting over time. Later novels included some set elsewhere in Latin America, such as Brazil ) and the Dominican Republic ) One of his more recent novels ) is set largely in France and Tahiti. Vargas Llosa has written a book-length study of Gabriel García Márquez, a onetime friend with whom he subsequently parted ways. After the book, entitled García Márquez: historia de un deicidio, was published in 1971 in an edition of 20,000 copies, the initial edition quickly sold out, but despite great demand Vargas Llosa refused to allow its republication for many years. The study was eventually included in a volume of his collected works in 2006. It has not been translated into English. He has also written book-length studies of Flaubert and of the Valencian writer Joanot Martorell. Vargas Llosa’s discussion of his own novels is contained in A Writer’s Reality In common with many fellow Latin American intellectuals, Vargas Llosa was initially a supporter of the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, but he eventually became disenchanted with the policies of the Cuban government and moved considerably to the right. During the 1980s, Vargas Llosa became increasingly politically active in his native country, and became known for his staunch neoliberal views. He ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 as the candidate of the center-right FREDEMO coalition. He proposed a drastic austerity program that frightened most of the country’s poor. During the campaign, his opponents read racy passages of his works over the radio in an apparent attempt to shock voters. Although he won the first round with 34of the vote, Vargas Llosa was defeated by a then-unknown agricultural engineer, Alberto Fujimori, in the subsequent run-off. His account of his run for the presidency was subsequently included in a memoir, published in an English-language translation as A Fish in the Water. On his most recent visit to Peru before the 2006 presidential elections, Vargas Llosa campaigned in favor of conservative candidate Lourdes Flores, saying she respected democracy and promised ‘a moderate’ program for the country. In contrast, he warned that if nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala were to win it would be a ‘great misfortune’ since he ‘will push Peru toward the same catastrophic route that Chávez is pushing his country. ’ Although Humala had led a rebellion against Fujimori in 2000, Vargas Llosa suggested that Humala was a carbon copy of Fujimori. He asked: ‘How it is possible that at least a third of Peruvians want a return to dictatorship, authoritarianism, a subjugated press, judicial manipulation, impunity and the systematic abuse of human rights?’ As the presidential race during the second round drew to an end and polls showed Humala trailing former president Alan Garcia, Vargas Llosa tepidly endorsed Garcia as ‘the lesser of two evils. ’ His cousin Luis Llosa is a Peruvian film director, who has filmed an adaptation of Vargas Llosa’s novel The Feast of the Goat. Vargas Llosa and Julia Urquidi were divorced in 1964. In 1965 Vargas Llosa married his first cousin Patricia Llosa, with whom he has three children: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a writer and editor; Gonzalo, a businessman; and Morgana, a photographer.

 

 

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(05/12/2009) South Of Nowhere by Antonio Lobo Antunes. New York. 1983. Random House. Translated From The Portuguese By Elizabeth Lowe. keywords: Literature Translated Portugal. 155 pages. Jacket art by Filip Pagowski. 0394525744. May 1983.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Awesomely powerful, SOUTH OF NOWHERE is a novel about colonial ambition and depravity in Africa, and about a man's perverse and relentless seduction of a woman. One night in a bar in Lisbon in the early 1970s, a veteran of hostilities between Portugal and Angolan liberation movements who has spent some time in a mental asylum is thing both to charm and to unburden himself on a woman he has picked up in a nightclub – an interlocutor as silent as the one in Camus' THE FALL. As they drink Scotch after Scotch, the Lisbon man recounts a horrifying and devastating nightmare: his infernal tour of duty as a doctor in the jungles of Angola. Here and there he interrupts his story with bad, albeit hilarious and affecting, news from another war front: the relations between men and women. Extraordinary for the originality of its form, the force and luminosity of its language, the slyness of its writ, and the radical urgency of its concerns. South of Nowhere is a striking contribution to the literary culture of our times.

Perhaps Portugal's preeminent contemporary novelist, ANTONIO LOBO ANTUNES was born in Lisbon on September 1, 1942. He is a doctor by training. He is the author of three other novels and of articles on Lewis Carroll. SOUTH OF NOWHERE is his first work to be translated into English. Antonio Lobo Antunes is married and lives in Lisbon.

  

 

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(05/11/2009) Nine Fairy Tales & One More Thrown In For Good Measure by Karel Capek. Evanston. 1990. Northwestern University Press. Translated From The Czech By Dagmar Herrmann. Illustrations By Joseph Capek. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 253 pages. 081010864x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Like traditional fairy tales, Capek's fantastic parables contain marvels and supernatural beings, fairies, elves, and talking animals; their plots stem from folk traditions where innocence triumphs. At the same time, Capek infuses these tales with dazzling wordplay, an abundant sense of the absurd, and surprising futuristic twists. Fact and imagination, satire and fantasy are blended so skillfully that the line between logic and plausible nonsense is nearly indiscernible. These are not just children's tales but modern parables.

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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(05/09/2009) Jakob Von Gunten by Robert Walser. Austin. 1969. University Of Texas Press. Translated From The German By Christopher Middleton. keywords: Literature Translated Germany. 154 pages. 0292700156.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Robert Walser was a Swiss-German writer whose prose has come to be recognized during The past ten years, as some of the most luminous of the century. His most important novel, JAKOB VON GUNTEN, first published in 1909, is the journal of a boy who is attending a school for servants in a large city. To some extent it is a parody of the Bildungsroman - the monumental novel about a hero’s education for ‘life. ’ Walser’s concern is for small and ephemeral feelings and things that are for him, the ‘true truths. ’ But Jakob is also a small hero of the imagination. His fantasies, daydreams, and visions make of him something of a cross between Rimbaud and Welter Mitty. His journal records the succession of small waves of time which etch their contents on his sensibility. Constant in the flux, as fact and fantasy collude, is Jakob’s passion for surprise, for paradox, and for self-knowledge. There are all kinds of ribbings and ripplings across the surface of his record. In some ways the novel is comparable with those other fictions of the period that question the whole baits of culture. but if achieves its effects not through analysts but through obliquity and fun-making. It is a short fiction, where so many other German novels are long. It is an eccentric fiction, where so much else is dead centered. And as a work of art it has affinities with the paintings of Paul Klee, who was, like Walser, one of the great explorers of the child soul as an unspoiled source of wit end wisdom.

Robert Walser, was a German-speaking Swiss writer. Walser was born in a family with many children. His brother Karl Walser was a well-known stage designer and painter. Walser grew up in Biel, which lies on the language border between German and French. He grew up speaking both languages. He attended primary school and progymnasium which he had to leave before the final exam when his family could no longer afford it. From his early years on, he was an enthusiastic theatre-goer; his favorite play was The Robbers by Friedrich Schiller. There is a Watercolor painting that shows Walser as Karl Moor, the protagonist of that play. From 1892 to 1895, Walser served an apprenticeship at the Bernische Kantonalbank in Biel. Afterwards he worked for a short time in Basel. Walser’s mother, who was ‘emotionally disturbed’, died in 1894 after being under medical care for a long period. In 1895, Walser went to Stuttgart where his brother Karl lived. He was an office worker at the Deutsche Verlagsanstalt and at the Cotta’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung; he also tried, without success, to become an actor. On foot, he returned to Switzerland where he registered 1896 in Zürich. In the following years, he often worked as a ‘Kommis’, that is, as an office clerk, but irregularly and in many different places. As a result, he was one of the first German writers to introduce into literature a description of the life of a salaried employee. In 1898, the influential critic Joseph Victor Widmann published a series of poems by Walser in the Bernese newspaper Der Bund. This came to the attention of Franz Blei, and he introduced Walser to the Art Nouveau people around the magazine Die Insel, including Frank Wedekind, Max Dauthendey and Otto Julius Bierbaum. Numerous short stories and poems by Walser appeared in Die Insel. Until 1905, Walser lived mainly in Zürich, though he often changed lodgings and also lived for a time in Thun, Solothurn, Winterthur and Munich. In 1903, he fulfilled his military service obligation and, beginning that summer, was the ‘aide’ of an engineer and inventor in Wädenswil near Zürich. This episode became the basis of his 1908 novel Der Gehülfe In 1904, his first Book, Fritz Kochers Aufsätze, appeared in the Insel Verlag. At the end of 1905 he attended a course in order to become a servant at the castle of Dambrau in Upper Silesia. The theme of serving would characterize his work in the following years, especially in the novel Jakob von Gunten In 1905, he went to live in Berlin, where his brother Karl Walser, who was working as a theater painter, introduced him to other figures in literature, publishing, and the theater. Occasionally, Walser worked as secretary for the artists’ corporation Berliner Secession. In Berlin, Walser wrote the novels Geschwister Tanner, Der Gehülfe and Jakob von Gunten. They were issued by the publishing house of Bruno Cassirer, where Christian Morgenstern worked as editor. Apart from the novels, he wrote many short stories, sketching popular bars from the point of view of a poor ‘flaneur’ in a very playful and subjective language. There was a very positive echo to his writings. Robert Musil and Kurt Tucholsky, among others, stated their admiration for Walser’s prose, and authors like Hermann Hesse and Franz Kafka counted him among their favorite writers. Walser published numerous short stories in newspapers and magazines, many for instance in the Schaubühne. They became his trademark. The larger part of his work is composed of short stories-literary sketches that elude a ready categorization. Selections of these short stories were published in the volumes Aufsätze and Geschichten In 1913, Walser returned to Switzerland. He lived for a short time with his sister Lisa in the mental home in Bellelay, where she worked as a teacher. There, he got to know Lisa Mermet, a washer-woman with whom he developed a close friendship. After a short stay with his father in Biel, he went to live in a mansard in the Biel hotel Blaues Kreuz. In 1914, his father died. In Biel, Walser wrote a number of shorter stories that appeared in newspapers and magazines in Germany and Switzerland and selections of which were published in Der Spaziergang, Prosastücke, Poetenleben, Seeland and Die Rose Walser, who had always been an enthusiastic wanderer, began to take extended walks, often by night. In his stories from that period, texts written from the point of view of a wanderer walking through unfamiliar neighborhoods alternate with playful essays on writers and artists. During World War I, Walser repeatedly had to go into military service. At the end of 1916, his brother Ernst died after a time of mental illness in the Waldau mental home. In 1919, Walser’s brother Hermann, geography professor in Bern, committed suicide. Walser himself became isolated in that time, when there was almost no communication with Germany because of the war. Even though he worked hard, he could barely afford to support himself as a freelance writer. At the beginning of 1921, he moved to Bern in order to work at the public record office. He often changed lodgings and lived a very solitary life. During his time in Bern, Walser’s style became more radical. In a more and more condensed form, he wrote ‘micrograms’, called thus because of his minuscule pencil hand that is very difficult to decipher: poems, prose, dramolets and novels-The Robber In these texts, his playful, subjective style moved toward a higher abstraction. Many texts of that time work on multiple levels-they can be read as naive-playful feuilltons or as highly complex montages full of allusions. Walser absorbed influences from serious literature as well as from formula fiction and retold for example the plot of a pulp novel in a way that the original was unrecognizable. Much of his work was written during these very productive years in Bern. In the beginning of 1929, Walser, who had suffered from anxieties and hallucinations for quite a time, went to the Bernese mental home Waldau, after a mental breakdown, at his sister Fani’s urging. In his medical records it says: ‘The patient confessed hearing voices. ’ Therefore, this can hardly be called a voluntary commitment. While in the mental home, his state of mind quickly returned to normal, and he went on writing and publishing. More and more, he used the way of writing he called the ‘pencil method’: He wrote poems and prose in a diminutive Sütterlin hand, the letters of which measured about a millimeter of height by the end of that very productive phase. Werner Morlang and Bernhard Echte were the first ones who attempted to decipher these writings. In the 1990s, they published a six-volume edition, Aus dem Bleistiftgebiet Only when Walser was, against his will, moved to the sanatorium of Herisau in his home canton Appenzell Ausserrhoden, did he quit writing. Another reason might have been that with the rise of the Nazis in Germany, his works could no longer be published in any case. In 1936, his admirer Carl Seelig began to visit him. He later wrote a book, Wanderungen mit Robert Walser about their talks. Seelig tried to revive interest in Walser’s work by re-issuing some of his writings. After the death of Walser’s brother Karl in 1943 and of his sister Lisa in 1944, Seelig became Walser’s legal guardian. Though free of outward signs of mental illness for a long time, Walser was crotchety and repeatedly refused to leave the sanatorium. Robert Walser loved long, lonely walks. On the 25th of December of 1956 he was found, dead of a heart attack, in a field of snow near the asylum. The photographs of the dead walker in the snow are almost eerily reminiscent of a similar image of a dead man in the snow in Walser’s first novel, Geschwister Tanner. A characteristic of Walser’s texts is a playful serenity behind which hide existential fears. Today, Walser’s texts, completely re-edited since the 1970s, are regarded as among the most important writings of literary modernism. In his writing, he made use of elements of Swiss German in a charming and original manner, while very personal observations are intervowen with texts about texts, that is, with contemplations and variations of other literary works, at which Walser often mixes pulp fiction with high literature. Walser, who never belonged to a literary school or group, perhaps with the exception of the circle around the magazine Die Insel in his youth, was a notable and often published writer before World War I and into the 1920s. After the second half of the latter decade, he was rapidly forgotten, in spite of Carl Seelig’s editions, which appeared almost exclusively in Switzerland but received little attention. Walser was only rediscovered in the 1970s, even though very famous German writers such as Christian Morgenstern, Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Hermann Hesse were among his great admirers. Since then, almost all his writings have become accessible through an extensive republication of his entire body of work. He has exerted a considerable influence on various contemporary German writers, including Ror Wolf, Peter Handke, W. G. Sebald, and Max Goldt.

Christopher Middleton is an English poet, translator, editor, and teacher who first became interested in Walser in 1954 while teaching in Zurich. His first translations from Walser appeared as THE WALK AND OTHER STORIES His own books of poetry are TORSE 3, NONSEQUENCES, and OUR FLOWERS AND NICE BONES. From 1955 to 1965 Dr. Middleton was lecturer in German at King’s College, University of London. In 1966 he joined the Department of Germanic Languages of The University of Texas at Austin

 

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(05/08/2009) Brother Man by Roger Mais. London. 1954. Jonathan Cape. keywords: Literature Caribbean Jamaica Black. 191 pages. Jacket design from a painting by Roger Mais.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In BROTHER MAN Roger Mais returns to Jamaica, the scene of his first novel, THE HILLS WERE JOYFUL TOGETHER, to tell a story which, simple in outline, is charged with emotional power that can hardly fail to move the least susceptible of readers. It is a story many times repeated in the world’s history and not yet at the end of its run. Brother Man, a cobbler by trade and a member of a sect called the Taferites, tries to live according to New Testament precepts. His neighbours in a poor street tolerate his eccentricities as long as they can trade upon them, and he succeeds in winning their respect and affection. Against his wholly beneficent influence is ranged that of Brother Ambo, an obeah man. It is a plain conflict between Good and Evil. The tribulations which Brother Man is called upon to endure involve unpleasant characters and violent incidents: life in a Jamaican slum is as ugly as slum life in any part of the world. Roger Mais has provided his own illustrations to the book. They beautifully reinforce the story.

 

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(05/07/2009) Money & Other Stories by Karel Capek. New York. 1930. Brentano's. Translated From The Czech By Francis P Marchant, Dora Round, F. Casey & O. Vocadlo. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 279 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The stories in MONEY AND OTHER STORIES (1929) by Karel Capek are mainly concerned with middle-class man's efforts to break out of the narrow circle of destiny and grasp ultimate values. It is no accident that the decisive role in almost all the stories is played by money. The characters in these books are, for the most part, helpless victims of forces that have overwhelmed them. Author's first book of short stories in the English language.

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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(05/06/2009) Tales From Two Pockets by Karel Capek. New York. 1943. Macmillan. Translated From The Czech By Paul Selver. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 216 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   A row of snowy footprints that stop suddenly in the middle of the street. A man who looks just a bit suspicious. Codes that need breaking, handwriting that needs analyzing, cards that need to be read. People willing to do anything to get their hands on an oriental rug, a flowering plant, a cactus, the truth. God acting as a witness while everyone from police officers to juries mete out justice. Crimes and puzzles, the ordinary and the extraordinary, humor and humanism.

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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(05/05/2009) Black Lightning by Roger Mais. London. 1955. Jonathan Cape. keywords: Literature Caribbean Jamaica Black. 222 pages. Jacket design from a painting by the author. The Author: from a Self-Portrait in Oils.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The earlier novels of Roger Mais were justly praised for the vivid picture they presented of life in Jamaica and for the lyrical passion of the style in which they were written. His new story is in a different vein and in a different setting. The scene is rural and the figures in it have not suffered much by contact with civilization. But the story is not altogether idyllic. It concerns Jake, a wood carver engaged upon a monumental figure of Samson, and his devoted servants and friends, among them Bess the cook, who is keeping a watchful eye upon her daughter Miriam and Glen the handyman. To supply both chorus and commentator is Amos, an accordion player. There is much quiet humour here masking deep feelings, and Roger Mais again displays his ability for uncovering the secret springs of action and for communicating his compassionate understanding. The mood and tempo of the story change swiftly, working up to a climax during a thunderstorm and reaching a quiet ending in the calm that follows.

ROGER MAIS was born at Kingston, Jamaica, in 1905. One of his great-grandfathers was sentenced to the stocks for harbouring runaway slaves. His education was sketchy and unorthodox, but liberal. He is unmarried, and is a painter, as well as a writer, and THE HILLS WERE JOYFUL TOGETHER is his first novel. His recreations are reading, the theatre and music. He says that his most interesting experience was going to jail for six months under Defence Regulations, for writing an article which was considered adverse to the War Effort, but was really only asking for a more liberal constitution He wrote this first novel, he says, very quickly, and because he had to; ‘it had been gestating for years’.

 

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(05/03/2009) Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems by Mahmoud Darwish. Berkeley. 2003. University Of California Press. Translated From the Arabic & Edited By Munir Akash & Carolyn Forche with Sinan Antoon & Amira El-Zein. keywords: Poetry Literature Translated Arabic Palestine. 191 pages. 0520237536.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    These translations of Mahmoud Darwish’s marvelous poems reveal the lifelong development of a major world poet. The book is a gift to other poets and lovers of poetry. It’s also an important contribution to current and future discourse on culture and politics. ’-Adrienne Rich, author of Fox: Poems, 1996-2000 ‘At this critical moment in world relations, cultural, creative projects feel more necessary than ever. Celebrate this most comprehensive gathering of Mahmoud Darwish’s poetry ever translated into English. Darwish is the premier poetic voice of the Palestinian people, and the collaboration between translators Akash and Forché is a fine mingling of extraordinary talents. The style here is quintessential Darwish-lyrical, imagistic, plaintive, haunting, always passionate, and elegant-and never anything less than free-what he would dream for all his people. ’-Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Fuel. CONTENTS – Introduction Munir Akash and Carolyn Forché; FROM Fewer Roses - I Will Slog over This Road; Another Road in the Road; Were It Up to Me to Begin Again; On This Earth; I Belong There; Addresses for the Soul, outside This Place; Earth Presses against Us; We Journey towards a Home; We Travel Like All People; Athens Airport; I Talk Too Much; We Have the Right to Love Autumn; The Last Train Has Stopped; On the Slope, Higher Than the Sea, They Slept; He Embraces His Murderer; Winds Shift against Us; Neighing on the Slope; Other Barbarians Will Come; They Would Love to See Me Dead; When the Martyrs Go to Sleep; The Night There; We Went to Aden; Another Damascus in Damascus; The Flute Cried; In This Hymn; FROM I See What I Want to See - The Hoopoe; FROM Why Have You Left the Horse Alone? - I See My Ghost Coming from Afar; A Cloud in My Hands; The Kindhearted Villagers; The Owl’s Night; The Everlasting Indian Fig; The Lute of Ismael; The Strangers’ Picnic; The Raven’s Ink; Like the Letter ‘N’ in the Qur’an; Ivory Combs; The Death of the Phoenix; Poetic Regulations; Excerpts from the Byzantine Odes of Abu Firas; The Dreamers Pass from One Sky to Another; A Rhyme for the Odes ; Night That Overflows My Body; The Gypsy Woman Has a Tame Sky; FROM A Bed for the Stranger - We Were without a Present; Sonnet II; The Stranger Finds Himself in the Stranger; The Land of the Stranger, the Serene Land; Inanna’s Milk; Who Am I, without Exile?; Lesson from the Kama Sutra; Mural ; Mural; Three Poems ; A Soldier Dreams of White Tulips; As Fate Would Have It; Four Personal Addresses; Glossary. Mahmoud Darwish is the author of twenty books of poems, including Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982, The Adam of Two Edens, and Psalms He received the 2001 Prize for Cultural Freedom from the Lannan Foundation. Munir Akash is editor of Jusoor, The Arab American Journal of Cultural Exchange, and coeditor of The Adam of Two Edens and Post Gibran: Anthropology of New Arab American Writing Carolyn Forché is Professor of English at George Mason University and author of The Angel of History Sinan Antoon is coeditor of Arab Studies Journal. Amira El-Zein is the author of Bedouin of Hell and The Book of Palm Trees Mahmoud Darwish is a literary rarity: at once critically acclaimed as one of the most important poets in the Arabic language, and beloved as the voice of his people. He is a living legend whose lyrics are sung by fieldworkers and schoolchildren. He has assimilated some of the world’s oldest literary traditions at the same time that he has struggled to open new possibilities for poetry. This collection spans Darwish’s entire career, nearly four decades, revealing an impressive range of expression and form. A splendid team of translators has collaborated with the poet on these new translations, which capture Darwish’s distinctive voice and spirit.

Mahmoud Darwish is the author of twenty books of poems, including Memory for Forgetfulness: August, Beirut, 1982, The Adam of Two Edens, and Psalms He received the 2001 Prize for Cultural Freedom from the Lannan Foundation.

Munir Akash is editor of Jusoor, The Arab American Journal of Cultural Exchange, and coeditor of The Adam of Two Edens and Post Gibran: Anthropology of New Arab American Writing.

Carolyn Forché is Professor of English at George Mason University and author of The Angel of History.

Sinan Antoon is coeditor of Arab Studies Journal.

Amira El-Zein is the author of Bedouin of Hell and The Book of Palm Trees.

 

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(05/02/2009) The Human Factor by Graham Greene. New York. 1978. Simon & Schuster. keywords: Literature England. 347 pages. Jacket design by Janet Halverson. 0671240854.

A great spy novel by the master of moral ambiguity.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Graham Greene’s passion for moral complexity and his stylistic aplomb were perfectly suited to the cat-and mouse game of the spy novel, a genre he practically invented and to which he periodically returned while fashioning one of the twentieth century’s longest, most triumphant literary careers. Written late in his life, The Human Factor displays his gift for suspense at its most refined level, and his understanding of the physical and spiritual vulnerability of the individual at its deepest.

 

 

 

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(04/30/2009) Intimate Things by Karel Capek. New York. 1936. Putnam. Translated FromThe Czech By Dora Round. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. 176 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Contains 50 short stories on daily life, written in a style for those ‘who prefer their books in the old-time English tradition. who wish to escape from the day’s cares.' 

Karel Capek is generally considered the greatest Czech author of the first half of this century. He was Czechoslovakia’s leading novelist, playwright, story writer, and columnist, and the spirit of its short-lived democracy. His plays appeared on Broadway soon after their debut in Prague, and his books were translated into many languages. Capek expressed himself in the form of accessible and highly enjoyable writing. Karel Capek wrote with intelligence and humor on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known not only for interesting and exact descriptions of reality, but also for his excellent work with the Czech language. He is perhaps best known as a science fiction author, who wrote long before science fiction became established as a separate genre. He can be counted as one of the founders of classical non-hardcore European science fiction, which focuses on possible future social and human evolution on Earth, rather than technically advanced stories of space travel. However, it is best to class him with Aldous Huxley and George Orwell as a mainstream literary figure who used science-fiction motifs. Many of his works discuss ethical and other aspects of the revolutionary inventions and processes that were already expected in the first half of 20th century. These included mass production, atomic weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or intelligent salamanders. In this, Capek was also expressing fear of upcoming social disasters, dictatorship, violence, and unlimited power of corporations, and trying to find some hope for human beings. Capek’s literary heirs include Ray Bradbury, Salman Rushdie, and possibly Brian Aldiss and Dan Simmons. His other books and plays include detective stories, novels, fairy tales and theatre plays, and even a book on gardening. The most important works try to resolve the problem of epistemology, or ‘What is knowledge?’: The Tales from Two Pockets, and first of all the trilogy of novels Hordubal, Meteor and An Ordinary Life. Later, in the 1930s, Capek’s work focused on the threat of brutal Nazi and fascist dictatorships. His most productive years corresponded with the existence of the first republic of Czechoslovakia He wrote Talks with T. G. Masaryk, a Czech patriot and first President of Czechoslovakia and a regular guest at Capek’s Friday garden parties for Czech patriots. This extraordinary relationship between the great author and the great political leader is perhaps unique, and is known to have been an inspiration to Václav Havel. Karel Capek died in the December preceding the outbreak of World War II and was interred in the Vysehrad cemetery in Prague. Soon after, it became clear that the Western allies had refused to help defend Czechoslovakia against Hitler. He refused to eat or leave his country and died of double pneumonia. The Gestapo had ranked him as ‘public enemy number 2’ in Czechoslovakia. His brother Josef Capek, a painter and also a writer, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After the war, Capek’s work was only reluctantly accepted by the Communist regime of Czechoslovakia, since during his life he had refused to believe in a communist utopia as a viable alternative to the threat of Nazi domination.

 

 

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(04/29/2009) Open Veins Of Latin America: Five Centuries Of The Pillage Of A Continent by Eduardo Galeano. New York. 1974. Monthly Review Press. Translated From The Spanish By Cedric Belfrage. keywords: Literature Translated Uruguay Latin America Hitory Politics. 339 pages. Cover: Antonio Frasconi -'The Gnat,the Lion,and the Spiderweb'. 085345308x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

     ‘. . . truly a majestic book. It drives ahead with a great emotional and intellectual power. The range and depth of Galeano’s knowledge is stupendous. His style is superb and fits his perfect grasp of this vast mass of material which at the same time is admirably and competently organized. There is not a minute’s letdown. He is as remorseless as a tornado and rips away every defense of imperialism with a determined yet quiet rage. This book surpasses any I have ever read on the theme, and it will endure through all the years to come. It is truly a great book.’- Carleton Beals. ‘This book may in time rival all others in providing general ideas for analyses of both the colonial and modern periods. Although a writer-journalist by trade, Galeano possesses a grasp of history and historicism that is often missing in the writings of persons trained in the field. He is brilliant in his description of poverty in the cities, the international system of domination suffered by each country, and the reproduction of similar systems within each of them. a dazzling barrage of words and ideas’ - History. ‘Eminent Latin American author Galeano is both impassioned and a hard-nosed scholar in this well-documented, Marxist-oriented history of Latin America as an exploited continent from the time of Columbus to the present. Galeano focuses on the despoliation of the land, people and culture of those countries. Gold, silver, cocoa, cotton, rubber, coffee, fruit, sugar, oil, iron, tin, copper and nitrates are among the open veins’ whose drainage Galeano traces and analyzes ‘ - Publishers’ Weekly.

 

 

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(04/28/2009) Three Czech Poets: Vitezslav Nezval/ Antonin Bartusek/Josef Hanzlik by Vitezslav Nezval / Bartusek. Middlesex. 1971. Penguin. Translated from the Czech by Ewald Osers & George Theiner. Introduction by Graham Martin. keywords: Poetry Czech Translated Literature. 158 pages. The cover designed by Slyvia Clench, shows: large detail, Vitezslav Nezval; above, Antonin Bartusek; below, Josef Hanzlik (photographs Dilla, Prague). 0140421300.

 FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This volume represents three generations of Czech poetry. Vitezslav Nezval (born in 1900) adopted surrealism to express the paradoxes of experience, above all in his briefer impressions of Prague. Antonin Bartusek (1921), like Eliot (whose influence he admits), is a master of suggestion: there are hints of greatness in his language and rhythms, in his concern with life and death. With Josef Hanzlik (1938) we enter the contemporary world: here is a poet who, freshly and fluently, records his response to a world of political violence.

VITEZSLAV NEZVAL (1900-1958) was the most colourful and versatile of Czech poets between the two wars. He was associated in his early work with the French Dadaists, and was an exponent of 'poetism', but the poetry of his later years gravitated increasingly towards traditional forms. His principle volumes of poetry are: The Bridge (1922), Pantomime (1924), The Lesser Rose Garden (1926), Acrobat (1927), Night Poems (1930), Dice (193o), The Glass Cape (1933), Return Ticket (1933), Farewell and a Handkerchief (1934), Woman in the Plural (1936), Prague with Fingers of Rain (1936), The Absolute Gravedigger (1937), Mother Hope (1938), Historical Picture (1939), Five Minutes Behind the City (1940), Song of Peace (i95o), From Home (1951), Wings (1952), Cornflowers and Towns (1955), Unfinished (1960, posthumously). He has also published, anonymously, 52 Bitter Ballads of the Perpetual Student Robert David (5936), too Sonnets for the Girl who Saved the Perpetual Student Robert David (1937), and 70 Poems from the Underworld as a Farewell to the shade of the Perpetual Student Robert David (1938). Nezval also attempted a novel, wrote three plays, and translated Rimbaud, Pushkin, Heine and Pablo Neruda.

ANTONIN BARTUSEK was born in 1925 in Zeltava, Western Moravia, and studied at Charles University, Prague. He now works at the State Office for Historical Monuments. His volumes of poetry arc: Fragments (1945), Destiny (1947) and then, following a prolonged silence during the period of Stalinism, Oxymoron (1965) and the existentialist Red Strawberries (1967), and more recently Dance of the Emu Bird and Antistar (1969) and Royal Progress (1970). He has translated American, French and German poetry and is the author of essays in the field of art history, scenography and literary criticism.

JOSEF HANZLIK, lyrical poet and translator, was born in 1938 at Neratovice near Prague and studied psychology at Charles University. He was poetry editor of Plamen, the literary monthly of the Writer's Union, until its suspension in 1969. One of the most striking personalities among the younger generation of poets, he has had a great influence on young people. His books of poetry are: The Lamp (1961), Erratic Block (1962), Silver Eyes (1963), Paris Hinterland (1963), Black Roundabout (1964), Anguish (1967), and Three Cheers for Herod (1967). His latest work is Euphoria Land. He has also written several children's books and translated Russian, American and Yugoslav poetry.

 

 

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(04/25/2009) Waterland by Graham Swift. New York. 1983. Poseidon Press. keywords: Literature Beer England. 310 pages. Jacket design by Fred Marcellino. 0671498630.

My favorite book of 1983. I was even inspired by Atkinson's Coronation Ale in the book to produce my own beer by the same name. Mine was not nearly as potent as the brew in the book, even so, it did have a particularly potent punch of its own.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Hailed in England as ‘the best novel of the year’ and nominated for the Booker Prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award, WATERLAND is a novel of resonant depth and encyclopedic richness. It is also a book about beer, eels, the French Revolution, the end of the world, windmills, will-o’-the-wisps, murder, love, incest, education, curiosity, storytelling and - supremely - the malign and merciful element of water. One bright summer morning in 1943 Henry Crick, a lock-keeper, finds young Freddie Parr’s body floating in his lock. Although the death is termed an accident, Henry Crick’s son Tom knows otherwise, and bears the secret for life, Forty years later, Tom, now a history teacher besieged by a bizarre marital crisis and the ‘phasing out’ of history from his school’s curriculum, abandons his formal lessons to tell his students stories of his native Fenland, an ambiguous, amphibious domain where past and present intermingle, where the drama of loss and reclamation is written in the landscape. Tom Crick traces for his listening class the tragedies and changing fortunes of his forebears: how his eighteenth-century ancestor Thomas Atkinson dredged a river, built an empire, then broke his young wife Sarah’s head in a jealous rage and died of grief; how Sarah survived for fifty years, deprived of her senses, to become a local deity; how his grandfather Ernest fell in love with his own daughter and fathered a child he believed would become Saviour of the World, And he tells them of the fateful repercussions of that summer morning in 1943, which still trap the aging Crick in the consequences of events long ago. WATERLAND is a moving meditation on history, on procreation, on destruction, and on our struggles to shore up our small worlds against the onrushing forces of time and nature.

Graham Swift, born in 1949, was nominated as one of the twenty Best of Young British Novelists, He has published two other novels in Britain, THE SWEET-SHOP OWNER and SHUTTLECOCK, and a collection of short stories, LEARNING TO SWIM, Graham Swift lives and works in London.

 

 

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(04/23/2009) War With The Newts by Karel Capek. New York. 1959. Bantam Books. Translated From The Czech By M. & R. Weatherall. Introduction By Lewid Gannett. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. FC46. 241 pages. October 1959.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In the brief brightness between World War I and World War II. the new republic of Czechoslovakia shone lucidly, a country old in tradition, young in impulse and desire. And perhaps the greatest ‘writer it produced was the impish, elfin, hugely humorous Karel Capek, the man who invented the word ‘robot,’ immediately accepted by most languages; the man who held up a polished mirror of wit and wisdom to mankind’s most cherished foibles. WAR WITH THE NEWTS is Capek’s prophetic and stirring novel about man’s fatal propensity to stuff himself with discovered sweets till he becomes sick - a novel in the great tradition of Lucian, Swift, and Voltaire, perhaps one of the few truly enduring classics written in our times.

 

 

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(04/22/2009) Closed Circle by Wessel Ebersohn. London. 1990. Gollancz. keywords: Mystery South Africa Literature. 318 pages. Jacket illustration by Michael Benallack. 0575048484.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In Wessel Ebersohn's third Yudel Gordon novel, the South African prison psychologist is under financial pressure. When he is offered a large sum to conduct an investigation privately for a group of political activists, he agrees — even though it is against regulations. Over a number of years, several prominent liberals have been murdered. Is one group responsible for all the killings, or are they unconnected? It is possible that the extreme right-wing Afrikaner Revival Movement is involved. But, more chillingly, could the murderers be found within the country's security police? Following a trail of death across South Africa, Yudel slowly edges closer to the truth. and earns himself some very powerful enemies, including the sinister Colonel Wheelwright. CLOSED CIRCLE is a wonderful novel. An absorbing, subtle story, with a menacing political edge, it is both thought-provoking and gripping, and convincingly depicts the tensions rife in contemporary South Africa.

 

 

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(04/21/2009) Divide The Night by Wessel Ebersohn. New York. 1981. Pantheon Books. South African Mystery. keywords: Mystery South Africa Literature. 224 pages. Jacket illustration by Susannah Kelly. Jacket design by Louise Fili. 0394520769. September 1981.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   When Johnny Weizman comes to South African police psychiatrist Yudel Gordon for mandatory treatment he has already killed eight blacks, including a starving fourteen-year-old girl. He claims they were trying to break into his store; and in South Africa, no court ever condemns a white man for defending his property. For Yudel, Weizman is a demented killer and fanatical racist - a man likely to commit more murders unless somebody stops him. For the Special Branch Police, he is a respectable citizen and fearless patriot. They are more interested in Mantu Majola, a fugitive black leader who witnessed Weizman's last murder and who, they hope, will return to avenge it. The case leads Yudel far into the brutal violence of South African society - to the no-man's land of black Soweto; to a terrifying meeting of Afrikaner rightists; and to the unspeakable horror of a security police jail where Majola's girlfriend is being tortured. In DIVIDE THE NIGHT, Ebersohn's second Yudel Gordon mystery, we are swept into a chilling world in which the law is in the hands of the lawless and Yudel is in as much danger as the people he is trying to protect.

 

 

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(04/20/2009) A Lonely Place To Die by Wessel Ebersohn. New York. 1979. Pantheon Books. South African Mystery. keywords: Mystery South Africa Literature. 205 pages. Jacket by Fred Marcellino. 0394508556. September 1979.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This is a most promising first detective novel from South Africa, a debut which we feel sure will attract attention and admiration. Its story starts when a Jewish prison psychiatrist is brought in to examine the black man he is told has just poisoned a local bigwig. But the terrified, quivering schizophrenic who is huddling in the prison cell is clearly not capable of poisoning anyone. Who then is the murderer, and how can he be uncovered? This startling, tough new novel brings us into the heart of darkest South Africa, exposing a landscape very similar to the American South of fifty years ago. Indeed, our psychiatrist hero soon stumbles across a local gang resembling the KKK and discovers that the victim may well have been its leader. As with all good detective stories, the setting is brilliantly established. Ebersohn, though this is his first novel, writes extremely well and knows the intricacies of South African life intimately. His book shows us the worlds of both blacks and whites. and convincingly leads us into the terror of their clashes.

 

 

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