It’s Been a Great Week for The Fata Morgana Books

Working in the trenches of literary translation can sometimes be a lonely, frustrating thing, so pardon us while we enthuse over some richly deserved admiration for our fall title The Fata Morgana Books by Jonthan Littell (translated with utter beauty by Charlotte Mandell).

First, Steven Axelrod at Numéro Cinq gives the book a remarkable in-depth review. I want to single out what he says about “Fait Accompli,” since it’s one of my favorite pieces in the book:

The fourth étude, “Fait Accompli,” the most impressive text in the entire collection, features a leap into third person and an attempt at pure emotional abstraction. We have two characters – unnamed, of course, undescribed, virtually undifferentiated – thinking about the process of thinking about each other. Are these two people the characters from the earlier études? It must be, but it’s hard to be sure, because we have plunged from a satellite view of their actions to a close-up so extreme that we’re studying the pores on their faces, unable to see the larger features. This works because of the repetition of certain phrases, the obsessive recycling of language that perfectly captures to futile spin of the mind coping with jealousy and rejection. The narrative is abstract the way ballet is abstract. It’s a a dance of despair. The reader provides the music:

For him then, two questions, that is question 1 the other or not the other, and question 2 her or not her, To these two questions four solutions, that is solution 1 him without her without the other, solution 2 him with her without the other, solution 3 him without her with the other, solution 4 him with her with the other. Now for him at this stage with the other out of the question and hence out of the question solutions 3 and 4, remain numbers I and 2, without the other or without her, hence why not with, it wasn’t so bad, and it would be almost like before, except that in the meantime there would have been that. But here precisely is the problem, since for him with the other out of the question, for her without the other out of the question, of this he is certain, even without asking her I mean. So if for her, without the other out of the question, then out of the question solutions 1 and 2, remain thus numbers 3 and 4, already out of the question. So start again.

And he does.

As they say, read the whole thing—you’ll be quite glad you did. And a huge thank-you to Axelrod for the perceptive review. I really like the observation that the four etudes are moving closer and closer to the “protagonists” of this strange work. And the comparison to the abstraction of ballet is spot-on.

The other review The Fata Morgana Books received this week was a “Briefly Noted” mention at The New Yorker. Rather than quote the whole reivew (I’m not 100% sure that would be legal under fair use) I’ll just give you this:

four nightmarish novellas . . . The writing is sinuous and propulsive; disturbing images are rendered with icy, swift precision.

Suffice to say, it’s a positive review.

You can see links to more reviews and other related tidbits at the book’s page on our website.

And just as a reminder: if you take us up on our insanely good Bundle of Joy offer, you can be reading The Fata Morgana Books right this very minute: just select it as your free ebook at the checkout.

Bundle of Joy Update

We’ve been spreading all kinds of joy, as evidenced by the fact that we’re down to the last 2 Naja Marie Aidt chapbooks that we’re giving away as part of our insanely good Bundle of Joy offer.

But do not fear! Once the chapbooks run out, we will be substituting in a copy of our anthology of international literature Counterfeits. This volume has a bad-ass cover (see below). Plus it’s co-edited by Luc Sante and Rosanna Warren, features a special 50-page section of international noir, and includes work from Cesar Aira, Primo Levi, and Alejandra Pizarnik, plus over 20 other writers.

So you see, it’s still an insanely good offer. Truly! Just click here to make it all happen for you or a beloved friend or family member!

Here’s what you get:

  • A complete Two Lines Press 2014 subscription. That is 4 items total: 3 books from award-winning authors from China, Denmark, and France, plus the first issue of the newly revamped and relaunched TWO LINES journal

But of course that’s not all—here comes the joy in the bundle of joy . . .

  • A totally sweet copy of Counterfeits (as detailed above) Our signed chapbook of “Interruption” by Naja Marie Aidt (limited to the first 25 subscribers)
  • A free backlist ebook of your choice (that’s Hi, This Is Conchita, All My Friends, or The Fata Morgana Books)
  • A copy of our anthology of Latin American literature, New World/New Words, featuring bilingual writing by authors and poets from all over the Americas, including Senel Paz, Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, David Huerta, Monica Lavín, and Guillermo Cabrera Infante
  • And then, of course, as a subscriber you’ll be entitled to whatever goodies we end up creating for you all along the way

And yes, you still get your ebook right away. For instance, you can start reading this afternoon All My Friends by Marie NDiaye, which Rain Taxi just called “a superb short story collection.” Even if you don’t have a fancy schmansy e-reader, you can still read it on pretty much any computer that you can read this Internet webpage on.

To get your Bundle of Joy a’movin’ right toward your literature-loving eyes, click the cat and Paypal us a mere $30.




 

THAT OTHER WORD | Episode 13 | December 2013 | E.J. Van Lanen

As the year comes to a close, hosts Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito discuss some recent and unexpected favorite reads. As a judge for next year’s Best Translated Book Award, Daniel Medin recommends Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg Over Leg, a four-volume, nineteenth-century classic of the Arab world whose cleverness and savage sense of humor has been likened to Rabelais and Sterne. Scott Esposito looks forward to Wiesław Myśliwski’s A Treatise on Shelling Beans; the author’s Stone Upon Stone received the BTBA last year. Hilda Hilst’s Letters from a Seducer, in an especially brilliant translation by John Keene, prompts an exploration of scandalous writing: Hilst has been called the “Marquis de Sade of Brazil.” The hosts then make an exception to the podcast’s theme to praise an English-language novel, Ivan Vladislavić’s Double Negative and its introduction by Teju Cole, from which Daniel Medin reads a paragraph. The introduction wraps up with Jung Young-moon’s A Most Ambiguous Sunday, and Other Stories, an eccentric collection of short stories from Dalkey Archive’s Korean library.

After that, Scott Esposito speaks with E.J. Van Lanen, a former editor at Open Letter and now publisher at Frisch & Co., a new translation press based in Berlin. Frisch & Co. is unique in that it publishes exclusively e-books, drawing on the catalogues of some of Europe’s oldest and most respected publishers for its translations. E.J. Van Lanen explains the reasons behind choosing Berlin as a base and e-books as a product, and discusses his own history of reading electronically (and divulging his favorite e-reading software in the process). He then details several aspects of his publishing venture, from his relationships with the European presses, translators, and authors, to pricing and the online market, to the challenges of distribution and attracting readers. Near the end of the conversation, he speaks about some of Frisch & Co.’s first titles: Anna Kim’s Anatomy of a Night, which examines an unplanned mass suicide in Greenland; Carlos Busqued’s Under This Terrible Sun, about a man’s descent into a criminal world in northern Argentina, plus Adrián N. Bravi’s The Comb-Overand other forthcoming novels: Elisa Ruotolo’sI Stole the Rain, Joaquín Pérez Azaústre’sThe Swimmers, andUwe Tellkamp’s The Tower.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRO: Daniel Medin and Scott Esposito

0:57 Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq’s Leg Over Leg
3:18 Wiesław Myśliwski’s A Treatise on Shelling Beans
4:26 Hilda Hilst’s Letters from a Seducer
8:40 Ivan Vladislavić’s Double Negative
12:14 Jung Young-moon’s A Most Ambiguous Sunday, and Other Stories

FEATURE: Scott Esposito interviews E.J. Van Lanen

18:56 Introductions; choosing Berlin and e-books
25:05 Relationships with European presses and translators
37:26 The e-reading experience
42:35 Pricing e-books; choosing and distributing titles
58:11 Frisch & Co.’s titles

It’s the Two Lines Press Bundle of Joy!

To close out 2014, we have cooked up a truly insane offer for all of you.

Here’s the deal. We’re really, really happy about how Two Lines Press has done in its first year. Even though we’re a newborn, we’ve managed to accomplish a bunch of really nice things. Here are a few of them:

  • Having one of our books nominated for the LA Times Book Prize
  • Receiving our first starred review in Publishers Weekly
  • Being praised by the SF Weekly, The Rumpus, The Collagist, PopMatters, HTMLGIANT and lots of others
  • Appearing in The Washington Post
  • Being serialized in Harper’s, Little Star, and The Coffin Factory
  • Receiving a prestigious French Voices grant
  • Conducting events events in New York, San Francisco, and the ALTA and AWP conferences
  • And, to top it all off, having one of our authors, Marie NDiaye, shortlisted for the 2013 International Booker Prize alongside Americans Lydia Davis and Marilynne Robinson

So yeah, we’re pretty damn happy—and here’s how you can tell: we’ve just decided to give you all a craaaazy good offer to celebrate.

Herewith I present to you the 2014 Two Lines Press Bundle of Joy. Purchase before January 1, 2014, and for just $30 you get:

  • A complete Two Lines Press 2014 subscription. That is 4 items total: 3 books from award-winning authors from China, Denmark, and France, plus the first issue of the newly revamped and relaunched TWO LINES journal

But of course that’s not all—here comes the joy in the bundle of joy . . .

  • Our signed chapbook of “Interruption” by Naja Marie Aidt (limited to the first 25 subscribers)
  • A free backlist ebook of your choice (that’s Hi, This Is Conchita, All My Friends, or The Fata Morgana Books)
  • A copy of our anthology of Latin American literature, New World/New Words, featuring bilingual writing by authors and poets from all over the Americas, including Senel Paz, Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, David Huerta, Monica Lavín, and Guillermo Cabrera Infante
  • And then, of course, as a subscriber you’ll be entitled to whatever goodies we end up creating for you all along the way

And that, my friends, is what we call a truly a ridiculous offer . . . you’re getting 50% off the cover price, and that’s not even counting the Naja Marie Aidt chapbook, which of course is priceless. Get on this, people! We’ll ship the joy immediately, and you’ll be the first to receive our 2014 titles as we print them.

You can start enjoying the translation goodness today! Click the cat, get your bundle, and start celebrating in style.






And in case you’re wondering, that’s a photo of Two Lines Press Editor CJ Evans’s newborn son Auden—he was born in 2013, just like Two Lines Press.