Postcard Remix #2

9 01 2009

Promo postcard for L'Association's revue Lapin

Vendredi noir

2 12 2008

On vient sur ces côtes de passer Thanksgiving, fête politiquement problématique dû à ses origines coloniales, donc devenue prétexte anodin pour se réunir en famille. Rien de plus simple pour une fête ; on ne doit pas l’examiner de près, et l’on peut facilement imaginer de pire. À en juger par mes amis, les américains ne prennent plus au sérieux les fêtes, peu nombreuses, qui leur restent. Ou bien se peut-il que je ne sache plus m’enthousiasmer pour ces repères qui m’importent de moins en moins avec le temps. Il y a dix ans déjà David Mamet disait que les vraies fêtes américaines n’était que deux: le Superbowl et le jour du scrutin. Soit, cette année ce dernier nous avait donner de quoi nous réjouir, mais le rituel du football américain m’a exclu depuis enfance. La jeune nation est dynamique, se dit-on ; à force de s’inventer à plusieurs reprises, on court toujours après de nouveaux rituels, en quête de quelque chose de durable et de nourrissante, qui s’évide moins vite de son stock de sentiment (“We in America need ceremonies, is I suppose, sailor, the point of what I have written.”). On a l’impression, je ne sais comment, d’avoir épuisé les nôtres ; vu sous cet angle pessimiste le Thanksgiving n’est que la voie ouverte au délire de dépenses qu’entraine Noël commercial. Les magasins nous guettent, prêts à nous gober (pauvre con d’interimaire piétiné à Walmart!); dans leurs interminables galeries ornées de ceci et de cela on s’efforce de s’afficher un peu de gaieté, tout en se doutant de l’inanité du seul impératif qui semble nous rester, la consommation. Mais trève de marxisme simplet.


14 11 2008
  • Over at Northeast Runner, David Paulsen has done the heroic: finishing the NY marathon in under four hours as a first-timer. Finishing at all!
  • Writer, translator, and public intellectual Susan Bernofsky’s website is live! And stylish. Go look!
  • I have received the latest issue of Silk Road, with my translation of Mercedes Deambrosis’ “A Spotless Marriage.” That means you can buy it.
  • My career as a nitpicker continues, mais n’est-ce pas ce qu’implique le métier de traducteur? I have merrily forced an uncredited retraction at Slate (it seems to be pending review). Du moins je ne tiens pas de blog détaillant ainsi mes victoires de mesquinerie. But if I did, it would have to be as excellently informative, inquisitive, and playful as the one kept by the proofreaders for Le Monde.
  • On other news, Palin’s Nomination Revealed as Private Bet! Speech therapist Hal Hoggins, specialist in American accents, confessed to betting army Colonel Peckering, ret., that he could take any woman from Alaska and pass her off as the next vice presidential candidate come the Republican National Convention. Peckering reportedly replied: “That’s only six months away! You must be mad, man!” The rest is history. Well… I won’t write that musical. But there it is.

Me Reading, Sunday Salon, Stain Bar, 11/16

14 11 2008

UPDATED 11/30: video footage, thanks to Sunday Salon co-hostess Nita Noveno, of me reading part of G.O.-C.’s short story “The Pavilion and the Linden” (Le kiosque et le tilleul), an earlier version of which is available online at The Cafe Irreal.

A quick and all-too-close-to-the-date note to say I’ll be giving a reading of translations and my own writing at the Sunday Salon in Williamsburg this weekend, with three other writers: short-storyist Leni Zumas, psychologist-memoirist Daniel Tomasulo, and African-American novelist Kim Coleman Foote. It starts at 7pm, at the Stain Bar. (L to Grand, then 1 block west. Stain Bar is located at 766 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211. Bar opens at 5 p.m. 718.387.7840.)

To share some good news: the French fabulist whose work I’ll be reading, Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, just won the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for his latest novel, L’Autre rive, at the Utopiales festival in Nantes (kind of to Euro sci-fi what Angouleme is to comics. Kelly Link just won the same prize in the Best Foreign Story Collection category for an edition of stories selected from her two American collections—Yay!)

And two new publications: Châteaureynaud’s story “The Only Mortal” will appear in Dec.-Jan. issue of The Brooklyn Rail, and his story “The Denham Inheritance” has been accepted for publication in a forthcoming volume of British quarterly Postscripts. Thank you, editors!

In a recent letter, the author offered his congratulations on our recent election.

A future post on the novel itself is pending.

Hope you can make it!

A more formal version française after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

Pocket Fabulism

8 10 2008

I have been alerted to this strange occurrence. I think I am flattered; certainly I am glad the story has been read 156 times. I am as yet uncertain how to respond and have refrained from leaving a comment, or notifying other parties who may perhaps be concerned. I was, after all, credited, as was the author, but AGNI Online, where it first appeared, was not, nor was the French publisher. I like to think I have a pirate heart, and if it were wholly up to me… but isn’t that the beginning of every excuse? The thought that someone out there is reading this, of all stories, on a cell phone, frankly tickles. All press is good press. Thank you, minicooper.

This on the heels of the tremendous news that Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s short story “Icarus Saved from the Skies” has been picked up for publication by Fantasy & Science Fiction. Gordon Van Gelder, we love you!

My Life Right Now

8 10 2008

Courtesy the ever-wondrous GB Tran. Respect.

Panel Talk

21 09 2008

My friend M@ alerted me to a WSJ article on eurocomics and la glorieuse B.D. Sardine gets a mention, and First Second quite a few. What an odd roundup of authors, at least among the Francophones… wonder who author Brigid Grauman’s sources were. Not strictly American publishers, apparently–and thank God–but the selection gives a glimpse into the randomness of how reputations are furthered. I’m surprised she unearthed Schuiten and Peeters. The few English volumes of their monumental Cites Obscures have been available forever, but putting everyone in the same article makes them sound recent as Guibert. I’m glad David B. got mentioned, and sad I will likely never get to translate more of him than the excerpt in WWB, sewn up as he is by NBM and Fanta.

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The New Two Lines is Out

11 09 2008

…and I’m a late poster, as usual. Grossman, Jull Costa, Venuti, Chris Andrews, Marilyn Hacker, Jessica Cohen, Alexis Levitin… what’s not to like?

Many sincere thanks to Franck Bessone and Kurt Bodden for graciously reading the excerpt from Patrick Besson’s Les Freres de la Consolation in the original French and my translation at the release party. Wish I could’ve been there!


The 15th anniversary volume of TWO LINES World Writing in Translation
Edited by John Biguenet and Sidney Wade

Strange Harbors

Strange Harbors

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Recent Work

10 09 2008

This last is referenced in a nicely detailed account of a manga fest in Germany.

L’homme cruel: Update

24 07 2008

This brief text, posted here shortly after it was translated on 1/15, will appear, along with other selected texts by Roland Jaccard, in a 2009 issue of Absinthe: New European Writing, thanks to editor Dwayne Hayes, in a slightly altered form, thanks to a generous read by Barbara Harshav.  The author was kind enough to send me, in thanks, a copy of his latest book, a musing on Louise Brooks. I confess to not understanding the French fetish for Louise Brooks, which approaches their national love of Jerry Lewis, and remains less famous only because that silent actress hasn’t the household-name value of the comedian… perhaps this book will enlighten me.