Out today are Me and the Devil by Nick Tosches; Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago; Climates, a newly translated novel from 1928 by French writer Andre Maurois; Spilt Milk by Brazilian writer Chico Buarque; and Alan Light’s The Holy or the Broken about a Leonard Cohen song that Jeff Buckley made famous.
Discovery of the Week: Fairy tales are older than previously thought. Researchers have traced stories back to prehistoric and bronze age times. For example, Beauty and the Beast and Rumplestiltskin “can be securely traced back to the emergence of the major western Indo-European subfamilies as distinct lineages between 2,500 and 6,000 years ago.” Kirsty Logan writes about the problem with fairy tales.
Recommended reading: Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams (which we covered here and here), writes again, this time about 52 Blue, “the loneliest whale in the world.” The full work is available at Atavist for $3.99, but an excerpt is available at Slate.
Before Donal Ryan made the Man Booker Prize Longlist, his debut novel, The Spinning Heart, was rejected 47 times until an intern plucked it out of the slush pile. We bet those 47 publishers are smacking themselves on the forehead right now. Pair with: Research has shown that rejection is like physical pain.
The recipients of the 2016 Kirkus Prize have been announced, among them the novel The Sport of Kings by C. E. Morgan and In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi, a meditation on her father’s gender transition, in the non-fiction category. We reviewed two of the other fiction finalists this year: Carousel Court (here) and The Underground Railroad (here).
“Arguably versioning is a practice reserved for when a literary translator isn’t available or perhaps doesn’t actually exist who can bridge both languages. At worst, it has and can be done by colonisers or writers from major languages mangling minor literatures for sport and without care from a position of imbedded prejudice, power and authority.” Jen Calleja on the difference between translating and versioning of an original text, over at The Quietus.
The New York Times interviewed Colum McCann about what and who he’s reading, and if you’re looking for a book recommendation this piece is full of them. For more from McCann, be sure to check out his Year in Reading, our review of his novel TransAtlantic, and this reading of his soccer poem.
Saul Bellow met Jack Ludwig at Bard College in the fifties. The two became friends, and founded a magazine together, called The Noble Savage. Then, not long after the magazine began running, Ludwig started an affair with Bellow’s wife. Here’s the letter Bellow sent him when he found out. You could also read our own Emily St. John Mandel on Bellow’s novel The Bellarosa Connection.