Open Letter Books director Chad Post teamed up with Green Apple Books buyer Stephen Sparks to make a list of their twenty favorite books in translation. Among their selections is László Krasznahorkai’s Satantango, which Adam Levy reviewed for us last year, and which Post and Sparks describe as “a diabolical, haunting deconstruction of apocalyptic messianism.”
“[Ludmilla] Petrushevskaya doesn't write about isolated acts of depravity; she writes about universal ones,” says Michael Robbins in his review of There Once Lived a Girl. “What's scary about her narratives is their implication that only the thinnest film, which might rip at any time, separates us from the chaos and breakdown they describe.” Our own Janet Potter also reviewed Petrushevskaya’s work this week, and she focused on the romantic hopes of its characters. "What’s remarkable," Potter writes, "is not the love they find, but the fact that they’re looking for it."
In the late seventies, when Susan Sontag was recovering from cancer, she hired an assistant to help her catch up on correspondence. Her editor recommended Sigrid Nunez, who began working for Sontag and ended up moving in with her. Nunez now recalls the experience with a mixture of gratitude and pain. In Dissent, a look at the economy of creative assistants.
An exhibition of the authorportraits of Swedish artist Carl Köhler, whose extraordinary portraits of artists and intellectuals we've displayed here at The Millions, opens in Toronto on January 11th at the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto, 130 St. George St. For more information call 416-971-3131.
On Twitter, Room author Emma Donoghue breaks the news that Brie Larson will star in the film adaptation of her 2010 novel, and that the script will be written by Donoghue herself. (Related: our own Edan Lepucki reviewed the novel soon after it first published.)