“I struggled, quite a bit, writing this review. Reviewing books, while easy in certain ways — you have certain aspects of form to follow, there are certain features of books that cannot go unremarked: one must write about character, about language, about technique — and really a rather simple process (much simpler, it would seem, than writing books), can also be a pain. Especially, frustratingly enough, when the book is really good.” On Lola Lafon’s We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm.
“This is a tricky novel to review. I’m not even sure it is a novel. And I’m not certain as to whether its fragmentary nature belies an organic structure of astutely sewn intention or is merely a disingenuous device to conceal a let’s-get-something-out cobbling together of unpublished material lying around the writer’s desk. What I can tell you is this: I was powerfully engaged and richly entertained by Sergio De La Pava’s Personae.” (Related: our own Garth Risk Hallberg wrote a profile of De La Pava.)
If you live in London, and you like the idea of a play in which “two women [try] to put on a one-woman play about Frida Kahlo in whom neither of them is really interested,” you should stop by the Bridge House Theatre, which is playing Chris Larner’s The Frida Kahlo of Penge West until November 23rd. At the LRB blog, Rosemary Hill provides a brief review.
The American Literary Translators Association has announced this year’s recipients of the National Translation Award. Prose honors went to William M. Hutchins’s translation from the Arabic of Ibrahim al-Koni’s The New Waw: Saharan Oasis, and the poetry winner was Pierre Joris’s translation from the German of Paul Celan’s Collected Later Poetry.