“Dear publisher, I am sorry if I do so few of these stories justice. Someone else surely will. I don’t know what justice for a book is but I think I saw it as I prayed over this one.” Matthew Jakubowski reviews Diane Williams’ latest collection Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine at Minor Literature[s]. You could also read his reviews of Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi’s Fra Keeler and Margriet de Moor’s The Storm at The Millions.
New this week: A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem; The Fall Guy by James Lasdun; No Knives in the Kitchens of This City by Khaled Khalifa; Mister Monkey by Francine Prose; The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa; Truevine by Beth Macy; Love for Sale by David Hajdu; and The Loved Ones by our own Sonya Chung. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
Tim Parks's review of Han Kang's The Vegetarian has some pretty interesting things to say about the nature of reviewing translation, but it also takes some shots at the novel and its proponents: "Looked at closely, the prose is far from an epitome of elegance, the drama itself neither understated nor beguiling, the translation frequently in trouble with register and idiom. Studying the thirty-four endorsements again, and the praise after the book won the prize, it occurs to me there is a shared vision of what critics would like a work of 'global fiction' to be and that The Vegetarian has managed to present itself as a candidate that can be praised in those terms." Here's a Millions review of Kang's Man Booker International prize-winner.
The Asian American Literary Review is releasing their Special Issue Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of September 11 with a launch party this Friday at 7pm in downtown New York at Alwan for the Arts. The 350-page(!) issue has interviews, essays, and first person testimony on 9/11 by South/Asian and Arab American contributors -- including Kazim Ali, Amitava Kumar, and Khin Mai Aung from AALDEF (the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund) -- several of whom should be at the launch.
Alison Mudditt, director of The University of California Press, has announced the suspension of the New California Poetry series due to state budget cuts and the challenges posed to "our industry and markets which (not unlike the newspaper industry!) require us to rethink and retool to remain a vibrant and relevant voice in the digital age."
If at some point in your life you lose a beloved pet, and if, while mourning, you decide to write an obituary, know this -- whatever you write will not be as good as E.B. White’s tribute to his dog. (You can read more pieces like it in the perfectly-titled E.B. White on Dogs.)