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 Minneapolis Star Tribune has named author Lesley Nneka Arimah its 2017 Artist of the Year. They note, “Arimah is at the forefront of a growing number of young authors, primarily immigrants and writers of color — in the Twin Cities, as well as across the country — who are writing some of the most original and interesting fiction and poetry being published today.” Arimah is the author of the short story collection What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky, a 2017 Year in Reading favorite. She was also honored as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” and named as a finalist for the John Leonard Prize. Congratulations!
The much discussed Fifty Shades of Grey arrives as a paperback today, though one wonders if readers will be as willing to read it if they must shed the privacy of the e-reader. Also out is the gorgeous retrospective, The Art of Daniel Clowes. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright and MAN Asian Literary Prize winner Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin are new in paperback.
Qiu Miaojin was a Taiwanese novelist and lesbian activist, and her short life has had a profound impact on queer literature since her suicide in 1995. Recently Bonnie Huie received a PEN translation grant so she could bring Miaojin’s best-known work, Notes of a Crocodile, to an English-speaking audience. You can read an excerpt of Huie’s translation on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop online publishing platform, The Margins.
Recommended Reading: Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin on writing for free (or not).
Was Miami made for the mystery novel? The most iconic mysteries and detective novels are anchored firmly in their sense of place, and no place is more hospitable to commodifiable crime and violence than sunny South Beach. If it’s more Florida weirdness you’re after, look no further than our own Nick Moran.