At the Kenyon Review, Frances Cha discusses the process behind writing her book If I Had Your Face, as she navigated two languages and audiences. “I do feel as if I am writing in translation,” Cha says, “but it is not a removed experience—even if I am speaking Korean in Korea, my thoughts are a mix of both languages, and so it doesn’t make much of a difference that I am writing in a different language from what I was speaking earlier . . . in the editing process I did take out quite a few Korean words because I felt that it took the non-Korean reader out of the suspension of disbelief, but in the writing of it, I wrote for myself and people like me.”
Today sees the arrival of a unique title from the Center for the Art of Translation. Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed provides translated poetry and fiction from 30 writers and is meant to introduce English-speaking readers to writers whose work would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find in English. Elsewhere, the biggest literary release of the week is Vladimir Nabokov’s The Original of Laura, which has caused no small amount of consternation among critics, and Alice Munro’s latest collection, Too Much Happiness, which can be expected to be more warmly received. On the non-fiction side, a new collection of Zadie Smith essays came out last week.
“Pornography has changed unrecognizably from its so-called golden age—the period, in the sixties and seventies, when adult movies had theatrical releases and seemed in step with the wider moment of sexual liberation, and before V.H.S. drove down production quality, in the eighties. Today’s films are often short and nearly always hard-core; that is, they show penetrative sex. Among the most popular search terms in 2015 were ‘anal,’ ‘amateur,’ ‘teen,’ and—one that would surely have made Freud smile—’mom and son.'” The New Yorker attempts to make some sense of modern pornography.
Japanese booksellers are not content to handsell books these days. No, no. Instead, they’re drawing on architectural know-how and creative spirit in order to master “the avant-garde art of book stacking.” (Hopefully none of them experience the Mariko Aoki phenomenon.)