Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘independent press’

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Further Thoughts on Translation

Over at MelvilleHouse Publishing there’s an interesting blog post, In Support of Translation, along with responses, about the Best Translated Book Award being funded by Amazon. Editor Dennis Loy Johnson writes: As the winner of the most recent Best Translated Book (BTB) prize for fiction — for our book, The Confessions of Noa Weber, by Gail Hareven — we here at Melville House were particularly proud to win an award that had been voted upon by a judging panel made up of representatives from some of the country’s best independent booksellers, not to mention some great indie bloggers and critics. […]

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Price vs. Value

How much does a book cost? What’s the value of a book? Obvious as it sounds, those are two separate questions—but as Kassia Krozser points out on her lit blog Booksquare, they’re often conflated by readers and publishers alike: The publisher sold readers a book they knew was not very good. Yes, the publisher had to know. Someone on the editorial staff (presumably) read the book. Someone with (presumably) enough discernment to realize the book was crap. Someone who should have had the guts to say to the author that the book didn’t pass muster. You know, instead of foisting […]

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A Little Bone of Crazy, or This is Your Brain On Snowbroth: Leni Zumas’s Farewell Navigator

Most of Leni Zumas’s stories in her exceptional (and stylistically exciting) debut, Farewell Navigator (Open City, 2008), are compact studies of paralysis in the tradition of Beckett and Ioensco. Sherwood Anderson could have been describing Zumas’s characters as they, too, are “forever frightened and beset by a ghostly band of doubts.” In “Farewell Navigator,” one character envies a group of blind schoolchildren for having teachers “to pull them. Nobody expects them to know where to go.” And in “Leopard Arms”—a story told from the perspective of a gargoyle—a father fears “of doing nothing they’ll remember him for. Not a single footprint—film, book, record, madcap stunt—to prove he was here. Am I actually here? he sometimes mutters into his hand.”

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Sima's Undergarments for Women, by Ilana Stanger-Ross

In her moving debut novel, Sima’s Undergarments for Women (Overlook, 2009), Ilana Stanger-Ross renders her title character so startlingly real, and with such empathy, that we cannot help but root for her. In the Jewish neighborhood of Boro Park, Brooklyn, Sima and her husband, Lev–both in shuffling middle age–have long accepted (but are forever marked by) the disappointment of not being able to have children. Sima has withdrawn into the world of her shop, away from the shroud of tragedy cast over her marriage. The story begins when a vivacious young Israeli woman, Timna, enters Sima’s shop and changes everything. The story begins when a vivacious young Israeli woman, Timna, enters Sima’s shop and changes everything.

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Eugene Cross wins 2009 Dzanc Prize

Fiction writer and Penn State Erie lecturer Eugene Cross has won the 2009 Dzanc Prize. The $5,000 prize is based on a manuscript-in-progress as well as a proposal for a writing-related community service project. Dzanc writes: Cross was selected from more than 100 applicants for both the quality of his fiction writing, as well as his proposal to set up and run a progressive series of creative workshops for refugees from Nepal, Sudan and Bhutan, in Erie. For his community service, Cross will conduct three 4-month workshops in concurrence with an ESL class currently being taught. We at Dzanc found […]

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Literary Gifts #1: EWN's Holiday Shopping Guide and more

During this holiday season, many FWR contributors and readers enjoy giving friends and family gifts of the literary variety: novels we know they’d love, subscriptions to lit magazines or journals, a Kindle or Nook, blank notebooks, the perfect pen, novelist-friendly software like Scrivener. Want some inspiration? We’ll be linking to bookish gift ideas throughout the holiday season. Be sure to visit the Emerging Writers Network frequently over the next month: the site has just kicked off its Holiday Shopping Guide; in the EWN’s most recent newsletter, Dan Wickett tells us the guide will feature numerous posts (at least one a […]

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Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia, edited by Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker

Life in Russia, said author Aleksander Snegirev, at Housing Works’ September 21 Rasskazy event, is uncomfortable, but always interesting. So, too, are the stories in this plump new anthology from Tin House: Arkady Babchenko’s beleaguered soldier returns to Chechnya a page away from German Sadulaev’s lyrical descriptions of Chechnya’s devastated countryside. The binding is a veritable trench across which both narrators peek at each other warily.

Reviews |

The Collectors, by Matt Bell

In both of the recent New York Times reviews of E.L. Doctorow’s new novel, Homer & Langley, which is based on the lives of the Collyer brothers, the reviewers go out of their way to point to other works drawn from the lives of these eccentric, hoarding bachelor shut-ins: Marcia Davenport’s My Brother’s Keeper, Richard Greenberg’s The Dazzle, Franz Lidz’s Ghosty Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers and My Uncle Arthur, New York’s Greatest Hoarders, and a variety of other books, films, plays, and TV shows. In short: we are obsessed with the obsessed. Nowhere is this clearer than in Matt Bell’s The Collectors, which is also based on the lives of the Collyer brothers, and deserves to be added to this canon.

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