Cuentos para el andén Number 7 Out Now

Cuntos para el andén, the free magazine of short stories from Spain is out with its newest edition. It includes a couple of pieces of short fiction from Juan Jacinto Muñoz Rengel. I’ve been interested in reading something of his ever since I read La familia del aire a few weeks ago. He uses the fantastic in his writing. Also there is one from Francisco Umbral who I don’t know, but have heard his name a few times.

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New Words Without Borders: Writing from the Indian Ocean – Plus Etgar Keret

The May issue of Words Without Borders is out now, featuring writing from the Indian Ocean. It also has a story fro perennial favorite, Etgar Keret.

This month we spotlight writing from the islands of Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar, and Mayotte.  Francophone writing in the region dates back to the eighteenth century; the coexistence of French with the area’s other languages (Creole, Malagasy, Arabic, and Hindi), and its relationship to French colonialism, inflect writers’ thematic, stylistic, and syntactic choices.  See how J. William Cally, Ananda Devi, Nassuf Djailani, Michel Ducasse, Boris Gamaleya, Alain Gordon-Gentil, Carpanin Marimoutou and Françoise Vergès, Esther Nirina, Barlen Pyamootoo, Jean-Luc Raharimanana, and Umar Timol imaginatively engage with this complex heritage. And guest editor Francoise Lionnet provides an illuminating introduction. Elsewhere, Mauritian writer Nathacha Appanah joins Etgar Keret and Wojciech Jagielski in writing from cities not their own. And we deliver the third installment of Sakumi Tamaya’s “The Hole in the Garden.”
By Françoise Lionnet
Francophone writing in the Mascarene region dates back to the eighteenth century. more>>>

Ludwig and I Kill Hitler for No Particular Reason

By Etgar Keret       
Translated from Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger
“Adolf, it’s you, I didn’t recognize you at first without the ridiculous mustache.” more>>>

Is The Center of Spanish Language Publishing Returning to Latin America?

El Pais had an article recently about La Feria del LIbro de Buenos Aires and a group of Latin American authors who gave their thoughts on where the power base of Spanish publishing is. Historically it has gone back and forth. While Spain was under Franco Latin America was the publishing center. When Spain became a democracy and Latin America had its own problems the center of publishing moved to Spain. Now the question is, is it about to change? Many of the authors consulted hoped it would, pointing out it is silly that to get books published they have to go to Spain, and that if they only publish in their home country their book probably won’t leave their home country. Ebooks, of course, were touted as one of the solutions but it is uncertain if that is going to be as liberating as might be hoped for. Given that Spain refused to put in a large presence in the book fair do to a squabble with Argentina, things are certain to change.

Vale, no hay un nuevo Gabriel García Márquez en Latinoamérica. Ni “rayuelas”, ni “conversaciones en la catedral”. No hay millones de personas en el mundo esperando a que salga el último libro de la porteña Claudia Piñeiro, o de su compatriota Marcelo Cohen, premio de la Crítica en Argentina por su novela Balada. La gente no abarrota las salas donde habla la mexicana Guadalupe Nettel, ni se detiene el tráfico cuando cruza un semáforo con su mochila al hombro el chileno Alejandro Zambra o el colombiano Tomás González. Y sin embargo, a todos ellos les va bien dentro y, a veces, fuera de sus países. La Feria del Libro de Buenos Aires también goza de excelente salud: desde el 19 de abril y hasta el 7 de mayo se espera la asistencia de 1.250.000 personas que pagarán el equivalente a 4,5 euros por entrar en un recinto casi tan grande como cinco campos de fútbol lleno de libros. Los cinco novelistas se dieron cita el viernes en la Feria para hablar ante una audiencia de unas 200 personas no sobre sus propios libros, sino de sus experiencias como lectores. Muy pronto surgió la cuestión de España: ¿Por qué se depende tanto de las editoriales españolas para encontrar a los buenos autores de Latinoamérica? ¿Por qué siguen llegando los libros de otros idiomas traducidos al español de España?

Chapter from New Enrique Vila-Matas Book Aire de Dylan

El Pais post a chapter from the newest Enrique Vila-Matas book a few weeks ago. I’ve been a little late on getting it up, but you can read it here. The book came out last week (3/14). Here is a brief overview:

Uno de los mayores fracasos puede ser fracasar en el empeño de fracasar. Otro podría ser el vivir pareciéndose a alguien, imitándolo y propiciando la impostura. Con esta idea comienza Enrique Vila-Matas su nueva novela Aire de Dylan (Seix Barral). Una obra que se publicará el 14 de marzo pero cuyo primer capítulo avanza hoy EL PAÍS en exclusiva.En ella, el joven Vilnius, que explota su parecido con el cantautor estadounidense, asiste a un congreso literario sobre el fracaso, mientras cree que su difunto padre le empieza a traspasar sus recuerdos.

El anonimato, la máscara, la impostura, la búsqueda y sus alrededores están presentes en Aire de Dylan. El joven Vilnius protagoniza estas páginas en las que el escritor barcelonés despliega sus mejores armas y elenco literarios con humor, ironía o sarcasmo pero siempre desde el conocimiento del mundo de la creación literaria. A partir de ahí, la novela se va transformando en un homenaje al mundo del teatro y una crítica al posmodernismo.

March 2012 Words Without Borders: The Mexican Drug War

The new Words Without Borders is out now. It is an issue I’ve been looking forward to for sometime, especially since I donated to the Kick Starter campaign. The issue is a mix of non-fiction and fiction all addressing the drug war. I’ve read Volpi before and he can be insightful. I’m looking forward to reading the Juan Villoro. I’ve seen his name several times in the collection of reporting that was recently published in by Anagrama.

Guest Editor Carmen Boullosa

What is it like to grow up in a country where the only safe place you can gather with friends is in your own home? How do you raise a family when going to the supermarket is fraught with the danger of being kidnapped?  This is the situation in Mexico, where the drug wars have transformed the country into a living hell. Guest editor Carmen Boullosa has assembled compelling essays, interviews, fiction, and poetry from Mexican writers on the impact of this bloody conflict. In their eyewitness reports, Luis Felipe Fabre, Rafael Perez Gay, Yuri Herrera, Rafael Lemus, Fabrizio Mejia Madrid, Hector de Mauleon, Magali Tercero, Jorge Volpi, and Juan Villoro document the crisis and demand the world’s attention.

From the other side of the world, we present poetry commemorating last year’s Japanese earthquake, and launch a new serial about an unexpected pig.

Etgar Keret Story at Guernica

Guernica has a good short story from Etgar Keret. It has fun with the idea of the writer and is one of his stories that touches more directly on the troubles. The story is from his forthcoming book to be published in April, I believe.

“Tell me a story,” the bearded man sitting on my living-room sofa commands. The situation, I must admit, is anything but pleasant. I’m someone who writes stories, not someone who tells them. And even that isn’t something I do on demand. The last time anyone asked me to tell him a story, it was my son. That was a year ago. I told him something about a fairy and a ferret—I don’t even remember what exactly—and within two minutes he was fast asleep. But here the situation is fundamentally different. Because my son doesn’t have a beard, or a pistol. Because my son asked for the story nicely, and this man is simply trying to rob me of it.

The New Boom: Latin American Non-Fiction?

I actually don’t like terms like the Boom, but El Pais had an interesting conversation about a new collection coming out from Alfagrara: Antología de crónica latinoamericana actual. (You can read an excerpt here – the 42 page introduction) It is an anthology of stories from newspapers and magazines that focus on the way journalistic writing has developed as its own art form among Spanish speaking journalists. I know there have been many excellent journalists in the past so I don’t want to over state the boom idea. But the focus on journalistic narrative, apparently, has undergone a resurgence of interest. The name English speakers might recognize is Alejandro Zambra. El Pais explains the phenomenon:

1. De acuerdo,  la palabra boom huele. ¿Lo dejamos en “explosión controlada de la crónica latinoamericana”? Lo dejamos. Pero también diremos que en los últimos años han proliferado en América Latina las revistas, las colecciones, los talleres y hasta los premios dedicados a la crónica. Además, ahora se publican en España dos amplias selecciones dedicadas a ese género híbrido que llaman periodismo narrativo. Hoy mismo llega a las librerías Antología de crónica latinoamericana actual (Alfaguara), coordinada por Darío Jaramillo Agudelo. El 1 de marzo lo hará Mejor que ficción. Crónicas ejemplares (Anagrama), a cargo de Jorge Carrión. El próximo sábado Babelia -que ya dedicó una portada al género– se ocupará de ambos libros y del fenómeno que representan. Hoy Papeles Perdidos ofrece dos crónicas incluidas en la selección de Jaramillo: El sabor de la muerte, del mexicano Juan Villoro, y Bob Dylan en el Auditorium Theater, del dominicano Frank Báez.