"When I first moved to the city, there was a cat in my cousin’s building as well. I don’t know what happened, but the landlord filled the building with tenants and moved out, leaving the grey cat behind. I asked her once why the landlord left it behind, and she said that cats are more attached to places than to people. And that was why cats are so often found in abandoned houses."

I’ll Be Right There – Kyungsook Shin, translated by Sora Kim-Russel (via kyngusoo)

Ten books to read in October

Metalheads vs. Tuscany | VQR Online

If Paolo Sorrentino’s recent Oscar-winning film La Grande Bellezza (“The Great Beauty”) was too much like a postcard of Rome—and out of step with the struggles that real Italians are facing—then Live Bait, a novel by Fabio Genovesi, is like a teenage punk who wields a can of spray paint and tears that postcard in two.

Antonio Skármeta on working as a translator during the early part of his writing career

translatable:

Antonio Skármeta is a Chilean writer of the post-Boom whose work has been adapted for film twice—his novel on the last days of Pablo Neruda, Ardiente paciencia, was the basis of the screenplay for Il Postino (The Postman), and an unproduced play, El Plebescito, about the 1988 referendum on the…

Log In - The New York Times

When first asked to write a serial novel, I immediately thought of basing the story on the recent experience of seeing my mother through the final stage of her life. I knew that the topic would interest mature women, the core readership of newspaper novels. But for such a large audience, I felt obliged to broaden the story’s appeal, and so I mixed in the theme of marital infidelity by introducing a wayward husband.

Letters from readers soon started to arrive. To my surprise, nearly all of them dealt with readers’ own experiences of elder care — especially the care of an aged mother. Clearly, marital infidelity was far less compelling to Japanese people than caring for “Mother.”

Elder care has become a serious concern in many developed countries in recent years as our societies have aged beyond previous expectations, but the situation is especially severe in Japan.

Not only are Japanese among the longest-lived people in the world (theaverage life span is 86 for women, 80 for men), but the country also has by far the highest proportion of people over 65, who constitute 24 percent of the population (compared with just 14 percent in the United States).

Authoring Shishosetsu from Left to Right | International Writing Program

The irreducible materiality of language—the untranslatablity of language—is that which prevents the world from ultimately making sense only in English. Imagine a world in which the cream of all societies, the most well-educated and the most prosperous, expressed themselves exclusively in English. Not only would humanity be less rich in variation, it would also be less subtle, less articulate, and less capable of checking the tyranny of one Logos. Perhaps I am being megalomaniacal again, but I would certainly be happy if, on top of all the intrinsic pleasures involved in writing in Japanese, to write in Japanese today meant working to save humanity from succumbing to that horrid fate.


Hooray! Other Press won two awards at the New York Book Show last night! Lipika Pelham’s The Unlikely Settler won 1st Place Cover in the Hardcover Nonfiction section under General Trade, and Minae Mizumura’s A True Novel won 2nd Place book in the Quality Paperback section. It’s great to know our beautiful books are being appreciated!

Hooray! Other Press won two awards at the New York Book Show last night! Lipika Pelham’s The Unlikely Settler won 1st Place Cover in the Hardcover Nonfiction section under General Trade, and Minae Mizumura’s A True Novel won 2nd Place book in the Quality Paperback section. It’s great to know our beautiful books are being appreciated!

Resources | SWET: The Society of Writers, Editors, and Translators

AZE: I read Susan Chira’s review of A True Novel in the New York Times and am very curious how you feel about this statement from the review: “Yet Mizumura has triumphed in taking a quintessential Western Gothic and making it wholly Japanese… . At least between its pages, Western tradition does not eradicate Japanese literary sensibility. She has drawn on the West for inspiration but created something indelibly, irresistibly, Japan’s own.” What do you think about the urge some critics seem to feel to create such dichotomies between “Japan” and “the West”? Are these categories still valid, in your opinion, especially in the case of a writer who tries to straddle both cultures?

JWC: This is an interesting question. I was actually pleased by Chira’s statement, since the novel is admittedly based on a Western classic and yet draws from Japanese history
and literary traditions as well. Certainly the human experience is largely universal—which is why translation is possible in the first place, and why Mizumura can be inspired by different literary traditions simultaneously—but the particulars of that experience vary among cultures, and a clumsy imitation could end up sounding a bit ridiculous. I think of TV dramas made in Japan where Japanese characters go on having conversations that grate on the ear, grown siblings saying things like “Do you think Father still loves Mother?” Japanese people just don’t talk that way, even if some Westerners do. I think the novel is a successful transposition of a Western framework into Japanese, and more, and if that comes across in the translation, then great.

lividserenity:

August Book Photo Challenge     DAY 1: Whatcha Reading

I’ll Be Right There

lividserenity:

August Book Photo Challenge
     DAY 1: Whatcha Reading

I’ll Be Right There

"I had no way of knowing where it began or where it ended. Only that it flowed without restraint."

—Shin Kyung-sook I’ll Be Right There (via sempiternale)