World Books Update: November 2009
By Bill Marx
Much new material since the October update for those with an interest in international literature.
My latest podcast features an interview with journalist and author Justine Hardy, whose latest book (published by the Free Press), “In the Valley of Mist: One Family in a Changing World,” continues her exploration of life in Kashmir, a perspective that makes a determined effort to look beyond the stereotypes of crisis. I was particularly curious about what Hardy has learned covering the volatile region as a journalist and novelist. What does fiction do that non-fiction can’t?
Also in World Books: a thoughtful piece by translator and critic Tess Lewis that goes beyond the whiffs of information whipped up at a moment’s notice by the American media about the books of Herta Müller, who recently won the Nobel Prize for literature.
And I posted an interview with a leading Cuban writer about one of my favorite books in translation this year. I questioned, via email, writer José Manuel Prieto about the English translation of the late Guillermo Rosales’s “The Halfway House,” a powerful novel about exile, revolution, and mental illness.
Coming up on World Books: An extensive piece by Helen Epstein that examines the recent publication and translation (ninety years after it was begun) of C. G. Jung’s confessional meditation “The Red Book.” According to the volume’s editor and co-translator Sonu Shamdasani, “The Red Book” stands in a select company of books that exerted an enormous influence on social and intellectual history even while it was unpublished.