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Articles tagged "French Literature"

New Fiction in Translation: From “Paris Vagabond”

Photograph: Patrice Molinard Jean Paul-Clébert's Paris Vagabond will be published by New York Review Books on April 12, 2016. The forthcoming edition is translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith and accompanied by the photographs of Clébert's friend Patrice Molinard.   The Merits of Tea . . . Because, in Paris, if you are not going to starve, you need a number of assets: an open mind, an ever-curious eye, a sharp ear, a hound’s nose,...

On Angoulême and Control

Illustration accompanying call for boycott. © Julie Maroh. The furor over the list of nominees for the Grand Prix of the Angoulême International Comics Festival (FIBD) should be understood as a typical example of a number of societal phenomena. I mean by this that the comics world is no more or less sexist than other communities: it’s just the same. But I also mean that this controversy was a gift for the media and for those who love to dig into such a juicy morsel since...

Saad

Saad bursts into the bedroom, where David is resting after lunch, and declares: “They’re coming! Quick, Monsieur David, let’s go see them!” The whole town seems to race toward Ambado. A cloud of dust rises into view in the distant haze between Tadjoura and the palm grove. David and Saad, on their mules, are the first to reach them. Hemmed in by around twenty armed horsemen, they’ve been marching like this for months. A thousand people of all ages, from the...

Abandoning Myself

Burning, the needle that gently scrapes my skin, that doesn’t press very deep, that moves along slowly, that skims my flesh beneath the surface, that injects black ink blood between the two layers. Gaël crouches over my thigh. His left hand stretches and holds the skin. The other draws with the strange machine. Piercing, its sound—it reminds me of the dentist’s drill. Its tiny needle makes me think about the one in the sewing machine where Neny Kely rips open her...

The Conspiracists

One day, an uncle of mine called Alphonse sent me to get advice from his childhood friend who’d become a policeman. The friend’s name was Anatole Rabe. He’d steadily climbed the steps of the National Police hierarchy, my uncle said, and now found himself near the top. Alphonse and Anatole had first met when they were still in short pants and both had enthusiastically donned the thankless uniform of civil servitude—but that was at a simpler time when the...

Nenitou

Crayfish leap backward in huge bounds, which I loved. But later, I’d find their own excrement in their heads.   Lord Rat washes his face, he is bald. Lady Mouse trills, she is toothless.   Once upon a time, I was a little girl. I lived in the country. Then, Nenitou came. Nenitou is my mother-sister. She took me with her. She made me leave the country. I was going to go to school. I was going to have beautiful dresses. Clean ones. I was going to watch...

Blastomycosis

Before starting his nightly route, Lemizo patted himself down to make sure that he had all the tools of his trade. On his left shoulder: a scrap paper bag glued around a large, empty, white metal container without a lid. On his right: two large sacks dangling down, one for different kinds of glass bottles, the other for scrap plastic. Around his waist: a large belt made from a tightly rolled swath of fabric, to hold any handled objects that could be reused. He also had his pointed metal...

Wife Sold at Auction

On this morning, the old musician stops playing the moment I bend my lanky bag of bones and squeeze through the tiny doorframe of his home. I’ve stopped greeting him, at least while he’s playing, so as not to frighten away, like birdsong, the music my ears drink in from the street. But today, he breaks off. A long silence settles in while Marvane—that’s what I call him—aligns and adjusts the chunks of calabash gourd under the strings of his instrument. His...

The Avenging Whip

The weather’s so hot at the moment that I can’t be assed to do anything. I spend all day vegging out in front of the TV, watching shows aimed at the unemployed, even though I have a real job. And when I’m not staring at the box and doing my eyes in . . . well, I sleep, I eat. I sleep some more and I eat some more. In other words, I do fuck all. When I opened the mailbox this morning, I realized that I was making a serious mistake. The bills for the things that rule our...

Cinépanorama

“My son can ensnare you, you know. It comes right out of his eye.” —Edith Arnold-Delon   1954 Service number T 1023 T53. You board in Toulon, headed for Indochina. Another move—just farther this time. You’ve been racking them up ever since Edith and Fabien divorced when you were four. A foster family in Fresnes, by the prison where Laval was waiting for the firing squad—you just can’t make this stuff up. They invite you to lunch. You pick a...

New in French: Les Sauvages by Sabri Louatah

Les Sauvages (“The Barbarians”), the first novel by Parisian writer Sabri Louatah, is a turbulent portrait of a contemporary France divided between a desire for globalization and a wave of nationalism. It is being published in four parts by Flammarion-Versilio. The third volume was published in the fall of 2013, and Louatah is currently working on the final book. The first volumes are set during the May 2012 presidential elections in France, pitting the outgoing president...

Writing the Rack That Wracks Us: On Translating the Poetry of Marie-Claire Bancquart

One of the many things I have Marie-Claire Bancquart to thank for is introducing me to the world of things. I don’t mean an initiation into the pleasures of 24/7 QVC or a penchant for crying into piles of pricey men’s shirts à la Daisy Buchanan. Rather, she helped me see myself as one thing among many which exist in concert with one another—and it is an illuminating, humbling vision. The story goes back to the coal mining town of Aubin, France, in that uneasy time...

The Week in Translation

what: French Literature in the Making: Jérôme Ferrari where: Maison Français of NYU when: Monday, February 24, 7pm more info: http://ow.ly/tsHQ2 what: French Literature Night @ Cornelia Café where: Cornelia Street Cafe when: Monday, February 24, 6pm more info: http://ow.ly/tsI6K

From the Translator: Tintin in the Land of Foreign Affairs

In 2006, Tom McCarthy claimed that the pages of Tintin contained the secret of literature; in 2010, Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain declared that Tintin held the secret of making a good political speech. Invoking as it did that evergreen classic of Francophone comics, or bande dessinée, the scene (featured in this month’s Words Without Borders excerpt) was a favorite of French readers in what soon became a runaway bestseller, the first volume alone selling 170,000 copies....

The Week in Translation

what: French Literature in the Making: Jérôme Ferrari where: Maison Français of NYU when: Monday, February 24, 7pm more info: http://ow.ly/tsHQ2 what: French Literature Night @ Cornelia Café where: Cornelia Street Cafe when: Monday, February 24, 6pm more info: http://ow.ly/tsI6K

The Week in Translation

what: Kafka Translated: A panel discussion on translating Kafka with Michelle Woods, Mark Harman (translator of The Castle and Amerika), Susan Bernofsky (translator of "The Metamorphosis"), and Alex Zucker (translator of contemporary Czech fiction). where: Czech Center when: Tuesday, February 11, 7pm more info: http://ow.ly/tsCPB what: French Literature in the Making: Jérôme Ferrari where: Maison Français of NYU when:...

The Stations of the Cry

This is the tale of a lengthy journey. A step-by-step journey, one inspired by a misfortune that took place in the court of the Hungarian Prince Esterházy, in November 1772, in the city of Esterháza. A kind of voyage. An esoteric and maiden voyage whose steps I will attempt to recount for you. So what is it? An itinerary. An itinerary of the twenty-six stations. As we approach the starting line, all is possible, all is permitted: is this freedom or is it permissiveness? This...

Infinity, Minus Forty Yearly Installments: Noun Complements (1972–2012)

1. In September 1972, funded by a scholarship, I took the Orient Express to Vienna. Sixteen-hour journey, upper bunk. Less than enthusiastic about sharing a room in the student hostel, I looked for a studio and moved into 48/18 Fleichgasse, Vienna 15. 2. Certificate in German obtained, composition of a master’s thesis on the relations of words and music in the opera Lulu by Alban Berg. Alongside that, a course in electroacoustics at the Hochshule für Musik. 3. Exploration of...

The Life You Save May Be Your Own

Canada Dry Spoonerisms 1. A Sicilian caterwauls, except in Apulia. 2. The archaeologist’s wife does love a serious excavation. 3. How adroit you are with your crocuses! 4. The seafarer takes a pruning knife to caulk his dinghy. 5. Can someone repair my till? fretted the Druze bag boy. 6. The faithful communicant’s hand lingered on Saint Crispin’s alms-box. 7. Smirking, the abbess palpates the prelate’s brow. 8. The baroness’s ape dips his biscuit in the...

The Opposing Shore

The room is covered in dead leaves. Two benches are placed just so, conjuring up a bucolic garden scene, in the first days of fall, in the countryside, waiting for the season to roll by and take our memories with it. And yet we’re a mere stone’s throw from the Place de Clichy in Paris, in the eighteenth arrondissement, and it’s spring. On a small stage, a young performer from Toulouse, the twenty-eight-year-old AJ Dirtystein, is naked and covered in white rice powder....

Edward Gauvin on Being Translated

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud recently did me the honor not only of translating one of my short stories, but of finding that translation a French home. My first published translation, and Châteaureynaud’s English debut, was eight years ago here in these very pages; to date I have translated twenty-nine of his short stories (twenty-three in the 2010 Small Beer collection A Life on Paper). His translation of my story appeared last month in the one hundredth issue of...

The Week in Translation

SUBMIT what: The French-American Foundation and the Florence Gould Foundation are currently accepting submissions for the Annual Translation Prize—a $10,000 cash award for the best English translation of French in both fiction and non-fiction. submission deadline: January 15, 2013 more info: http://ow.ly/gadj1 what: Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC) when: June 3-June 12, 2013 submission deadline: January 15, 2013 more info: http://ow.ly/gacMi...

A Review of Edouard Levé‘s \“Autoportrait\”

Self-portraiture occupied the French photographer and novelist Edouard Levé throughout his career, but his third novel, Autoportrait, remains his most thorough and sustained attempt in that direction. Levé was the author of only four works of fiction – Oeuvres (2002), Journal (2004), Autoportrait (2005) and Suicide (2008) – each highly experimental, each marked by a distinctive removed style. While Oeuvres describes a set of art projects that the author has...

The Week in Translation

GO what: "Monet to Mallarmé": Mary Ann Caws, Paul Legault, Susan Mitchell, and Laila Pedro read from the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, in French and in a variety of translations. Monet to Mallarmé is a six-event salon series at the New York Botanical Garden. when: Saturday, August 11, 4:00pm where: New York Botanical Garden Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road cost: Admission is free with All Garden...

The Red Loaf

Pluto Jedediah, dandy of the Caledonian Market, tells this tale: May dogs grow horns, I thought, waking on a bed in a seedy hotel, if I recall the creature for the sake of whose foot I found myself once again naked between soiled sheets. For there could be no other explanation. What other prey did I pursue through rain and darkness down dockside alleys, along sidewalks sown with rice, thick with wilted sediment from teapots, but one glimpsed beneath a raincoat’s glistening hem? A...

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