Monthly Archives: January 2013

Chinese Finnegans Wake.

Apparently, someone has actually produced a Chinese version of Finnegans Wake. [via The Telegraph]

A new Chinese translation of Finnegans Wake, a book renowned for its linguistic complexity, has sold out its initial print run of 8,000 copies just three weeks. It is the first mainland Chinese edition of James Joyce’s 1939 novel, which took the Dublin-born author of Ulysses 17 years to write.

It took translator Dai Congrong, of Shanghai’s Fudan University, eight years to turn Joyce’s complex stream of consciousness style into Chinese, and publisher Wang Weisong, of the Shanghai People’s Publishing House, described the success of the book as being “totally unexpected”.

I can’t imagine how it would read. Someone find me a copy!



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Recovery day.

I’m feeling much better today and should be coming out of my bout of illness. So I was rather excited this morning as I checked my news feeds, but it was all really boring or sad: the same old debates and arguments in literature; nothing too exciting in music; some not-too-great pieces of criticism; depressing news about the reduction of arts funding in this place or that; and so on. So let’s put a song up here instead. Have a good day, everyone. [via YouTube]

(Phoenix’s new album is coming soon…ish!)


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Interview with Natasha Wimmer.

Natasha Wimmer talks about her current translation work, teaching, and Roberto Bolaño. [via Sampsonia Way]


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Sick leave.

I’m too ill today to read anything, so I’ll leave you with some music. [via YouTube]

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Rojak: Kung fu fighting.

Rojak is a regular collection of assorted links as well as a bulletin summarising the week (or thereabouts) on this blog.


Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster is opening this week here. Have a gander at the trailer. [via YouTube]

Peter Mendelsund tackles Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch. [via Jacket Mechanical]

Speaking of Peter Mendelsund, review of an edition of Kafka’s Amerika. [via Three Percent]

On Carlos Fuentes’s final novel, Adam in Eden. [via The New Inquiry]

Book of the future. [via The New Yorker]

Ultraísta have a new video. [via YouTube]

The Flaming Lips announce a new album, The Terror. [via Pitchfork]

Meanwhile, Sigur Rós preview new music, while losing a band member. [via Pitchfork]

Interview with Lars Iyer. [via Full Stop]


It was a bit of a lightweight week on the blog, but that’s partly because we turned two (!) and were too busy celebrating. Nevertheless:


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Omnivore: First book of the year.

Omnivore is a regular report on some of the things that I’ve been enjoying during the week (or thereabouts).

I finished up with Benjamin Stein’s The Canvas, and really enjoyed it. It’s the first book I’ve finished this year, and I’m basically proceeding at a much slower rate than usual. It has partly to do with my new schedule, which makes it difficult for me to read in the usual pockets of time. I’ll work something out. For now I’m just excited to be able to pick another book to dive into.


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Man Booker International Prize 2013 finalists.

Here are the finalists for the Man Booker International Prize 2013 [via Three Percent]:

  • U R Ananthamurthy (India)
  • Aharon Appelfeld (Israel)
  • Lydia Davis (USA)
  • Intizar Husain (Pakistan)
  • Yan Lianke (China)
  • Marie NDiaye (France)
  • Josip Novakovich (Canada)
  • Marilynne Robinson (USA)
  • Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
  • Peter Stamm (Switzerland)

Chad Post also points out that the press release is all rather condescending.



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“A Calm Place to Think: On Reading the Classics”.

In conversation, I’m fond of telling people that the difference between a work of art and a mere product is that art ultimately aspires to contemplation, while a product aspires only to consumption. I suppose my anxiety about turning the classics into a checklist stems from my realization that “art” exists only through collaboration between the artist/creator/writer and an audience; that it’s not the work that should aspire to contemplation, but myself. And that, as a reader, that means I need to be willing to work hard. To approach the performance of reading with every bit as much seriousness and effort as I expect the writer to approach the performance of writing. Art can’t exist without an audience to take it seriously.

The wonder of a book like Dead Souls comes from its silence, the way it offers us a calm place to think. But that place is only as valuable as the reader makes it. A calm place to think is only worthwhile if the reader seizes the opportunity to do some thinking. Perhaps it’s not really guilt I fell about the classics but trepidation — because at the end of the day the classics need to earned. So now, it’s up to me to put in the effort to earn them.

In this lengthy article, Guy Patrick Cunningham discusses weighty Russian classics (Dead Souls in particular), Reality Hunger, and strangeness. [via The Millions]


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We are two!


Indeed, our humble little corner of the internet is two. While it’s not the most impressive site, I hope it’s been worth your while (and will continue to be, too).

I did start out with more of a hope that I would settle in and write actual articles, or to have other people do so, but… baby steps.

Looking ahead, I hope to have more regular and/or idiosyncratic features, as well as to adjust the scope of the site somewhat. I think those are reasonable short-term goals.

In the meantime, have a toast today on behalf of Who Killed Lemmy Caution?, and see you tomorrow.


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Edition Additions: Holy dugong, this thing is huge!

chris ware, building stories

2012, Chris Ware, Building Stories

This came in the mail today. It’s bigger than I thought it would be. It is also very lovely.

I was told that the postman was very unhappy as he delivered this. Perhaps it was the weight. Perhaps he is a chronically unhappy person. Perhaps we offend him with our mail. I will probably never find out.



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