2017

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APRIL 2017

‘Materiality In And After Death: Bella mia by Donatella di Pietrantonio, translated by Franca Scurti Simpson’ (Calisi Press, 2016). Liliya Aleksandrova offers us the rare delight of reviewing both the Italian original and its English translation, to show the minuscule changes a text undergoes and the nuances it adapts in translation.

March 2017

‘A Troubling Transformation: A Igoni Barrett’s Blackass. Timothy Ogene compares Igoni Barrett’s novel set in Nigeria, in which protagonist undergoes a transformation from black to white man (with the exception of his arse) to Kafka’s Metamorphosis, but also to contemporary novels about race, such as George Schuyler’s Black No More.

‘Stephanie Green’s Flout and the Process of Presence’. Helen Murray reviews poems that celebrate and challenge forces of nature and the revelations made in forging a living relationship with the land.

‘To Try Or Not To Try: Lunatics, Lovers and Poets: Twelve Stories After Cervantes and Shakespeare, edited by Daniel Hahn and Margarita Valencia (And Other Stories, 2016). Edmund Chapman shows how this collection of stories by English- and Spanish-language writers (translated into English) celebrating the anniversary year of both Cervantes and Shakespeare’s death in 1616 brings translation “to the forefront, as not only the texts, but also the concepts of the author-figures themselves are reread in different contexts and languages.”

February 2017

‘The Two Anachronisms: An Ecocritical Response to A Review, by Steve Mentz. In this piece of our Ecocriticism Now thread, Steve Mentz responds to Peter Adkins’ review of Mentz’s work, ‘Anthropocene Flotsam: Steve Mentz’s Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Gloablization, 1550–1719, and defines the two anachronisms, a concept developed out of his previous work.

Crude Words: Creating an Anthology of Contemporary Venezuelan Writing. Katie Brown, one of the editors of Crude Words (co-edited by Montague Kobbé, Katie Brown and Tim Girven, Ragpicker Press, 2016) writes about the process of selecting and editing a “representative” selection of literature from a country rarely translated into English. With an introduction by editor Rebecca DeWald.

‘Queen of Her Own Universe: Tracey Herd’s Not in this World’. Jacqueline Thompson reviews Herd’s continuing ‘obsessions’ “plotting a dark psychological landscape populated by doomed movie stars, broken girls and powerful racehorses, filled with images of blood, snow and wreckages”.

‘Sexy, Existential, Cool: April Ayers Lawson’s Virgin and Other Stories (Granta Books, 2017).’ Laura Waddell reviews Lawson’s debut short story collection which “flexes a visceral grace”, ‘like a sinewy muscle”.

‘From the “Fictive Nation” to the “City In Short Fiction”: Reading The Book of Tokyo After Barthes. Calum Rodger draws parallels between the short story collection in Comma Press’ city series (The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction, edited by Michael Emmerich, Jim Hinks, and Masashi Matsuie, 2015), and French philosopher and critic Roland Barthes’ 1970s meditation L’Empire des signes.

January 2017

‘Juan Pablo Villalobos’ Tragic Surrealism: I’ll Sell You A Dog, translated by Rosalind Harvey. Ailsa Peate reads Villalobos in the context of the recent Trump election and events in Mexico, marking his happy, light-hearted approach to tragedies, his “tragic surrealism”, and focusing on Harvey’s translations as Villalobos’ voice in English.

‘Fragmented Identities: Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero Of Our Time, translated by Elizabeth Cheresh Allen.’ Alex Fleming reviews a new translation of a forgotten Russian classic with a modern heart, published by Northwestern University Press, 1840/2016.

‘Brecht and Mam: Anakana Schofield’s Martin John.’ Xenobe Purvis reviews this controversial novel (And Other Stories, 2016) about the molesting protagonist of the novel’s title and considers the theme as a trope with a long-standing tradition in literature.

‘Behind The Pastoral: Cynan Jones’ Cove.’ Peter Adkins reads Jones’ latest novel/la in light of ecocritical debates, as part of our Ecocriticism Now thread.