Old Eccentrics. Pathetic Hippies: Subversion and Ecology in Olga Tokarczuk’s Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018). Marta Dziurosz highlights all the facets of “prophetess” Tokarczuk’s latest book to appear in English, a text about the animality of man and the humanity of humans.
Aesthetics of the Crepuscular: Esther Kinsky’s River, translated by Iain Galbraith (Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2018). We celebrate the start of #TranslationWeek with Daniel Davis Wood’s review of a meandering novel about the River Lea, which demands to be read in small doses.
Leaning Towards Ecosexual: Greta Gaard’s Critical Ecofeminism (Lexington, 2017). Catilin Stobie considers the relationship between feminism and ecocritical theory in Gaard’s text on critical ecofeminism, a term she coined and which aims to seek justice “through the practice of attentive listening”. Stobie charts the history of the term, and shows the way in which Gaard melds various key scholars in her work.
Anthologising the Anthropocene: Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet and Veer Ecology (both University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Shona McCombes ponders if anthologies ever bring us closer to the meaning of the “Anthropocene”, or whether they attempt, in different, roundabout, twisting, turning, veering ways to make sense of it in their own way.
No Honourable Goddamn Stereotypes Here: An Ounce of Practice (Hope Road Publishing, 2017) by Leo Zeilig. Reviewer Lynnda Wardle is impressed with Zeilig’s novel, as it manages to eschew many clichés of novels set in Africa. It is also a novel of two halves, set in Zimbabwe and in London, both told with different pace and tone. A “a novel that feels both urgent and relevant to our global world”.
Charco Press: Making Waves with Writers from Across the Pond by Isabel Adey, who gives an overview over some of the publication by new Edinburgh-based publishing house Charco Press, who specialise in Latin American literature in translation
The Poetics of Sand: Psammomancy by Brian Lavelle and Mark Valentine. As part of our Ecocriticism Now thread, Maria Sledmere reviews the project Psammomancy: referring to “the art of parsing or scrying with sand”, the collaborative project includes a 16-page booklet and CD, published by Seacliffe Press and featuring the poetry of Mark Valentine, alongside the intricate soundscapes of Brian Lavelle and Jo Valentine’s black-and-white photography.
I Was Here: Souvenir by Rolf Potts by Laura Waddell. Souvenir is part of the Object Lessons series which aims to explore the hidden lives of everyday objects, and which includes Burger, Rust and Luggage among its recent tranche. It takes a broad view of souvenir collecting through history and describes early collecting from sites of pilgrimage, where objects taken from holy sites may then themselves be considered blessed or be used as the basis for new shrines.
Faith in Greater Things: Ana Blandiana’s The Sun of Hereafter/The Ebb of the Senses, Trans. Paul Sott Derrick and Viorica Patea (Bloodaxe Books, 2017). Matt MacDonald reviews these two collections by Romanian poet Blandiana, originally published in 2000 & 2004, which have just appeared for the first time in English in one tome. Here, the poet grapples with faith and the loss thereof in many different forms and aspects.
The Defiant Spirit of a Generation: Hamid Ismailov’s The Devil’s Dance, translated by Donald Rayfield (Tilted Axis Press, 2018). Robin Munby celebrations the arrival of Uzbek writer Ismailov’s first novel in English translation, and one of the first books of Uzbek literature in English translation generally. His starting point is the neglect of Central Asian literature in the Western literary canon, which is slowly changing with the advent of travel accounts about the Silk Road, cookery books, and – finally – literature.
Not a White Heat: J.M Coetzee’s Late Essays: 2006–2017 (Harville Secker, 2017). With the publication of the third collection in a series of literary criticism, Daniel Davis Wood takes stock of Coetzee’s three essay collections, Inner Workings: Literary Essays, 2000—2005 (2008), Stranger Shores: Essays, 1986—1999 (2002) and Late Essays, 2006—2017 to discover the South African writer’s literary preferences, but also his tendency to disaffected, dis passionate criticism, yet his essays “converse together in whispers, to collectively mutter things that none of them explicitly articulate.”
Rules and Irrealis: The Art of Naming by Michael Ohl, trans. Elisabeth Lauffer (MIT Press, 2018). Victoria Wang explores the relationship between naming and ontological realism in the sciences.
A Contemporary Perspective: Conradology, edited by Becky Harrison & Magda Raczyńska (Comma Press, 2017). A.M. Bakalar reviews this new anthology, which celebrates Joseph Conrad’s 160th birthday anniversary through fiction and non-fiction responses to his writing by contemporary authors.
A Bilingual Notice: Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Léger, translated by Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon. Delaina Haslam reviews Les Fugitives’ first publication (2015), a collaborative translation of a text that blends memoir with notes, fragments and scraps, while giving testament to its multilingual heritage.
Whose Anthropocene?: Anthropocene Feminism, edited by Richard Grusin. Reviewed by Kate Lewis Hood. Keenly aware that the Anthropocene debate – and our thread so far – has been skewed towards the male, Kate Lewis Hood focuses on the feminist perspective of the ecocritical debate. This review is part of our Ecocriticism Now thread.