Posts From Author: gustave flaubert

Roberto Bolaño’s Expanding Universe

The first English translation of one of Roberto Bolaño’s novels was published in 2003, the same year he died, at the age of fifty, of liver failure. Susan Sontag was his anglophone herald, referring to him, in her notes on By Night in Chile, as “the most influential and admired novelist of his generation in the Spanish-speaking world.” Farrar, Straus and Giroux published The Savage Detectives in a translation by Natasha Wimmer in 2007; it sold 22,000 copies in its first year. 2666, a colossal work unfinished at Bolaño’s death, followed in 2008. As Chris Andrews reports in his new book, “Within days of publication, Farrar, Straus rushed out a second printing, bringing the total to more than 75,000 copies.” These are exceptional figures in the realm of translated fiction, not least as only two or three percent of books published in the US each year began life in other languages. Why Bolaño? Roberto Bolaño’s Fiction: An Expanding Universe (Columbia University Press, 2014) is the work of a person who can perhaps answer that question with greater authority than most. Andrews has translated six novels and four short-story collections by Bolaño, and his close readings of the work are the bedrock of this […]
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Anton Sword’s Valentine’s Tracks

Anton Sword is a romantic of the old school. His Twitter profile describes him as a songwriter and flaneur from “Brooklyn and sometimes Berlin”. His first album, A Sentimental Education (2007), shares its title with a nineteenth-century French novel. His song titles include “On the Precipice”, “Behind the Scarlet Curtain”, and “City of Oblivion”. All this lavish, sublime, Baudelairean-Flaubertian romantic ambience is surely enough to put even the sourest of sour pusses in the mood for Valentine’s Day. We’re delighted that Anton has agreed to mark the occasion with a selection of his favourite romantic tracks. But first, if you’re new to Anton’s music, a few words of introduction. The influence of French modernism already noted is overlaid with a distinctly postmodern approach to instrumentation and structure. He will happily mix an electronic pulse with more traditional instrumentation; his chord progressions defy generic expectations; his voice, at once sensitive and passionate, tender and hard, gives his lyrics an ironic edge. As, say, Morrissey’s hound-dog vocals and melancholy lyrics form unholy alliances, so Anton’s wry observations find themselves couched in lush orchestration. Take the opening of “Here in the Hurricane”, for instance: Like Morrissey — or Kristian Hoffman, another artist with whom Anton bears comparison […]
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