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Week in Review: October 7, 2019

Illustration by Cati Baur (Four Sisters

Article by Jessica Erin Cohen 

 


New Perspectives On Our World 

University of California Berkeley economists Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez will be releasing their newest book, The Triumph Of Injustice, in English on October 15th and in French this winter. The essay traces the tax payments of various households since 1913, the year that the United States' federal income tax began, and contends that “it is absurd that the working class is now paying higher rates than the richest people in America.” David Leonhardt from the New York Times celebrated Zucman and Saez’s narrative as “maddening -- and yet ultimately energizing.” Be sure to catch them on tour this October to learn more about their research and advice for the future.

 

Social Activism Through Literature

Heart of Maleness, by French sociologist and philosopher Raphael Liogier (Other Press, trans. by Antony Sugaar), will be coming to an Anglophone audience in January 2020. Liogier is the director of the Observatoire du religieux and a professor at the Institut d’études politiques d’Aix-en-Provence. He also teaches at the Collège international de philosophie in Paris. In the past, he has written about religion, globalization, populism, and identity politics in contemporary societies. His newest work, Heart of Maleness, critiques the Western cultural construct of “maleness” and calls for men to reconsider the ways in which they have been “conditioned to view and desire women.” Penguin House praised Liogier’s work as “timely,” given the recent explosion of the #MeToo movement, and an important tool for self-reflection. Additionally, EuropeNow congratulated him for successfully writing about #MeToo as a man and “deconstructing gender norms through a critique of the logic of the fantasy that supports them.”

 

Celebrating 20 Years of NYRB Classics

Last Friday marked the 20th anniversary of NYRB Classics, described by its editor, Edwin Frank as a series with “individuality, originality, and authority.” Founded to make the “books that don’t fit into a given history of literature or thought or feeling—the books that introduce us to things other than what we know best” readily available, NYRB has enjoyed extraordinary success over the years. It has published a large collection of French literature in translation, including Nobel Prize winner In The Café of Lost Youth by Patrick Modiano (2016), the “cool, compact, and shockingly original” Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette (2011), the Caribbean literature masterpiece The Bridge of Beyond (2013) by Simone Schwarz-Bart, the first twelve books of François-René de Chateaubriand’s brilliantly translated autobiography Memoirs From Beyond the Grave (2018), and Afloat by Guy Maupassant (2008),  a Finalist of The French-American Foundation and The Florence Gould Foundation’s Best English Translation of French Prose in Fiction.

 

America Loves Franco-Belgian Comics

Translated European comics are currently gaining popularity in the U.S. market, thanks to their high quality and diversity. Whether they are being read online, bought in print, or discussed at events hosted by various venues, European graphic literature has become a “key cultural export.” At this year's New York City Comic Con, Ingrid Chabbert and Carole Maurel's Waves won the Harvey prize for the Best European Book. Some other must reads include the classic Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon, 2006), which was a Time Magazine “Best Comix of the Year” and Four Sisters by Malika Ferdjoukh and Cati Baur (IDW, 2018), which was nominated for the Children’s Graphic Novel award at the Angoulême Festival. This spring, Blutch, referred to as “one of the most inventive storytellers in comics,” will release his highly acclaimed Mitchum (NYRB) in English.

 

Who’s Winning?

Scholastique Mukasonga’s The Barefoot Women (Archipelago, 2018, trans. by Jordan Stump) was nominated as a finalist for the 2019 National Book Awards. The novel is a moving and memorable tribute to the author’s mother, a Tutsi woman who did everything she could to protect her children from the Rwandan Genocide. Applauding her work, Zadie Smith stated that in “sentences of great beauty and restraint, Mukasonga rescues a million souls from the collective noun 'genocide,' returning them to us as individual human beings, who lived, laughed, meddled in each other's affairs, worked, decorated their houses, raised children, told stories.” Similarly, The New York Times described her writing as “radiant with love.”

Additionally, The Prix Femina, a literary prize created in 1904 that is decided each year by an exclusively female jury, released its second selection this Tuesday. It included Les Grands Cerfs by Camille Laurens (Grasset) and Un dimanche à Ville-d’Avray by Dominique Barbéris (Arlea). The shortlist for the Prix Renaudot was also released this week. One of the lucky finalists, Le Bal des folles (Albin Michel), written by first time novelist Victoria Mas, has already won the Prix Première Plume and the Prix Stanislas.

 

Let's Talk Climate

Festival Albertine 2019, curated by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, will take on climate change. For three days, leading thinkers, politicians, activists, artists, and authors will come together to discuss the urgency to act, environmental justice, local policy, the food we eat and produce, and how to motivate people to change their ways. Speakers will include Malcom Ferdinand, the author of Une écologie décoloniale; Lauren Groff, the author of the best-selling non-fiction book Florida; Romain Felli, a socio-environmental researcher and the author of La Grande Adaptation: Climat, capitalisme et catastrophe, which will be released in English next year; and Mark Jacobson, co-founder of The Solutions Project and a professor at Stanford University.

 

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