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Week in Review: September 28, 2018

by Shannon Sullivan

Festival Albertine Announced

It’s that time of year again… with fall officially upon us, we’ve announced the theme and lineup of the fifth annual Albertine Festival, which will take place from October 30 to November 3! Curated by journalist, author, and activist Masha Gessen, this year’s festival is centered on the theme of “Reimagining Democracy.” We’ll be featuring panels on “A Post-Work World,” “Rethinking Gender,” and “The Mechanics of Democracy,” just to name a few, with speakers like Joseph Stiglitz, Gauz, Laure Murat, Phia Menard, Guillaume le Blanc, Siri Hustvedt and Sasha Velour. We hope to see you there!

Authors on Tour

Autumn also means that our authors on tour fall series has launched! Pull out your calendar and check out which authors are coming to a bookstore near you. Not near a touring city? No worries! We’ve also included more information about each of their most recent books in translation, so you can experience all of the literary magic without even having to leave your couch. What’s more, Gaël Faye, who will be touring in October, just announced  that his debut novel Petit Pays (in English, Small Country, tr. by Sarah Ardizzone) will be adapted into both a film and a graphic novel, so you have even more ways to explore his story!

Négar Djavadi Longlisted for National Book Award in Translated Literature

Speaking of touring authors, Négar Djavadi, who was in the US this spring, was longlisted for the inaugural National Book Award in translated literature for her debut novel. Translated from the French by Tina Kover and published by Europa Editions, Disoriental follows immigrant Kimiâ fifteen years after she comes to France from Iran, by way of Istanbul, as she revisits her past and the stories of her family-- fierce opponents of the Shah and Islamic Republic regimes, which led to their departure from Tehran-- at a Parisian fertility clinic, confronting the divide between her family’s traditions and her own “disorientalization.” Congratulations!

Marking the Passing of Paul Virilio

Urbanist philosopher Paul Virilio passed away on September 10, at the age of 86. Though best known for his writings about technology as it has developed in relation to speed and power, one of his first publications was a study on the European military space during the Second World War. He developed several theories, including the “war model” of the modern city; the logic of speed that serves as the foundation of technological society, known as dromology; and the “integral accident,” which follows the idea that technology cannot exist without the potential for accidents. Over thirty of his books have been translated into English, notably War and Cinema (Verso Books, translated by Patrick Camiller) and Bunker Archaeology (Princeton Architectural Press).

Où atterrir ?

The Los Angeles Review of Books’ James Delbourgo dove into Bruno Latour’s Où Atterrir ?, which is due to appear in American bookshops next month under the title Down to Earth, translated by Cathy Porter. Centered on politics, climate, and migration Où Atterrir ? links crises of migration, inequality, and environment by a politics of denial: the desire to pull back from the global to the local fosters a political disconnect that leads to a lack of ever-more-necessary cooperation regarding these crises. Latour urges us to understand why populism’s popularity has resurged on the far right-- excluding populists from the polity, he says, is a fatal mistake-- as only a politics of “the Terrestrial,” in other words one that transcends walls and borders, can make a difference in the ongoing climate crisis.

A Literary Lineup

The Times reviewed recent publications in international literature, highlighting Yasmina Reza’s Babylon (Seven Stories Press, translated by Linda Asher) and Amélie Nothomb’s Strike Your Heart (Europa Editions, translated by Alison Anderson). Reza’s theatre experience comes through in Babylon, with its emphasis on dialogue and its action largely confined to one apartment block, resulting in a “strange and memorable” book. Nothomb’s Strike Your Heart examines (flawed) female relationships throughout the life of protagonist Diane and acts as a “parable of the damaged female condition.” In other recent reviews and releases, Éric Vuillard’s Prix Goncourt-winning The Order of the Day came out this week from the Other Press (translated by Mark Polizzotti) and was reviewed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. See Vuillard on tour in the US from October 25-November 8.

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