sábado, 14 de mayo de 2011

Your Face Tomorrow Group Read

(New Directions: English translation by Margaret Jull Costa)

In a departure from the usual truculent book you've never heard about/book you probably wouldn't want to read/book you've never heard about but probably wouldn't want to read anyway review format around here (the "you" in question not being regular Caravana readers, of course, but those homogeneity-loving bloggers more inclined to favor a weekly meme/review of a book I'd never want to read/weekly meme posting format on their own blogs), I thought I'd take a moment to mention the three-month long Javier Marías Your Face Tomorrow [Tu rostro mañana] group read some intrepid friends and I will be undertaking in June through August this summer.  Marías' novel, the subject of a previous readalong at Conversational Reading last year which drew raves for the book (host Scott Esposito: "It's a testament to Marías' abilities as a storyteller that after 1,000 pages of this book Volume 3 has me more hooked than ever"), is probably one of the most important works in Spanish language literature of the last 10 years judging by its reception by the critics.  At the same time, its reception has been such that even people who have embraced its ambition and prose have questioned its overall success as a genre-bending work of art (Stacey d'Erasmo, writing in the NY Times, called it a "magnificent, sui generis three-part novel" but a project that was "both fundamentally troubling and fundamentally troubled").  Care to put these mixed reviews to the test yourself? If so, please join us for one or more of the following dates below (to encourage the participation of fellow procrastinators, I've arranged the discussion schedule for each volume of the novel to fall on or near the last day of each month).
  • Your Face Tomorrow, Vol. 1: Fever and Spear (Thursday, June 30th)
  • Your Face Tomorrow, Vol. 2: Dance and Dream (Sunday, July 31st)
  • Your Face Tomorrow, Vol. 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell (Wednesday, August 31st)

(Debolsillo: Spanish original by Javier Marías)

Probable participants for one or all volumes

It's been an absolutely awesome week for Spanish language literature in these parts.  First, Amateur Reader over at Wuthering Expectations has been running a superb week-long series on "The Spanish Issue" of The Hudson Review, which features essays by Bolaño, Borges, and Antonio Muñoz Molina among others in addition to poetry and other stuff.  The Bolaño essay, "The Vagaries of the Literature of Doom" on the subject of Argentinean literature, is prob. the best critical piece I've read all year and typically Bolañoesque in its mixture of entertainment, insight and savage delivery.  Secondly, I've just started Enrique Vila-Matas' El mal de Montano [Montano's Malady], which I've been looking forward to ever since I read his amusing Bartleby y compañia [Bartleby & Co.] a few years back.  Finally, in addition to ordering the first volume of Javier Marías' Tu rostro mañana pictured above for the upcoming group read, I picked up several Spanish language titles that I'd been craving for a while in a Thursday night jackpot at Schoenhof's: César Aira's Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero [An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter], Roberto Bolaño's nonfiction Entre paréntesis [Between Parentheses, forthcoming in English translation in June, and the source of "The Vagaries of the Literature of Doom" excerpted by The Hudson Review] and unfinished novel Los sinsabores del verdadero policía [a January 2011 release with no translation date set yet, this features a grab bag of writing about various characters from 2666 and other Bolaño titles], and Javier Cercas' Anatomía de un instante [The Anatomy of a Moment: Thirty-Five Minutes in History & Imagination].  Not sure when I'll get around to all this booty, but it has already caused a shake-up in my reading plans for the rest of the month.  Exciting times, for me at least!

18 comentarios:

  1. You neglected to mention that Stacy D'Erasmo also said "Every chamber of its heart is dark and uneasy," and "“Your Face Tomorrow” is a difficult novel to describe, occupying as it does a liminal zone between genres, discourses and styles — the closest cousins might be Roberto Bolaño...." and then how about this from a blog review: "so many characters in this book have multiple names..." or this: "sentences run on for several pages, and actions are cut out of time, their meanings opened to conjecture." Such things scare me. However, I love reading your posts of such books - it's much easier, and I can go on reading "weekly meme/review of a book I'd never want to read/weekly meme" - NOT, however, because I am "homogeneity-loving" but because I am lazier than all get out. So I'm happy you will be posting on this important and difficult tripartite torture, and I look forward to reading your analyses! ....Off to see what's happening in the werewolf world....

  2. I think I can make the June 30 date for volume one. I'm going to say wait and see as far as volumes two and three go. It's an ambitious project, but I'm staying home this summer, hoping to have some time on my hands for just this sort of project.

  3. Ooh, I've been wanting to read this rather badly. Not sure I can commit just yet, but it's a very real possibility. An excellent group too!

  4. Sí, Richard. I'm confirming for vol. 3. I can't wait to find out how it all concludes. And I'm curious what everyone makes of this novel.

    Your spanking new reading list is like a vengeance.

  5. You've made me rethink posting on a meme once in awhile, especially if it makes me a honogeneity-loving blogger. Yikes!

  6. So ready. I am getting ready to post link to here in a Sunday Salon post along with Bellezza's Atwood read this month. Am I currently the only female on board? Well, that is kind of non-bloggy and exciting too.

  7. Totally hear you about the "homogeneity-loving bloggers." Do bestselling blockbusters really need the additional exposure? I do like the occasional meme, though.

    You can count me in for all three volumes of the Javier Marías trilogy. Hopefully it'll be an improvement over the Mahfouz.

  8. Now, nicole and I have plans for an enticing and exciting readalong opportunity, too, details forthcoming at an unspecified date in the near, or possibly far, future. But in the meantime, why not. Why not, I say. "[F]undamentally troubled" - outstanding! That should be worked into a gold seal, and then stamped on the cover of a good portion of my favorite books.

  9. *Jill: I don't know if you'd enjoy Marías as much as I do, but I can assure you that he and your secret hero Bolaño are further apart than "closest cousins" on the proverbial family tree. Stylistically, they are almost nothing alike! Loved that one blog dork's complaint about the "multiple names" in the Marías novel, though--c'mon, are a first, a middle, and a last name all that unusual? P.S. You paid your lifetime dues with the abominable K Lav, so I won't be making any fun of your werewolf-loving ways, not to worry. :D

    *C.B. James: I'd say a wait and see attitude on the rest of the trilogy is perfectly sensible given the length of the novel, but glad to have you on board for volume one and possibly more!

    *Nicole: It'd be great if you could join us and make this excellent group even more excellent! Naturally, Amateur Reader now has me curious about those other readalong plans he's mentioned as well. Cheers!

    *Rise: It'll be awesome to have you join us for part three (esp. given your fondness for other Marías works), and I hope time will permit you to join in on the earlier discussions as well. Love that line "like a vengeance," by the way--and I'm very excited about those recent pick-ups, as you can probably imagine!

    *Bellezza: I wish more people would only indulge in memes "once in a while"--but don't mind me because I'm so extremist in that regard that I would lobby for limiting people to one meme a year if anybody actually cared what I said!

    *Frances: Glad to hear you so enthusiastic about this new adventure, and thanks for the plug over at your blog. And now that E.L. Fay has joined the readalong, you two will have company should you decide to visit the powder room!

    *E.L. Fay: Glad to have you join us for this one, and I'm quite sure I will enjoy the Marías trilogy more than the Mahfouz trilogy (hopefully, others will feel the same)! By the way, your anti-blockbuster mentality more than makes up for your "meme-friendly" ways--just don't read what I wrote to Bellezza, ha ha.

    *Amateur Reader: What a pleasant surprise--will be great to have you join us for this one! Of course, I agree that "fundamentally troubled" is way more promising a description of a "challenging" book than shallow praise. In any event, look forward to hearing about those other readalongish plans that you and Nicole have up your respective sleeves. Do they involve Alfred Jarry or Osvaldo Lamborghini, by any chance?

  10. Whoops, damn. I wasn't supposed to read any reviews of this or tempt myself further - I didn't want to commit to another group read this year. But the damage is done - this book sounds SO interesting. I think I will join you at least for the first volume and then we'll see from there. July and August are my most difficult months to fit reading time into, but this could well be worth piling in. I read one review that mention "Proustian" and now I'm hooked!

  11. *Sarah: Delighted to have you join us for this one (and like I told C.B. James, I think a one-volume trial run makes perfect sense)! Not sure what all the Marías newcomers will make of the writer, but Marías veteran/aficionado Rise (who's joining us for the final volume) has confided to me elsewhere that he felt the trilogy was one of the reading experiences of the year. Keeping my fingers crosed that most people will feel the same!

  12. We've been found out!

    Anyway, this group might just be too good to pass up. Awesome.

  13. *Nicole: So much for lucky guesses, huh? And ditto about the quality of the group, esp. if you end up able to hang out with the gang.

  14. put me down for all three richard will pick them up in time ,all the best stu sorry for delay been off line for few days

  15. *Stu: Glad to hear you're on board for all three--I think it promises to be a wild ride in some ways. Cheers!

  16. So tempting but my summer is currently booked up with Ulysses and an attempt to make progress through Proust. I will be looking forward to your posts on the books though!

  17. Ah, I'd forgotten about this, or I would have slipped "fundamentally troubled" into the Ubu announcement. 'Cuz it's accurate, and then some.

    There's no way I'm going to stick to the discussion date in terms of posting, but otherwise, all systems go. I am clutching the book in my grubby paws right now. And typing with my nose.

  18. *Stefanie: That sounds like a full summer, and the Proust in particular sounds very satisfying to me. Enjoy!

    *Amateur Reader: I'm sure there will be plenty of other oppportunities for you to wax rhapsodic over the "fundamentally troubled" nature of Jarry/Ubu! And no worries about any discussion dates on my end.