1. Giveaway: The Bridge of Beyond, by Simone Schwarz-Bart

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    Against sorrow and the vanity of things, there is and will always be human fantasy.

    —Simone Schwarz-Bart, The Bridge of Beyond

    NYRB is giving away three copies of Simone Schwarz-Bart’s novel The Bridge of Beyond via Goodreads Giveways.* Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, July 23rd. So if you’ve been meaning to read Schwarz-Bart’s book, “part fable, part tragedy, always beautifully written” (Roxane Gay), now is the time.

    Submit your entry at Goodreads right here.

    *Entries for US residents only

  2. "Books as they should be, displayed in a store." As displayed at librairiedrawnandquarterly.

    "Books as they should be, displayed in a store." As displayed at librairiedrawnandquarterly.

  3. 
Of course, we always drank coffee, no matter what the weather.
—Nescio, “Insula Dei,” in Amsterdam Stories, translated by Damion Searls

Bonus points for tortoiseshell half-Siamese cat’s paws and a coffee cup from Haymarket Café in Northampton, MA.
Do you have a picture of an NYRB Classic with a cup of coffee or tea? Send it to this address and we’ll post it here (making you an honorary member of the Classics and Coffee Club). And let us know where you bought or borrowed your book from. We would love to shout out bookstores and libraries.

    Of course, we always drank coffee, no matter what the weather.

    —Nescio, “Insula Dei,” in Amsterdam Stories, translated by Damion Searls

    Bonus points for tortoiseshell half-Siamese cat’s paws and a coffee cup from Haymarket Café in Northampton, MA.

    Do you have a picture of an NYRB Classic with a cup of coffee or tea? Send it to this address and we’ll post it here (making you an honorary member of the Classics and Coffee Club). And let us know where you bought or borrowed your book from. We would love to shout out bookstores and libraries.

  4. Agostino by Alberto Moravia

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    He slowly approached her, filled with repulsion and awkwardness. The mother pulled him close, wrapping an arm around his body. In her eyes Agostino could see an extraordinary brightness, a sparkling youthful fire. Her mouth seemed to be restraining a nervous laughter that coated her teeth with saliva. And in the act of wrapping her arm around him and pulling him to her side, he felt an impetuous violence and a trembling joyousness that almost frightened him. They were effusions, he could not help but think, that had nothing to do with him. Strangely they made him think of his own excitement a little earlier when he was running through the streets of the city, thrilled at the idea of taking his savings, going to the house with Tortima, and possessing a woman.

    —Alberto Moravia, Agostino

    Agostino goes on sale today.

  5. Augustus + Bob, Son of Battle on The Millions’ 2014 Most Anticipated List

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    The Millions released part two of their Most Anticipated 2014 Book Preview list and a couple of forthcoming NYRB books made the cut: Stoner author John William’s final novel, Augustus (NYRB Classics), and Lydia Davis’s adaptation of Alfred Ollivant’s Bob, Son of Battle (NYR Children’s Collection). Highlight: this list includes the only juxtaposition of John Williams and the Kardashians known to man. Or so we think.

    Both Augustus and Bob, Son of Battle hit shelves in August.

    To view the second part of list in full, visit The Millions here.

  6. Renata Adler’s Speedboat, as reviewed by Kevin Thomas
Eighty-five of Thomas’s comic reviews of non-comic books have been collected in Horn! (published by O/R Books).You can find this one, along with many others, at The Rumpus.

    Renata Adler’s Speedboat, as reviewed by Kevin Thomas

    Eighty-five of Thomas’s comic reviews of non-comic books have been collected in Horn! (published by O/R Books).You can find this one, along with many others, at The Rumpus.

  7. Three NYRB Classics Shortlisted for the PEN Translation Prize

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    This episode did not put an end to my pursuit of city solitudes, though I did promise myself and them one thing: never entrust these stolen essences to a pencil.

    —Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, “Seams” from Autobiography of a Corpse, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov

                                                                 *

    There was only one human soul, the soul that did not lose faith as it suffered anguish and torment among the scree and vineyards of Palestine, the soul that remains equally human and good in a little village near Penza, under the sky of India, and in a northern yurt—because there is good in people everywhere, simply because they are human beings.

    —Vasily Grossman, An Armenian Sketchbook, translated from the Russian by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler

                                                                 *

    I was already reckoning in consulate time, a kind of planetary time in which you equate earthly days with millions of years because worlds can burn in the time it takes a transit visa to expire.

    —Anna Seghers, Transit, translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo

                                                                 *

    Please join us in congratulating the translators of Autobiography of a Corpse, An Armenian Sketchbook, and Transit on advancing to the short list of the 2014 PEN Translation Prize. Winners will be announced later in the summer. To read more about the 2014 PEN Literary Awards click here.

  8. "A Prato, dove tutto viene a finire: la gloria, l’onore, la pietà, la superbia, la vanità del mondo."

    "At Prato, where everything comes finally to rest: glory, honor, pity, pride, the vanity of the world."
    —Curzio Malaparte, Maledetti Toscani (Those Cursed Tuscans)

    Found via Ladoratrice (top) and the Curzio Malaparte Facebook page (bottom)

  9. FALL PREVIEW—PART II
    Here’s the second half of NYRB’s fall list, with books from our Classics, Children’s Collection, Poets, and non-Classics imprints, and our newest series, Calligrams, with writings on and about China.

    Midnight in the Century by Victor Serge, translated from the French and with an introduction by Richard Greeman

    A searching novel about a group of revolutionaries—true believers in a cause that no longer exists—living in unlikely exile among Russian Orthodox Old Believers, also suffering for their faith. “Like Koestler in ‘Darkness at Noon,’ Serge seems to be saying that man, the particular, is more important than mankind, the abstraction.”—John Leonard, The New York Times

    The Door by Magda Szabó, a new translation from the Hungarian by Len Rix

    In a prizewinning translation by Len Rix, Magda Szabó’s unsettling and beautiful novel about friendship and tragedy marks Szabó as a major modern European author and formidable writer of female characters. “Clever, moving, frightening, [The Door] deserves to be a bestseller.” —The Telegraph

    Thus Were Their Faces: Selected Stories by Silvina Ocampo, introduction by Helen Oyeyemi, a new translation from the Spanish by Daniel Balderston, preface by Jorge Luis Borges

    Dark, gothic, fantastic, and grotesque, Ocampo’s stories stand alongside those of her collaborators and countrymen Borges, Cortázar, and Bioy Casares. “Few writers have an eye for the small horrors of everyday life; fewer still see the everyday marvelous. Other than Ocampo, I cannot think of a single writer who … has chronicled both with such wise and elegant humor.” —Alberto Manguel

    Zama by Antonio di Benedetto, translated from the Spanish and with an introduction by Esther Allen

    First published in 1956, this novel set in colonial Paraguay is now universally recognized as one of the masterpieces of modern Argentinean and Spanish-language literature. “Scattered in various corners of Latin America and Spain, [Zama] had a few, fervent readers, almost all of them friends or unwarranted enemies…. [It is written with] the steady pulse of a neurosurgeon.”—Roberto Bolaño, from his story “Sensini”

    Primitive Man As Philosopher by Paul Radin, introduction by Neni Panourgiá

    Considered “a minor masterpiece of the Americanist tradition,” Paul Radin’s landmark anthropological study examines thought and religion in an array of aboriginal cultures through first hand accounts and a veritable anthology of poems and songs from the varied traditions. Readers both in and outside of the field will appreciate the rich and varied insights of this classic of anthropology.

    Ending Up by Kingsley Amis

    “I finished Kingsley Amis’s Ending Up with…a conviction, confirmed in work after work, that he is one of the few living novelists totally incapable of boring me. Ending Up is a sardonic little masterpiece which, with incredible economy and stylistic restraint, shows what old age is really like, and also—far, far better than any other writer I know—what contemporary England is like.” —Anthony Burgess

    Take a Girl Like You by Kingsley Amis

    Kingsley Amis’s most ambitious reckoning with his central theme—the degradation of modern life—Take a Girl Like You introduces one of the rare unqualified good guys in Amis’s rogue-ridden world: Jenny Bunn, a girl from the North English country has come south to teach school in a small smug town where she hopes to find love and fortune.

    Cat Town: Selected Poems by Sakutarō Hagiwara, translated from the Japanese by Hiroaki Sato

    “Sakutarō Hagiwara is the ultimate modern Japanese poet. He first perfected the use of the colloquial language as a medium for modern poetic expression. Using that language, he reveals a sensibility that can be tough, neurotic, ironic, touching, and profound, sometimes all in the same poem. Always rhythmic and occasionally obscure, poem after poem can represent a scintillating verbal and spiritual adventure, particularly in the lucid and elegant translations created by Hiroaki Sato.”—J. Thomas Rimer

    Silvina Ocampo, selected poems in a new translation from the Spanish by Jason Weiss

    Ocampo studied with de Chirico and collaborated with Borges and Bioy Casares. Her poems were celebrated in Argentina but, until now, have been nearly unavailable in English. This selection spans her full career—from early nature sonnets to a late metaphysical turn—and shows her to be adept at “captur[ing] the magic inside everyday rituals” (Italo Calvino).

    Lives of the New York Intellectuals: A Group Portrait by Edward Mendelson

    One of contemporary America’s leading critics and scholars offers a provocative reassessment of the lives and work of eight influential twentieth-century American writers: Lionel Trilling, Dwight Macdonald, W.H. Auden, William Maxwell, Saul Bellow, Alfred Kazin, Norman Mailer, and Frank O’Hara.

    The Three Leaps of Wang Lun: A Chinese Novel by Alfred Döblin, translated from the German by C.D. Godwin

    Alfred Döblin’s debut work of fiction, the first in western literature to depict Chinese history in great detail and considered by many the first modern German novel, is a dazzling expressionist epic about imperial court life, outcasts, martial arts, religion, and revolution. “I consider Döblin’s 1915 novel, The Three Leaps of Wang Lun, the best contemporary novel by far. It exhibits an entirely superior, most rare, talent. It is true art.” —Max Horkheimer

    Chinese Rhyme-Prose translated from the Chinese by Burton Watson

    Burton Watson’s monumental compilation of fu—or, rhyme-prose poetry—is considered one of the most important anthologies of Chinese literature available in English and, until now, has been out of print for decades. The poems, full of abandoned cities, mountainscapes, owls and goddesses, are rendered here in Watson’s masterful English translation for a new generation of readers to enjoy.

    The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons by Liu Hsieh, translated from the Chinese and annotated by Vincent Yu-chung Shih

    The first comprehensive work of literary criticism in Chinese, The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons was written some 1,500 years ago by critic Liu Hsieh whose encyclopedic knowledge of Chinese literature is organized here according to the I Ching. A dazzling, elegant compendium of literary concepts both alien and familiar, Hsieh’s book is indispensable for anyone interested in Chinese literature or in the art of writing itself.

    The Complete Bostock and Harris by Leon Garfield

    The Complete Bostock and Harris combines two delightful, suspenseful, and madly funny tales of Harris and the not-so-bright Bostock, a rollicking best-friend duo who’ve been through thick and thin together in eighteenth-century Brighton. “A delicious literary concoction bubbling along with the author’s perfect sense of dramatic timing and with his mixture of earthy humor and effervescent wit.”—The Horn Book Magazine

  10. Check out these photos of the resort town of Viareggio, sent to us by translator Michael F. Moore. Viareggio is in the Versilia region of Tuscany, and it’s the inspiration for the setting of Moravia’s own “beach read,” Agostino. If you’re up on your Italian, you can see more of Moravia’s 1917 Memories of Viareggio here.

    Agostino comes out July 8th.

  11. “Summers too are for reading, for harvesting shelves to fill long days and sweaty nights, in a hammock, a bed, a backseat, a fuselage, crossing rivers, oceans, continents.”

    — An alternate summer reading list at The Millions: endless as summer, lousy with wanderlust. (via millionsmillions)

  12. 
“Look at Taillefer over there! Sitting in the easy chair by the fire, with Mademoiselle Fanny bringing him a cup of coffee. He’s smiling. Could a murderer—for whom that storytelling ought to have been torture—could he display such calm?”
—Honoré de Balzac, “The Red Inn,” translated by Linda Asher, in The Human Comedy

Photograph sent in by Vivekdreddy
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series.

    “Look at Taillefer over there! Sitting in the easy chair by the fire, with Mademoiselle Fanny bringing him a cup of coffee. He’s smiling. Could a murderer—for whom that storytelling ought to have been torture—could he display such calm?”

    —Honoré de Balzac, “The Red Inn,” translated by Linda Asher, in The Human Comedy

    Photograph sent in by Vivekdreddy

    As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series.

  13. “France offered a rare gift to the contemporary world in the person of Simone Weil. The appearance of such a writer in the twentieth century was against all the rules of probability, yet improbable things do happen.”

    — 

    Czeslaw Milosz, “The Importance of Simone Weil,” collected in On the Abolition of All Political Parties, on sale September 2014

    Notice the echo with Paul La Farge’s comment about Félix Fénéon, posted yesterday.  This blog is getting to be like the White Queen, thinking at least one improbable writer every day.

  14. “One might suspect that Fénéon was a fictional character, if only his biography did not contain so many improbable contradictions.”

    — Paul La Farge on Félix Fénéon and Victor Segalen at The Poetry Foundation

  15. FALL PREVIEW—PART I
    Here’s a quick rundown of what NYRB (including the Classics, Children’s Collection, and non-Classics imprints) has coming out in upcoming months. We’ll post the second half of the season’s list on Friday, so stay tuned!:

    The Burning of the World: A Memoir of 1914, by Béla Zombory-Moldován, a new translation from the Hungarian by Peter Zombory-Moldovan

    Recently discovered among private papers and published here for the first time in any language, this extraordinary reminiscence by a young artist, drafted into the bloody combat of the First World War, is a deeply moving addition to the literature of the terrible conflict that defined the shape of the twentieth century.

    Augustus by John Williams, introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn

    Williams’s biographical treatment of the founder of the Roman Empire won him the National Book Award and reveals him to be as transformative a writer of historical novels as he is of westerns (in Butcher’s Crossing) and the campus drama (in Stoner).

    Totempole by Sanford Friedman, introduction by Peter Cameron

    Friedman’s psychologically acute and empathetic masterpiece traces the coming-of-age—from two to twenty-two—of a boy growing up on the Lower East Side of New York. “Vivid and utterly convincing…The truth of Mr. Friedman’s book is not the truth of autobiography, but the truth-making that the best fiction is.”—James Dickey

    Conversations with Beethoven by Sanford Friedman, introduction by Richard Howard

    Deaf but still able to converse, Beethoven “heard” those around him by means of conversation books in which friends and family jotted down communications. This daring novel, featuring a Dickensian cast, is a fictional reconstruction of these books. In it we see the ageing composer struggling with his art, fighting illness, and perpetually worried about the fate of his wayward ward and nephew, Karl.

    The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill, illustrated by Ronni Solbert

    The 50th Anniversary Edition of a perennial classic that recounts the battle between supporters of New York City’s scrappy pushcarts and the monstrous, smoke-belching trucks that threaten to overtake its streets. “Merrill’s story, full of unexpected reversals and understated witticisms, feels exceptionally modern.”—Adam Mansbach, NPR

    Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb, introduction by Julie Orringer, a new translation from the Hungarian by Len Rix

    “A devastatingly intelligent novel of love, society and metaphysics in a mid-1930s Europe…As a study of erotic caprice, Journey by Moonlight is brilliant, but it is so much more than just a romp…This is a delightfully clever and enchanting novel, always entertaining and full of memorable aphorisms.”—Toby Lichtig, The Times Literary Supplement

    Theater of Cruelty: Art, Film, and the Shadows of War by Ian Buruma

    Many of the filmmakers and artists Ian Buruma covers in his new collection, which focuses on the themes of war, film, and the visual arts, come from Germany and Japan and deal with World War II. What unifies the book is less the question of war itself than the way people deal with violence and cruelty, in the arts and in life.

    Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried Preussler, translated from the German by Anthea Bell

    Krabat, a 12-year-old beggar boy, is summoned in a dream to a mysterious mill, where he finds himself in the company of eleven other boys, all apprenticed to a sinister Master who will teach them the finer points of black magic—whether they want to learn them or not. Preussler’s incantatory story of the power of friendship to challenge evil has been casting a spell on readers of all ages since first published in 1971.

    On the Abolition of All Political Parties by Simone Weil, a new translation from the French and with an introduction by Simon Leys, with an essay by Czeslaw Milosz

    In this famous essay, now widely available for the first time in English translation, Weil challenges the foundation of the modern liberal political order and proposes that politics can only begin where the party spirit comes to an end. The volume also includes a portrait of Weil by the Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz and an essay about Weil’s friendship with Albert Camus by Simon Leys.

    Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney

    Darryl Pinckney’s first book in over ten years covers the participation of blacks in US electoral politics, from Reconstruction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and what it may mean for the political influence of black voters in future elections.

    In the Heart of the Heart of the Country by William H. Gass, introduction by Joanna Scott

    “This collection defines Gass not as a special but as a major voice … Gass engenders brand-new abrupt vulnerabilities. We read about the becalmed Midwest, about farmers mired in their dailiness, and realize too late that we’ve been exposed to a deadly poetry. It says that America is lost … No writer I’ve ever read, not even Joyce, can celebrate his world with a more piercing sadness.”—Frederic Morton, The New York Times

    Tristana by Benito Pérez Galdós, introduction by Jeremy Treglown, a new translation from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa

    Until now Pérez Galdós’s tale of a beautiful and brilliant young woman’s attempt to free herself from an imprisoning relationship to a womanizing older man has been recognized more as the inspiration for a Buñuel film of the same name than as a masterpiece in its own right. Margaret Jull Costa’s new and fluid translation brings the Spanish realist’s story to glorious life.

    Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses by Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka

    A picture album. An alphabet book. An Alphabetabum! Here artist and designer Radunsky (illustrator of Advice to Little Girls by Mark Twain) allows us a special viewing of his own personal collection of portraits of girls and boys from the last century. And Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschka (A Ball for Daisy) contributes a delightful poem imagining the life and personality of each child.

    The Woman Who Borrowed Memories: Selected Stories by Tove Jansson, introduction by Lauren Groff, new translations from the Swedish by Thomas Teal and Silvester Mazzarella

    Tove Jansson’s natural mode was the brief tale—whether in her comic strips and Moomin stories, or in her moving compilation of moments from family life on a remote island, The Summer Book. This first, career-spanning collection of her short stories returns to the settings of Jansson’s familiar work and also delves deeper into themes of travel, artistic creation, and the conundrum of living among humans as flawed as oneself.

    The Land Breakers by John Ehle, introduction by Linda Spalding

    A historical saga that chronicles Appalachian settlement during the Revolutionary War years. “Reads like living history … I could recommend this book simply for Ehle’s vivid portrayal of the purely practical struggle of pioneering life … but it’s also a riveting story, with scenes that will remain alive for me for a long time.”—Lori Benton