1. When in Doubt—Wash

          ‘If you have committed any kind of error and anyone scolds you—wash,’ she was saying. ‘If you slip and fall off something and somebody laughs at you—wash. If you are getting the worst of an argument and want to break off hostilities until you have composed yourself, start washing. Remember, every cat respects another cat at her toilet. That’s our first rule of social deportment, and you must also observe it.
          ‘Whatever the situation, whatever difficulty you may be in, you can’t go wrong if you wash. If you come into a room full of people you do not know and who are confusing to you, sit right down in the midst of them and start washing. They’ll end up by quieting down and watching you. Some noise frightens you into a jump and somebody you know sees you are frightened—begin washing immediately.
          ‘If somebody calls you and you don’t care to come and still you don’t wish to make it a direct insult—wash. If you’ve started off to go somewhere and suddenly can’t remember where it was you wanted to go, sit right down and begin brushing up a little. It will come back to you. Something hurt you? Wash it. Tired of playing with someone who has been kind enough to take time and trouble and you want to break off without hurting his or her feelings—start washing.
          ‘Oh, there are dozens of things! Door closed and you’re burning up because no one will open it for you—have yourself a little wash and forget it. Somebody petting another cat or dog in the same room, and you are annoyed over that—be nonchalant; wash. Feel sad—wash away your blues. Been picked up by somebody you don’t particularly fancy and who didn’t smell good—wash him off immediately and pointedly where he can see you do it. Overcome by emotion—a wash will help you get a grip on yourself again. Any time, anyhow, in any manner, for whatever purpose, wherever you are, whenever and why ever you want to clear the air or get a moment’s respite or think things over—wash!
           ‘And—’ concluded Jennie, drawing a long breadth, ‘of course you also wash to get clean and to keep clean.’
          ‘Goodness!’ said Peter, quite worried, ‘I don’t see how I could possibly remember it all.’
          ‘You don’t have to remember any of it, actually,’ Jennie explained. ‘All that you have to remember is rule 1: ‘When in doubt—wash!’

    —Useful advice for both humans and cats. Given by street-smart stray Jennie to recently-transformed-from-boy-to-cat Peter. The first of many lessons he learns about cats and humans in Paul Gallico’s The Abandoned.

  2. “I was indeed a cat, many generations ago.”

    Paul Gallico was a legendary sports writer and a best-selling author of adventure novels (The Poseidon Adventure among them), but his special subject was the inner lives of the animals we see everyday without paying much mind. We’ve just published his The Abandoned, in which a lonely boy finds himself transformed into a cat and is schooled in the ways that humans wrong animals. The Abandoned, which has also been published under the title Jennie, has consistently been on the list of Bookfinder.com’s most sought-after out-of-print books.

    We found this charming clip (evidently a response to a review of The Abandoned) pasted into a used edition of the book in our office library.

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    Paul Gallico, author of The Abandoned, writes in that we were right about him. “I was indeed a cat,” he says, “many generations ago.”

    Could this be Paul Gallico in an earlier incarnation?

  3. Tove Jansson: The Artist Whose Writing You Need To Know →

    How did we miss this nice endorsement of Tove Jansson from inkt|art, a journal of women in comics? (A journal that lists Nicole Hollander as “grande dame” in its masthead!)

  4. The End of the Avant-Garde →

    Tonight at the NYU Humanities Initiative at 20 Cooper Sq, at 6 pm, a conversation with Richard Sieburth, Michael Kunichika, Eugene Ostashevsky, and Matvei Yankelevich, celebrating the release of Alexander Vvedensky’s  An Invitation for Me to Think.

  5. Friedrich Reck’s  Diary of a Man in Despair hits the Guardian Bookshop best-seller list. Not bad for a book whose ideas were so dangerous to the Nazis that it had to be stowed away in a hayloft and buried in tin box in the ground.
If you want to hear more about this astonishing war-time diary, written by a “conservative rebel,” listen to this podcast of the talk Richard Evans gave recently at Cambridge University.

    Friedrich Reck’s  Diary of a Man in Despair hits the Guardian Bookshop best-seller list. Not bad for a book whose ideas were so dangerous to the Nazis that it had to be stowed away in a hayloft and buried in tin box in the ground.

    If you want to hear more about this astonishing war-time diary, written by a “conservative rebel,” listen to this podcast of the talk Richard Evans gave recently at Cambridge University.

  6. Lionel Trilling, flanked by flowers, is experiencing some spring fever in this Classics and Coffee Club submission from Kata.
Submit pictures of your copies of NYRB Classics (or books from our Children’s Collection) with coffee or even tea and we’ll post them here.

    Lionel Trilling, flanked by flowers, is experiencing some spring fever in this Classics and Coffee Club submission from Kata.

    Submit pictures of your copies of NYRB Classics (or books from our Children’s Collection) with coffee or even tea and we’ll post them here.

  7. ebookfriendly:

Bookcase in a bus in Hamburg. More such ideas, please!

Shout out to Paul Gallico (perched on the middle shelf), whose moving tale of cat metempsychosis, The Abandoned (aka Jennie), goes on sale today!

    ebookfriendly:

    Bookcase in a bus in Hamburg. More such ideas, please!

    Shout out to Paul Gallico (perched on the middle shelf), whose moving tale of cat metempsychosis, The Abandoned (aka Jennie), goes on sale today!

  8. Don Share on Miguel Hernández →

    Today, at Poet’s House, 7 pm, Don Share, senior editor of Poetry magazine, reads from and discusses the work (and his award-winning translation) of Miguel Hernández, framing this great poet’s life and poetry in the context of his time and the poets around him.

  9. myimaginarybrooklyn:

booksactually:
“Katri was silent. When her silence continued, Anna understood that she’d said something important. She repeated it. ‘One for me and one for you. We’ll share. We’ll share Central Europe.’ It sounded adventurous. She said it again. Katri drew a deep breath and said, with a certain chill, that it was out of the question. But if Anna had no objection, they could assign half the royalty from United Rubber to Mats.‘Do so,’ said Anna. ‘That’s fine. And not another word about United Rubber, ever.’Katri opened the black notebook and, in her own sweeping hand, wrote, ‘Mats 1%’.‘Is there anything else of importance ?’‘No, Anna,’ Katri said. ‘We’ve done what matters most.’”— from The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

    myimaginarybrooklyn:

    booksactually:

    “Katri was silent. When her silence continued, Anna understood that she’d said something important. She repeated it. ‘One for me and one for you. We’ll share. We’ll share Central Europe.’ It sounded adventurous. She said it again. Katri drew a deep breath and said, with a certain chill, that it was out of the question. But if Anna had no objection, they could assign half the royalty from United Rubber to Mats.

    ‘Do so,’ said Anna. ‘That’s fine. And not another word about United Rubber, ever.’

    Katri opened the black notebook and, in her own sweeping hand, wrote, ‘Mats 1%’.

    ‘Is there anything else of importance ?’

    ‘No, Anna,’ Katri said. ‘We’ve done what matters most.’”

    — from The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson

  10. Renata Adler & David Shields talk tonight at The Strand.  →

    To get in you either have to buy a copy of Speedboat or Pitch Dark or a $15 Strand gift certificate. We think this is pretty fair.

  11. "Everything is filled with you"

    Everything is filled with you,
    and everything is filled with me:
    the towns are full,
    just as the cemeteries are full
    of you, all the houses
    are full of me, all the bodies.

    I wander down streets losing
    things I gather up again:
    parts of my life
    that have turned up from far away.

    I wing myself toward agony,
    I see myself dragging
    through a doorway,
    through creation’s latent depths.

    Everything is filled with me:
    with something yours and memory
    lost, yet found
    again, at some other time.

    A time left behind
    decidedly black,
    indelibly red,
    golden on your body.

    Pierced by your hair,
    everything is filled with you,
    with something I haven’t found,
    but look for among your bones.

    —The poem “Everything Is Filled with You” by Miguel Hernández, translated by Don Share, and included in our new collection of Hernández’s poetry. Below is a bio of Hernández written by our editor Jeffery Yang which featured in the The New York Review of Books.

    The poet and playwright Miguel Hernández (1910–1942) was born into a peasant family in the province of Alicante in southeast Spain and died from tuberculosis in a prison hospital there at age thirty-one. For much of his life he worked, like his father, as a shepherd. As a soldier and cultural ambassador for the Republican Army during the Spanish civil war, Hernández read his poems and plays on the radio and on the front lines. When the war ended in 1939, he was arrested and sentenced to death (commuted to thirty years in prison).

    In various jails, Hernández wrote many poems that were included in letters to his friends and family, particularly his wife, Josefina Manresa—a seamstress from his hometown Orihuela, with whom he had two sons. “Everything Is Filled with You” was written during this time of imprisonment and was published in 1958 in his final collection of poems, Cancionero y romancero de ausencias (Songs and Ballads of Absence).

  12. Did you read Renata Adler's interview in The Believer? →

    Our favorite part? “I’ve always been somewhat leery of editing and publication. But the editors at New York Review Classics have been great.” A very, very rare compliment from Ms. Adler.

  13. “If we experience wild non-understanding, we will know that no one shall counter it with clarity. Woe to us pondering time. But then, with the expansion of this non-understanding, it will become clear to you and me that there is no woe, no us, no pondering, and no time.”

    — 

    From “The Gray Notebook,” by Alexander Vvedensky (trans. Eugene Ostashevsky)


    Today is publication day for Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me To Think.

  14. Zakir—The Reluctant Fundamentalist


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    READING I’m often reading multiple books at the same time. They are for different moods. It’s kind of like surfing the Web and having multiple windows open at the same time, only in a much slower fashion. I’ve just begun “Basti,” a novel by one of the great Urdu-language fiction writers, Intizar Husain. “Basti” means village, so I suspect it will have to do with a village as a microcosm for India and Pakistan’s partition and the different religions that used to coexist within them.

    —Moshin Hamid, whose recent book How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia just came out and whose earlier book The Reluctant Fundamentalist is being made into a movie, was interviewed for the The New York Times Sunday Review while reading Initzar Husain’s Basti. He hadn’t finished it yet but was on the right track, the book is a (fictionalized) story of the partition of India through the eyes of Zakir as he grows up, first in a village in the Uttar Pradesh region of India, then in a city outside of Delhi, and finally, after partition, in Lahore. A must read.

  15. Richard Griffiths, Olivia Manning’s Husband, and The History Boys

    Flipping through the recently released biography of Olivia Manning (Olivia Manning: A Writer at War), we were surprised to see the name of Richard Griffiths, who died last week, jump out. If you’ve read The Balkan Trilogy (and are anticipating our publication of The Levant Trilogy next year) and are infuriated by the character Guy (based on Manning’s husband Reggie Smith) you might enjoy this:

    It was around this time [1970] that Richard Griffiths … met Reggie, and Griffiths’ memory of their friendship, shared with me in a long conversation backstage at the National Theatre, helped shape his performance as Hector in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys … In an Associated Press interview just before opening in the American production of Bennett’s play in the spring of 2006, Griffiths described Reggie as “very roly-poly”—a big fat guy, very amiable, and “an absolute god of memory of English verse and poetry.”