1. The wonderful Athenaeum bookstores in Amsterdam and Haarlem (and online, too) are offering special discounts on NYRB Classics. And they’ve dressed up their window in our honor. Dank je wel, Athenaeum!

  2. "Kafka on the shores of occupied France"

    Though it was originally published in the ‘50s (and this month, newly translated by New York Review Books Classics), the absurdity of Transit makes it feel timeless — like it exists outside of any real time or place. But that’s the haunting part: Transit is a very real story, based on Seghers’s own experience as a German Jew trying to flee France. The result is a darker Catch-22. There’s a sense of dread and hopelessness that pervades the novel. Marseilles becomes a state of existential limbo. The narrator is uncertain what to do while he waits. Should he keep chasing women? Have another drink? Does he even want to leave, if the destination might just mean more waiting?

    —A review of Anna Seghers’s Transit in Grantland (a blog that means more to some than others) by Kevin Nguyen. Transit is also a literary thriller in the vein of Robbe-Grillet, and this new translation (we hope) brings it to the attention of all fans of twentieth century European literature.

  3. In a word, man must create his own essence: it is in throwing himself into the world, suffering there, struggling there, that he gradually defines say what this man is before he dies, or what mankind is before it has disappeared.

    image

     

    Existentialism: A Clarification,  from We Have Only This Life to Live.

  4. Kingsley Amis Goes to Church

    "What’s it like in your country?  We hear so many strange things of it which can’t be true.  Not all of them."

    "It’s beautiful, Hubert, which nobody believes who hasn’t seen it.  And various, because it’s so extensive.  Seven hundred miles from north to south, four hundred miles across in places, three times France.  In the north-east in winter, everything freezes solid for three months; in the south, there are palm trees and lions and swamps and alligators…"

    Sound familiar?  The place described is New England, but not the one you know.  Ready for a world where the Reformation never happened, electricity is considered “appallingly dangerous” in 1976, and a young choir boy is facing a hair-raising surgery?  Kingsley Amis’ alternate history The Alteration is out now, a vivid take on a repressive religious society that Phillip K. Dick called “ One of the best- possibly the best- alternate-worlds novels in existence.” 

  5. Green Men

    image

    Kingsley Amis's very funny and very scary ghost story, The Green Man, has just been released.  The cover features an excellent depiction of the Green Man by Eric Hanson, following in the footsteps of many wild cover variations, including the above, and this one too.

    Striking a different tone altogether is the soft-core 1970s Panther edition. Thanks to Ryan Britt’s Tor.com review (“like Fawlty Towers Plus Sex and Ghosts”) of the book for bringing this one to our attention.

  6. The Eternal Pizza and Rosé

    We entered the pizzeria. I took a seat facing the open fire…. They brought the usual rosé. The first two glasses of rosé always go down like water. I like watching the open fire, you know, and the way the man hits the dough with his bent wrist. Yes, things like that are the only things in the world I really like. That is to say, I like things that have been and will always be there. You see, there’s always been an open fire here, and for centuries they’ve beaten the dough like that. And if you were to reproach me because I’m forever changing and going to different places, then I’d reply, that it’s only because I’m doing a thorough search for something that is going to last forever.

    Anna Seghers wrote Transit while in exile in Mexico, having been one of those lucky enough to acquire the paperwork necessary to escape Nazi Germany. The narrator of Transit, though, is perhaps the only transient in the port city of Marseille who doesn’t want to leave Europe, who just wants experience what lasts. Nothing else matters to him—that is, until he meets a woman desperate to flee.

    Transit by Anna Seghers, newly translated by Margot Bettauer Dembo, goes on sale today.

  7. In keeping with our boozy Kingsley Amis theme (and in celebration of Friday), today’s Classics and Coffee Club eschews the soft stuff and goes hard. Would Kingsley Amis approve of the Red Hook ESB pictured here? The Red Hook website describes it as: “Brewed in the style of a traditional British ESB (Extra Special Bitter).” So let’s say yes. And, if you squint, the Seattle background of the photo might just be the Cambridge UK suburb of The Green Man.
Pictured: Reader Melanie and the “Miracles Denied: Comets, Oracles, and Sorcerers” chapter of Paul Hazard’s Crisis of the European Mind.
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.

    In keeping with our boozy Kingsley Amis theme (and in celebration of Friday), today’s Classics and Coffee Club eschews the soft stuff and goes hard. Would Kingsley Amis approve of the Red Hook ESB pictured here? The Red Hook website describes it as: “Brewed in the style of a traditional British ESB (Extra Special Bitter).” So let’s say yes. And, if you squint, the Seattle background of the photo might just be the Cambridge UK suburb of The Green Man.

    Pictured: Reader Melanie and the “Miracles Denied: Comets, Oracles, and Sorcerers” chapter of Paul Hazard’s Crisis of the European Mind.

    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.

  8. On Monday, Throw back a pint with Kingsley Amis

    Half King

    On Monday, May 6th at 7 PM, writers Lev Grossman, Nathaniel Adams, and Jen Vafidis will discuss Kingsley Amis’ newly reissued novels, the alternate history The Alteration and the ghost story The Green Man at the Half King. Co-sponsored with Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

    Full details here.

  9. Tonight! Martin Amis, Edwin Frank, Jochen Hellbeck, Agata Tuszynska discuss the legacy of Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate →

    part of the 2013 Pen World Voices Festival

  10. Did you know that Elaine Dundy's sister, Shirley Clarke, was a pathbreaking filmmaker? (If not, you haven't been paying attention!) 
nprfreshair:

John Powers on Shirley Clarke’s seminal 1967 film Portrait of Jason that has been recently restored and re-released:

Clarke knew she had a mesmerizing subject in Jason, whose stories are punctuated by a laugh whose mercurial meaning — from delight to pain to impacted fury — could keep a psychology class busy for a semester. Still, she and her colleagues keep goading him to give more, to bare himself more deeply, until he eventually breaks down, offering us the naked truth of his soul — if, that is, you believe we all have a single, secret, unified self hidden by myriad social masks. But is the drunken, weeping Jason really a more authentic Jason than the laughing storyteller?

    Did you know that Elaine Dundy's sister, Shirley Clarke, was a pathbreaking filmmaker? (If not, you haven't been paying attention!)

    nprfreshair:

    John Powers on Shirley Clarke’s seminal 1967 film Portrait of Jason that has been recently restored and re-released:

    Clarke knew she had a mesmerizing subject in Jason, whose stories are punctuated by a laugh whose mercurial meaning — from delight to pain to impacted fury — could keep a psychology class busy for a semester. Still, she and her colleagues keep goading him to give more, to bare himself more deeply, until he eventually breaks down, offering us the naked truth of his soul — if, that is, you believe we all have a single, secret, unified self hidden by myriad social masks. But is the drunken, weeping Jason really a more authentic Jason than the laughing storyteller?

  11. “Victor was a blue-point Siamese, a neutered tom-cat now in the third year of his age. He entered, as usual, in vague semi-flight, as from something that was probably not a menace, but which it was as well to be on the safe side about. Becoming aware of me, he approached, again as usual, with an air of uncertainty not so much about who I was as about what I was, and of keeping a very open mind on the range of possible answers. Was I potassium nitrate, or next October twelvemonth, or Christianity, or a chess problem—perhaps involving a variation on the Falkbeer counter-gambit? When he reached me, he gave up the problem and toppled on to my feet like an elephant pierced by a bullet in some vital spot. Victor was, among other things, the reason why no dogs were allowed at the Green Man. The effort of categorizing them might have proved too much for him.”

    — 

    Kingsley Amis knew his cats.
    This is from his ghost-story The Green Man (which is also the name of the narrator’s inn, from which dogs are banned in deference to the feline Victor Hugo).

    and here’s Amis’s poem “Cat English.”

  12. How an “ordinary Missouri English professor” Became an International Sensation

    image

    'Stoner is magic,’ said Oscar van Gelderen, publisher of Lebowski, which published the Dutch edition in 2012 and now has over 100,000 copies in print. Currently, it’s the #1 bestseller in the Netherlands, where it’s been near the top of the charts for weeks. It was one of Israel’s bestselling books of 2012. And it’s moving units in France, Spain, and Italy; over 50,000 copies have been sold in the latter since it was published there in February 2012. ‘So far the book has kept selling without signs of receding,’ said Cristina Marino from Fazi, the novel’s Italian publisher.

    Publishers Weekly on the phenomenal success John Williams’s Stoner has been experiencing around the world. We have our own theories about why it’s doing so well in the Netherlands …

  13. mcnallyjackson:

slaughterhouse90210:

“Whatever. Being neurotic seemed to be a kind of wild card, an all-purpose explanation.” —Renata Adler, Speedboat

1. lol
2. Renata Adler will be speaking at your friendly (Park Slope) neighborhood bookshop, Community, tonight at 7pm. I’ll see you there, k?
3. Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Yes? You’re awesome. No? You should! Because if you did, you would have received, in your inbox this morning, “Our Choral Ode to Renata Adler”: 

That bemused countenance, that horsewhip braid, that penchant for looking awry. Yep, we’re aswoon for Renata. Re-na-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Re. Na. Ta. We sketch her likeness in our spiral notebooks, adopt her patterns of speech, attempt her confident stance, wear belt-less jeans. We’d launch a 1,000 speedboats in her honor, if we had them. We don’t. 

How good would that have made your morning? Sign up for our mailing list here here here here.

    mcnallyjackson:

    slaughterhouse90210:

    “Whatever. Being neurotic seemed to be a kind of wild card, an all-purpose explanation.”
    —Renata Adler, Speedboat

    1. lol

    2. Renata Adler will be speaking at your friendly (Park Slope) neighborhood bookshop, Communitytonight at 7pm. I’ll see you there, k?

    3. Do you subscribe to our newsletter? Yes? You’re awesome. No? You should! Because if you did, you would have received, in your inbox this morning, “Our Choral Ode to Renata Adler”: 

    That bemused countenance, that horsewhip braid, that penchant for looking awry. Yep, we’re aswoon for Renata. Re-na-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Re. Na. Ta. We sketch her likeness in our spiral notebooks, adopt her patterns of speech, attempt her confident stance, wear belt-less jeans. We’d launch a 1,000 speedboats in her honor, if we had them. We don’t. 

    How good would that have made your morning? Sign up for our mailing list here here here here.

  14. The Conversation of the Hours

    The first hour says to the second,
          I am a hermit.
    The second hour says to the third,
          I am an abyss.
    The third hour says to the fourth,
          put on morning.
    The fourth hour says to the fifth,
          stars rush down.
    The fifth hour says to the sixth,
          we are late.
    The sixth hour says to the seventh,
          animals are clocks also.
    The seventh hour says to the eighth,
          you are friends with the grove.
    The eighth hour says to the ninth,
          the coursing starts.
    The ninth hour says to the tenth,
          we are time’s bones.
    The tenth hour says to the eleventh,
          it may be we are couriers.
    The eleventh hour says to the twelfth,
          let us consider the roads.
    The twelfth hour says to the first,
          I’ll catch up with you in our endless race.
    The first hour says to the second,
          have some human sedative, friend.
    The second hour says to the third,
          at what point can we concur.
    The third hour says to the fourth,
          I bow to you as if you were a corpse.
    The fourth hour says to the fifth,
          we too are darkened treasures of the earth.
    The fifth hour says to the sixth,
          I worship the hollow world.
    The sixth hour says, seventh hour,
          it’s dinner time, come home.
    The seventh hour says to the eighth,
          I would have wanted to count another way.
    The eighth hour says to the ninth,
          you are like Enoch snatched up to the skies.
    The ninth hour says to the tenth hour,
          you are like unto an angel engulfed in flame.
    The tenth hour says, eleventh hour,
          for some reason you lost your moving power.
    The eleventh hour says to the twelfth,
          and still we are incomprehensible.

    —Poetry month is coming to a close, a month where we launched our new poetry series, NYRB Poets, and we wanted to end it with a somewhat circular poem. This is from Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think; it’s a poem within a poem, part of the script that makes up “God May be Around,” translated by Eugene Ostashevsky

  15. “Good God am I glad someone started a topic about NYRB.” →

    People are talkin’ (about our books on Reddit)