A new book with a new deal for you, BTBA shortlists announced, and you're invited to a party.
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Antoine Volodine’s Mind-Bending, Ambitious Literary World

Today marks the official release of Antoine Volodine’s Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven, translated from the French by University of Rochester alum J. T. Mahany, and the first of three Volodine books that Open Letter will be bringing out between now and 2017. 

If you haven’t already heard of Volodine, you’re in for a bit of a wild ride . . . First off, “Antoine Volodine” is one of several pseudonyms the French author writes and publishes under. Others include Manuela Draeger and Lutz Bassmann. 

Speaking of Bassmann, he’s the main character of this novel, and he’s dying in jail, convicted of being part of the “post-exotic” literary movement. This movement—subversive, clandestine, aimed against the powers that be—utilized a number of different techniques in their “Shaggås” and “romances” to spread secret messages and free the minds of readers. 

Some of these techniques can be found in the other books by Volodine/Bassmann/Draeger that are available in English: Minor Angels, In the Time of the Blue Ball, We Monks & Soldiers, and Writers. 

But this is the first book of Volodine’s to explain some of the ideas behind this imaginary movement—all within a larger framework of Bassmann being interrogated for his crimes. 

This literary world that Volodine has been constructing over the past couple decades in France has captivated readers and critics, landing him on the best-seller list and winning him the Prix Médicis for Radiant Terminus. (Jeffrey Zuckerman is translating this for Open Letter.) 

Over the past few months, here in America, Volodine’s reputation has taken off, thanks in large part to this essay in The New Inquiry in which he explains how post-exoticism “attacks official literature” and gives up more clues to his wild literary game, one which was described by Maria Clementi as “the most exciting project in contemporary French literature . . . Think Faulkner, but after an apocalypse.” 

Additionally, Music & Literature is celebrating the launch of Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven with a week of Volodine-related content, starting with this review

To give you more motivation to dive into Volodine’s twisty, meta, fragmented yet all-encompassing world, we’re going to offer Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven for the ultra-low price of $9.00 if you purchase it through our website and use the code “LESSON” at checkout. This offer is only valid until the end of May, so take advantage now!
Event Schedule

La Grande on the Best Translated Book Award Shortlist

We have two Best Translated Book Award items to round out this newsletter.

First up, last week we announced the six Poetry Finalists for the 2015 award and the ten Fiction Finalists

Lots of great authors and books on these lists (personally, I think Elena Ferrante and Valeria Luiselli are the two favorites for the Fiction Prize, and Alejandra Pizarnik for Poetry, but what do I know), including one Open Letter title: La Grande by Juan José Saer, translated from the Spanish by Steve Dolph. 

This is the third Saer book Steve has translated for us, and the third Saer to make at least the BTBA longlist. So, special congrats to Steve for all of his great work!

And if you haven’t read Saer, you really should. In addition to La Grande, Scars, and The Sixty-Five Years of Washington are available now. 

Next month, we’ll be releasing the fourth of five Saer titles we currently have signed on. The One Before, translated by Susan Sontag Translation Prize winner Roanne Kantor, is the first collection of Saer’s shorter fiction to be available in English. More information on that book next month . . . 

Best Translated Book Award Party!

To celebrate the 2015 Best Translated Book Awards—which will be announced on the Eastside Stage at BookExpo America on Wednesday, May 27th at 2:30pm—readers, publishers, translators, authors, and the like will be gathering at The Folly on 92 W. Houston St. that same Wednesday, May 27th from 5-7pm for drinks and appetizers and international book chat. 

I’ll be there, as will several Three Percent contributors and various publishing folks, and possibly, maybe, the winning authors and translators. (Really depends on who wins. I don’t think Julio Cortázar will be making an appearance, unless the Fox Sisters come and medium him into the event.) 

This gathering is open to the general public, so if you’d like to come, please do! I would love to meet more of you in person and raise a glass to the great works of international literature that came out last year. 

See you there!
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May 2015
Post-Exoticism in Ten Lessons, Lesson Eleven
by Antoine Volodine

Jun 2015
The One Before
by Juan José Saer

Jul 2015
Traces of Time
by Lucio Mariani

Aug 2015
Rock, Paper, Scissors
by Naja Marie Aidt

Sep 2015
The Things We Don't Do
by Andrés Neuman
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