I’ve made my novella recommendations, now on to my own reading intentions. I will not finish all of these, mostly due to the fact that I am beginning the month 500 pages into 1000-page Ducks, Newburyport and 2 hours into the 24-hour audiobook The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. Whoops.
The Patron Saint of Novellas in November: César Aira
I have two options for Aira: Dinner (translated by Katherine Silver) and The Seamstress and the Wind (translated by Rosalie Knecht). His books exemplify everything I love about novellas: they’re super short, super weird, and translated. I’ve previously read Ghosts and Varamo, and I’m only scratching the surface: Aira has published nearly 100 books. New Directions is doing the Lord’s work and translating them into English with 17 available so far.
Oh, and I urge you to watch Weird Book Book Club’s review of Ghosts. It’s really something…
The Trendy Novella with a Celebrity Translator
Lie With Me by Philippe Besson, translated by Molly Ringwald. Blurbed by André Aciman . “The French Brokeback Mountain.” So hot right now.
So yes, Molly Ringwald. I’m not too starstruck, as I’ve never seen The Breakfast Club. My experience with her work is limited to The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which I watched in a postpartum haze circa 2010 and would not recommend. The reviews of her translation are mixed, but the book sounds really good.
The Poor Clare by Elizabeth Gaskell was reissued by local press Stonehouse Publishing, and how could I resist? More of a short story at less than 100 pages, it includes murder, a curse, revenge, and a demonic doppelganger, and I am here for that kind of Brontë /Dostoyevsky realness. Speaking of Brontës, I’ve also got Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte on my radar, but it’s considerably longer.
ʔbédayine by Kaitlyn Purcell is set here in Edmonton and looks to be rather poetic – I thought it was a poetry collection at first glance, but recent 40 Under 40 honouree and Glass Bookshop proprietor Matthew Stepanic assures me it’ll be perfect for Novellas in November. That first character in the title is a glottal stop, by the way – I’m falling down a linguistics rabbit hole on YouTube as we speak!
Saudade by Suneeta Peres Da Costa was recommended by Jaclyn at Six Minutes For Me. Jaclyn focuses on Australian literature, in which I am sorely lacking. This will be my Kindle read and so far it seems dreamy, though I’m sure it’s going to get political as it’s about Portuguese people in Angola.