Book Talk: Schandra Introduces Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H.

Since her death in 1977, Clarice Lispector has earned recognition as Brazil’s greatest modern writer. And Benjamin Moser, editor of her anthology The Complete Stories, is often quoted as saying she’s the most important Jewish writer in the world since Kafka. Perhaps the most Kafkaesque of Lispector’s nine novels—yes, it involves a cockroach—is the mystical The Passion According to G.H., first published in 1964 as A Paixão Segundo G.H., and released in a superb translation by Idra Novey by New Directions in 2012. To learn more about this existential masterpiece, have a listen to Malvernian Schandra’s Book Talk below (and be sure to attend our monthly Novel Night reading series for more Book Talks!)

Spotlight on New Directions

You’re already planning to visit Malvern Books tomorrow night for our very first Everything is Bigger poetry reading, right? Well, be sure to come a little early so you can check out our recent New Directions haul!

New Directions was founded in 1936 by Harvard sophomore James Laughlin, who was not having much luck with his own poetry at the time:

“I asked Ezra Pound for ‘career advice’ . . . He had been seeing my poems for months and had ruled them hopeless. He urged me to finish Harvard and then do something useful.” 

Laughlin took Pound’s advice to heart and began publishing anthologies of experimental poetry and prose, featuring early works from writers such as Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, and Denise Levertov. Shortly after the publication of the first anthology, Laughlin decided to add novels, plays, and poetry collections to the New Directions stable (mean ol’ Ezra was an early New Directions poet), and he also began reprinting neglected classics, including the then out-of-print The Great Gatsby. More than seventy-five years later, New Directions is still going strong, publishing about thirty books each year. They continue to relaunch classic titles (often with introductions by well-known contemporary writers), and they’ve added a lot of wonderful work in translation to the mix, making them one of our favorite indie presses.

Here’s a peek at some of our new-to-us New Directions titles:

New Directions 1

  • The Selected Stories of Siegfried Lenz – Translated by Breon Mitchell, this is a stunning collection of stories from one of Germany’s most renowned writers.
  • Ground Work – American poet Robert Duncan’s two masterworks in one volume.
  • The Lion Bridge – A comprehensive overview of Michael Palmer’s hauntingly beautiful poetry.

New Directions 2

  • The Melancholy of Resistance – A surreal and powerful novel by contemporary Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai, translated by George Szirtes.
  • It – The magnum opus of Danish poet Inger Christensen, It is considered a classic of modern European poetry.
  • The Selected Poems of Li Po – Translated by David Hinton, this is a masterful collection from the eighth-century Tang Dynasty poet.

New Directions 3

  • Antigonick – Anne Carson’s new translation of Sophokle’s Antigone, featuring stunning illustrations by Bianca Stone.
  • Labyrinths – A genre-bending collection of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Donald Yates and James Irby.
  • New Collected Poems of George Oppen – This extensive paperback edition includes a CD of the poet reading from each of his poetry collections.

New Titles: Festive Edition

You’re coming to Malvern to do your holiday shopping, right? Jolly good! And because we love to spoil y’all rotten, we’ve made sure to stock our shelves extra-full with a ton of brilliant new books (some new new, and some new-to-us). We’ve already featured a couple of titles in our gift guide and on our home page, but here are a few more pressie ideas for all the beloved bookworms in your life…

New Books

From Exact Change, a press specializing in experimental literature, with an emphasis on Surrealism (fun fact: if, like me, you’re a Galaxie 500 fan, you may be interested to learn that Exact Change was founded by band members Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang):

New Books

From New Directions, an indie press founded in 1936 by poet James Laughlin and still going strong more than seventy-five years later:

  • The Hare – fiction by César Aira, translated by Nick Caistor
  • The Gorgeous Nothings – facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts
  • The Old Child – stories by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
  • Bartleby & Co. – fiction by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Jonathan Dunne
  • Dublinesque – fiction by Enrique Vila-Matas, translated by Anne McLean

New Books

From Typecast Publishing, a Louisville press whose stated mission is “producing works of literature with purpose and care” (i.e. their books are very stylish and beautifully made—perfect as gifts!):

New Books

And from assorted awesome small presses:

Newsworthy #1

In which we provide you with assorted delightful snippets concerning upcoming excitements and recent additions to our shelves:

  • On Thursday, November 14th at 2pm, Malvern Books will be hosting a very special event: the Center for Survivors of Torture has arranged an informal roundtable discussion with Father Ubald Rugirangoga, a priest of the Diocese of Cyangugu in Southern Rwanda. Father Ubald lost eighty family members and 45,000 members of his congregation in the 1994 Rwandan genocide; he has since devoted his life to spreading a message of forgiveness and reconciliation. This discussion is open to the public, and we strongly encourage you all to come along. To learn more about the remarkable Father Ubald, check out this inspiring TEDx talk.
  • IntimaciesIf you like your poetry hot off the press, come in and pick up a copy of Kurt Heinzelman’s latest collection, Intimacies & Other Devices. A “hommage to the erotic in all its forms and manifestations,” Intimacies is imaginative, playful, rapturous, and, yes, a wee bit sexy. Highly recommended! (Also well worth checking out at Malvern: Demarcations, a bilingual French/English edition of poet Jean Follain’s masterful 1953 collection, featuring translations by Heinzelman.)
  • Have you checked out our splendid and quite sizable display of Green Integer titles? You really should! Edited by Per Bregne, Green Integer publishes a wide range of pocket-size books, including new works by leading contemporary artists, and overlooked fiction, poetry, and plays by some of history’s very best writers. So come on down to Malvern and get your Green on!

Green Integer