Holy moly it’s already the middle of January! My daughter turned 5 months old! My son is turning 32 months old tomorrow! I’m just feeling old!! But books are forever!!
Speaking of old, Deep Vellum published its first book four years ago in December…remember that little subversive historical novel that could, Carmen Boullosa’s Texas: The Great Theft, translated by Samantha Schnee?!?! It is a book with legs, and one I couldn’t be more proud to say we published all these years later too. A dream project in every sense: a tremendous author, a marvelous translator, and a story that must be shared with the world. And what better way to start a press with dreams of becoming the literary publisher of Texas, a sort of hybrid Graywolf/Coffee House/Milkweed of Texas all rolled into one, than a border history story written from a perspective outside of what comes in American/Texan history textbooks. It’s why we do what we do!
Speaking of what’s going on with us, subscriber copies of our 38th book (!), Sergio Pitol’s Mephisto’s Waltz: Selected Short Stories, translated by George Henson, will be mailing out next week! Reminder you can get any 5 of our books for $60 or any 10 for $100, with the ability to choose from our backlist, or just keep the subscription going into the future, which includes these ten books, though the order of 47-48 may get moved around as we sign a few more books we have lined up…and I’d like the Garréta book to be our 50th book published as a way to highlight our dedication to that amazing author & translator team, that’s a huge milestone for us coming up in just a year, if you can believe it!
39. “Muslim” A Novel by Zahia Rahmani (Algeria/France), translated by Matt Reeck
40. Blood Sisters by Kim Yideum (South Korea), translated by Ji yoon Lee
41. The Golden Goblet: Selected Poems by Goethe (Germany), translated by Zsuzsanna Ozsváth & Frederick Turner
42. Honey, I Killed the Cats by Dorota Masłowska (Poland), translated by Benjamin Paloff
43. A Life: Stories by Oleg Sentsov (Ukraine), translated by Uilleam Blacker
44. Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River by Jung Young Moon (South Korea), translated by Yewon Jung
45. The Love Story of the Century by Märta Tikkanen (Finland), translated by Stina Khatchadourian
46. Girls Lost by Jessica Schiefauer (Sweden), translated by Saskia Vogel
47. The Tool and the Butterflies by Dmitry Lipskerov (Russia), translated by Reilly Costigan-Humes & Isaac Wheeler
48. Dans l’beton (translated title TBD) by Anne Garréta (France), translated by Emma Ramadan
And we’ll make a formal announcement in coming weeks, but look out for Deep Vellum to announce we’ve expanded our mission to become more inclusive in what we publish, to build a Dallas-area and Texas-wide list of writers on top of those who write in English originally from anywhere in the world (I’m looking at you, Uganda, Singapore, Ireland, etc.!) alongside the transcendent translations we’ve become known for. So if you’re a writer, especially one in Texas, with a story that must get out, let us know. We’re looking for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and are planning to expand our literary programming to make our city and state and world a better, more engaged, place to live, so let’s change the world together through the written word, please.
At the same time, we’re looking for interns and volunteers to join us at DVHQ in Deep Ellum to help keep this literary movement growing. If you’re a student based in DFW and want to learn about publishing industry/literary translation/marketing/development/social media/editing/whatever, or if you’re someone who wants to learn more about this weird business we’re in, write me: will [at] deep vellum dot org.
Here’s some cool things going on with our books out there in the world of media and whatnot. Thanks to all who read, who subscribe, who donate, who review, who spread the good word. Get involved with Deep Vellum and let’s make some magic happen:
REVENGE OF THE TRANSLATOR
“An intensely thrilling tale of intrigue and translation with a comedic undercurrent, the novel explores the transcendent power of obsessive dedication and the blurred lines between reality and text.”
ÖRÆFI: THE WASTELAND
“But the novel certainly inherits Thomas Bernhard’s style of reports of reports of reported speech, leading to sentences like the following which closes the first section, much as mathematical brackets close a formula . . . Highly recommended and one to watch in the 2019 Best Translated Book Awards.”
“It’s a brilliant, ecstatic, hallucinatory arabesque consisting of nested tales of decreasing reliability and increasing self-awareness—all centering upon this blasted Icelandic emptiness where having or knowing anything seems only barely possible, where one glimpses the struggle to verify the contents of the world in bleakest terms.”
- Chosen as book of the year in Keaton Patterson’s, book buyer at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, inaugural Brazos Book Buyer’s Book of the Year Awards
“Bottom of ForPart adventure, part history, and part madness! Sigurdsson’s nested rant of a narrative swept the literary awards in his native Iceland and is now one of the best books translated into English this year . . . and the winner is…ORAEFI: THE WASTELAND!!!!”
“Stunning novel . . . What follows is a collection of Icelandic stories, realist and mythic, historical and fictional, nestled inside an epic adventure. It is at once a history of place, and a man’s intensely personal journey through the elements of the land, and of his own mind. A delightfully complex play on the epistolary novel, the narration of Öræfi is layered, at times coming to us through five or six levels of character interpretation.”
- John Darnielle / The Mountain Goats tweeted lots of nice things about Deep Vellum & especially ÖRÆFI
“Amazing storytelling, plotting, perfect recursive structuring, just compulsively readable . . . I thought I’d put in a word today for the book from Deep Vellum that is completely rocking my December days! take a chance! it’ll change your perspective!”
THE IMAGINED LAND
“Lauded Argentine writer Eduardo Berti turns his talent for enchanted settings and light but meaningful social commentary to the setting of prerevolutionary China. The Imagined Land is the story of a girl and her brother, both of whose loves and longings set them at odds with their family. Reminiscently sweet, Berti portrays young love in all its enchantment.”
“It’s a wonder. The language is something I hope to emulate.”
THE ANARCHIST WHO SHARED MY NAME
THE GEOGRAPHY OF REBELS TRILOGY
“When I closed Llansol’s The Geography of Rebels Trilogy for the first time, I had to ask myself what on earth I had just read. Several re-readings later and I would still struggle to describe the narrative or characters with any kind of clarity. And yet, I am intrigued and mesmerized by Llansol’s prose, her mysterious and beautiful sentences that push the novel beyond its usual constraints, and, at times, approach prose poetry. Like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, Llanso’s method is a radical one and, for those readers who like to be challenged, worth checking out.”
- Bookseller Benjamin at Librarie Drawn & Quarterly in Montreal includes Geography as one of his best books of 2018!!
“Dense and sparkling, Maria Gabriela Llansol’s Geography of Rebels is a commotion of a novel. With abrupt sentences and a narrative that darts, swerves, and veers, it is a perplexing read, but in a way that innervates, rather than discourages.”
“Imagine if Don Mclean’s song American Pie was written about Christian mysticism instead of rock-n-roll. That’s my elevator pitch/description of the Portuguese writer, Maria Gabriela Llansol’s, English language debut: The Geography of Rebels Trilogy. Originally published as three separate books—The Book of Communities, The Remaining Life, and In the House of July and August—it has been painstakingly translated by Audrey Young and released by the Texas indie publisher Deep Vellum in a single volume . . . Anyone coming to Llansol with any kind of “normal” expectations at all will likely be disappointed. Plot, logical structure, continuity, a sense of linear time and/or space— you won’t find any of that here. At least not in any form that is readily apparent. Instead, Llansol immerses her readers in a shared hallucinatory vision, seemingly fueled by religious hysteria and open to multiple interpretations . . . There is magic in how Llansol puts words together—and more of the poet in her than the prose writer. . . . Llansol is a writer’s writer, unrestrained and reckless in her use of language. And wholly uninterested in catering to the general reading public. Which brings us to what many would say is the major challenge in Llansol’s work. The trilogy has more in common with a medieval Book of Hours than modern fiction. . . . And, still, the more I think (and write) about Maria Gabriela Llansol, the more intrigued I am by her work. There is a phosphorescent brilliance here. And for those who can stay the course, rewards to be had. I”
- One of EuropeNow Journal’s Best Translations of 2018
- Chosen by Annie McDermott as one of Review 31’s Best Books of 2018
“Navigating the dreamlike, shape-shifting territories of Llansol’s trilogy is a reading experience unlike any other. Llansol’s writing sets out not to represent reality but to experiment with it and create it anew: her texts are her crucible, allowing her to mix elements that are normally separate and see what reactions occur. Very early on, I learnt to stop trying to pin down exactly what was happening or exactly what it all meant. The best way to experience this book is simply by continuing to read, just as the best way to experience a new landscape is simply by continuing to walk.”
BRIDE & GROOM
- Selected as one of The Calvert Journal’s Editors Picks for 2018, as selected by Editor-in-Chief Nadia Beard
“The book is wonderfully transportive, and while full of beautifully rendered details of North Caucasian landscapes and traditional familial connection, it’s set against the unmistakable backdrop of the post-Soviet world; Marat’s role as a lawyer looking into the ghoulish murder of a human rights activist smacks of specificities that define some of post-Soviet Russia’s darkest moments. Most pertinent of all is the theme of generational divide which undergirds much of the drama between the characters. Though set in the traditional confines of a largely Muslim North Caucasus, this divide is a microcosm for a very real wedge between two distinct generations in Russia today, a wedge that’s become a powerful force in struggles from music consumption and social media, to what the future of Russian politics will look like.”
- One of the Globe & Mail’s 100 Best Books of 2018 RBTH (Russia Beyond The Headlines) includes Bride & Groom on its list of 7 Russian books translated in 2018 you have to read
- One of the Asian Review of Books’ top books of 2018
“MUSLIM” A NOVEL
- One of Words Without Borders’ most anticipated books of 2019
- An amazing blurb for MUSLIM from Dr. Seema Yasmin, author, For Filthy Women Who Worry About Disappointing God and The Impatient Dr. Lange: One Man’s Fight to End the Global HIV Epidemic: “A love letter to us: the outcasts, the hyphenated “others,” those who have lost tongues and gained dialects. Zahia Rahmani speaks to the religious fairy tales of my girlhood, the Muslim lore we listened to while learning the Arabic alphabet. “Muslim” challenges the borders of genre, much like Rahmani pushes up against the boundaries of multiple, overlapping identities, investigating imposed definitions and complicating what it means to be colonized, woman, Muslim.”
- Sphinx is one of FSG editor Jackson Howard’s favorite books of 2018 on the FSG Work in Progress blog
- This Youtube book reviewer highlighted Deep Vellum as a small press they love, focusing on Banthology & Seeing Red, alongside Bellevue Literary Press in this Youtube video