Does this blog still work?

January 7, 2013 § 1 Comment

Since early November, life at my house has looked something like this:


Loosely translated, that means there’s been a lot of illness, each new plague breaching the defences before the last lurgy has been thrown off. The flu might be trying to look small and innocent in there, but it was a kicker. And “cold” does not mean what it did a decade or so ago. These days, “cold” means three days of aches and chills followed by a week of the usual, only worse. A high point of life right now is a night when I’m coughing enough to justify a spoonful from my lovely (tiny) Percodan stash. Friends were at first incredulously sympathetic but have now started signing off voicemails with phrases like “See you in the summer.”

I have been reading, though, albeit slowly, and reading some fantastic books that I’m itching to write about. December’s greats included:

Keith Ridgway, Hawthorn and Child (Granta)

Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt)

Teju Cole, Open City (Random House)

James Meek, The Heart Broke In (FSG)

Megan Mayhew Bergman, Birds of a Lesser Paradise (Scribner)

I briefly considered doing a best of 2012 list, but then decided against it. I’ll just choose one favourite from the year, since there was one book that stood way out above all others: Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods (New Directions (US)/And Other Stories (UK)).

DeWitt LIGHTNING RODS cover low res

Right now I’m reading The Canvas by Benjamin Stein (Open Letter), and thinking it might just be the best-translated book I’ve ever read (and—for the editors among you–who’s to say it might not also be one of the best translated books I’ve ever read?). I can’t say that without mentioning the translator, so bravo, Brian Zumhagen. You’ve got my 2013 off to an excellent start.

(c) All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all blog content, except comments by others, copyright JC Sutcliffe.

The Canvas


§ One Response to Does this blog still work?

  • Hey there, J.C. I saw that Benjamin posted this on his Facebook wall, and had to drop you a note about The Canvas. What a book, no? I had the great pleasure of talking with Benjamin and Brian about writing and translating the book, and I thought you might enjoy the conversations.

    They are both here:

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