The packages that come to me from New Directions are my favorite bookish mail deliveries so I was very excited to find one today. But then a little pouty because this was a duplicate mailing. And then happy in my belief that I know they would want me to share them with you given the circumstances.
The Clash of Images by Abdelfattah Kilito and translated from the French by Robin Creswell as described on the publisher's website:
Abdelfattah Kilito’s The Clash of Images is a sweet, Borgesian mix of bildungsroman, memoir, family history, short-story collection, fable, and literary criticism. Written in a graceful and charming style, Kilito’s story takes place in an unnamed Moroccan coastal city of memories where a child experiences first-hand the cultural clash of text and image in a changing, modern society. The story unfolds in the medina, the msid (or Koranic school), the neighborhood hammam (or bathhouse), summer camp, and the local cinema — vanished sites that inspire Kilito’s meditations and eulogy. In one chapter the child’s mother forbids her son to read comic books after a bad report card, and the author evokes Don Quixote’s niece, who tries to burn her uncle’s romances and save him from his insane quests. In another, he remembers the first time he saw an image of the Prophet Mohammed, in a French textbook, and the moment he showed the offending picture to his grandmother.
The Clash of Images is a celebration of the pleasures of storytelling, a magic lantern that delicately reveals how the world of books intimately connects with the world outside their pages.
And the stories in While the Women Are Sleeping by Javier Marias and translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa are described in this way:
Slippery figures in anomalous situations — ghosts, spies, bodyguards, criminals — haunt these stories by Javier Marías: the characters come bearing their strange and special secrets, and never leave our minds. In one story, a man obsessed with his much younger lover endlessly videotapes her every move, and then confides his surprising plans for her; in another a ghost can’t stop resigning from his job. Masterfully, Marías manages in a small space to perplex and delight.
“The short story fits Marías like a glove,” as Le Point noted. His stories have been hailed as “formidably intelligent” (The London Review of Books), “a bracing tonic” (The Chicago Tribune), and “startling” (The New York Times Book Review).
“Sexy, contemplative, elusive and addictive.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian
“In the space of ten or twenty pages, Marías contrives to write a novel.” —Nouvel Observateur
“The most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature.” —The Boston Sunday Globe
You see these titles in my sidebar? I plan on reading both in January. Care to join me? Or not. It does not matter. Just leave a comment before end of day tomorrow (Wednesday), and I will let one of my children pick a winner. Will ship anywhere but the titles are coming together. A package deal.
Winner: Lizzy Siddal! (Chosen through a highly complicated system where I say to my son, "Hey, pick a number between 1 and 11," and he replies "5.")