Monday, June 12, 2006

Lend Me Your Character by Dubravka Ugresic (translated by Celia Hawkesworth, Michael Henry Heim and revised by Damion Searls)

Very clever, entertaining, thought-provoking, often meta-fictional and intertextual short stories (plus a novella) by a Yugoslavian (when such a thing existed) writer that made me think three things:

1) I like novellas. Do other people? If not, why not?

2) I appreciate meta-fiction but rarely find it original anymore. It used to be interesting by its mere existence, but no more. These fictions work well, but not necessarily because of their meta-fictional qualities.

3) Lately, international writers have the best shot of being published in translation in the USA if their homeland is war-torn and genocidal. Witness the latest fiction issue of The New Yorker. I'm not against this, but wish more international writers got attention for more kinds of writing. One of the interesting things about this collection is it predates the dismantling of Yugoslavia, and it's still really relevant, enjoyable, compelling, without being about current events.

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