A MacLehose Miscellany
David Abbott selected for Culture Show‘s New Novelists Programme
As reported in the Guardian this Saturday, David Abbott has been selected for the BBC2 Culture Show‘s programme showcasing first-time authors for his novel The Upright Piano Player, due to be published in paperback on March 31.
New Novelists: Twelve of the Best From the Culture Show will be broadcast next Saturday, and will include an in-depth panel discussion chaired by John Mullen.
Abbott is one of 12 authors selected from 57 submissions from publishers for inclusion in the programme.
The novelist Helen Oyeyemi, one of the five panelists, summed up their thoughts of The Upright Piano Player:
David Abbott‘s The Upright Piano Player (MacLehose Press) is not unlike a nocturne in its tone and mood; it is a melancholy and evocative treatment of a man’s post-retirement crisis. Henry Cage is sketched with just enough subtlety, and allowed just enough sympathy – no more, no less – to make his failings devastatingly real.
To date, David Abbott is the only British writer to publish a first novel with MacLehose Press, and we are all delighted that he has been recognized in this way.
Booktrust Interview with Christopher MacLehose and Katharina Bielenberg
Catharine Mansfield has interviewed Christopher MacLehose and Katharina Bielenberg for the Booktrust Translated Fiction website:
Last Monday morning I arrived at the London Review of Books’ bright, airy café to meet with Christopher MacLehose and Katharina Bielenberg of MacLehose Press. Just down the road from the Quercus headquarters in Bloomsbury Square, the café has become something of an unofficial office for these two big names in the world of translated fiction publishing. When I arrived they were just finishing one meeting and when I left it was time for the next. After all, the LRB café is a fitting meeting place. The adjoining bookshop has always showcased the best of translated literature and many MacLehose titles feature amongst the tempting collection of books on display. This is just one sign of the spectacular success experienced by the imprint since its first titles were published in 2008 . . . (read more)
Miska, the canine senior editor for MacLehose Press was not available to be interviewed, nor was he photographed for the online feature. So to redress the omission:
Phantoms on the Bookshelves
From vaunting arguments about how books furnish the democratic mind, it is a relief to turn to Jacques Bonnet’s wittily written and elegantly translated reminder that, as Anthony Powell told us, they also furnish a room. It is tempting to call works like this “charming”, but that would misrepresent the enjoyably sharp edges in Bonnet’s account. A bibliomaniac rather than a bibliophile, he recognizes that his “monstrous” obsession is indefensible (while casting around broadly to find other obsessives in fact and fiction) and that reading may be no more than a means to keep tedium at bay. It’s enjoyable to find someone so roundly read discussing The Twilight Zone in detail. The Phantoms of the Bookshelves is a book that reinforces its intent, rather than undermines it. Self-deprecating throughout, it opens with a nice story about Pessoa and ends bathetically thumbing through a Portuguese–French phrase book. And in support of the argument that the coherence of a private library is primarily a function of its owner, Bonnet leads us confidently from book to book, however dissimilar each may be from the one before.
Bonnet’s incurable – and commendable – bibliophilia is further illustrated by this photograph of one of his outhouses:
If you have any photographs of your own overflowing or idiosyncratically ordered bookshelves you would like to send us, we will be delighted to present them on our forthcoming website and blog.