Those likely to be most moved by the news (his legions of fans) will already know, but David Tennant will be starring alongside Emilia Fox in a BBC Four Radio Play of Love Virtually. The play, based on Daniel Glattauer’s internationally bestselling e-epistolary novel will be broadcast on the 8th of March at 2.15 post meridian.
It has been adapted for radio by Eileen Horne and produced by Clive Brill for Pacificus Productions. A previewer in yesterday’s Radio Times commented that “David Tennant’s Scottish vowels give spiky academic Leo an appropriately laconic air”.
MACLEHOSE AUTHOR FOR RUSSIAN PRESIDENT?
Irina Prokhorova is the editor of the Russian magazine New Literary Review, and next year we will publish a documentary history of Russia since 1990 that she has edited. But she is also the brother of businessman and presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov and recently took part in a televised presidential debate.
After Putin announced that he would be sending proxies to presidential debates, Mikhail Prokhorov responded by announcing that he would follow suit: his proxy for the debate with Putin’s proxy — the renowned filmaker Nikita Mikhalkov — was his sister, Irina.
The debate took place last Monday, and Irina has been catapulted to fame as a result. The consensus was that she roundly defeated her opponent — wiped the floor with him even. And now Irina herself is being whispered of as a potential president.
Arch Tait, who is translating 1990, has helpfully translated some comments on the debate from a Russian website:
Andrey Piontkovsky (“Another Look Into Putin’s Soul”) writes
I have lost my heart to Irina Prokhorova: an intelligent, charming, lively woman with magnificent reactions. She just wipes the floor with this tub-thumper who very soon starts brandishing his state-approved Russian Orthodoxy about and reproaching Prokhorov for not having found the road to God and so on, poking about in his personal life. I think the Prokhorov family has made a big mistake. They should have put Irina up for President, not Mikhail.
Andrey Illarionov says
People who periodically lament, ”But where are we to find these new, deserving, competent, professional people?” evidently fail to understand just how effectively the fetid atmosphere of our authoritarian political regime stifles them. We have no shortage of them. All it took was one slight stirring of the political marsh for Russia instantly to learn the name of one such person – Irina Prokhorova.
There’s a video of the debate on Youtube, but naturally it’s in Russian:
Today Amanda Hopkinson in the Independent adds her voice to the astonishing (but not quite unexpected) chorus of praise for Trieste:
This extraordinary work of fiction concludes with the narrator, Haya Tedeschi, reflecting on all she has compiled in eight long years of research and remembering. “I have arranged a multitude of lives, a pile of the past, into an inscrutable, incoherent series of occurrences… I have dug up all the graves of imagination and longing… I have rummaged through a stored series of certainties without finding a trace of logic.” It is the inscrutable incoherence of this phenomenal trajectory of events, hurtling through the recapitulation of three generations of one family from the Second World War to the present, that endows the story with a unique drive and veracity.
Most impressive of all is the sheer force of the narrative and the language in which it is relayed. While the management of a vast panorama of complex characters is the author’s own, the English version has to be that of the translator, Ellen Elias-Bursac. Rarely in such a literary tour-de-force should praise be so doubly shared.
We’re in the thick of 2012′s Jewish Book Week and tomorrow the first of two MacLehose Press authors will be appearing at King’s Place:
Chochana Boukhobza will take the stage at 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday 22nd February to talk about her first book to be translated into English, The Third Day. Boukhobza is a Francophone writer who was born in Tunisia and now lives in Israel, in as much as her nomadic lifestyle lets her call anywhere “home”.
The Third Day is a gripping whirlwind of a novel, set in Jerusalem at the end of the 1980s. Two of its central characters are musicians and Boukhobza writes sensitively and insightfully of the musician’s craft and the continual sacrifices that it demands. But at the novel’s heart is a powerful tale of retribution that brings its many strands together towards a shattering conclusion. It is also full of linguistic vitality and variety, as the translation retains many words from Arabic, Yiddish and Hebrew, all explained in a glossary. Did you know that an “ashooma” is Hebrew for a shameful act?
The glossary may in fact make it on to the blog tomorrow, but for now, let’s focus on the event. Tickets are available at £6.50 at can be bought on the JBW website.
But don’t take our word for it . . . this is the view of A.N. Wilson writing in the Financial Times last Friday:
This is a quite appallingly painful book. It begins in 2006, with an old lady in the Italian town of Gorizia, near Trieste. Haya Tedeschi is sitting in a rocking chair with a red basket beside her, full of photographs, letters and diaries – evidence of multifarious human lives. Her intelligent mind is full of memories. And gradually, as these memories unfold, the horrors inflicted by the Nazis, the second world war, the massacres of countless Jews and others, comes before us. Except that they are not countless. One of the truly uncomfortable things about the many deaths in this book is that they are itemised (in an extraordinary 40-page section, Dasa Drndic lists the 9,000 names of the Jews who were deported from Italy between 1943 and 1945). Although this is fiction, it is also a deeply researched historical documentary.
Trieste recalls that great essay by Simone Weil on the capacity of war to reduce human beings to things. It contains no consolation, no happy resolutions, no hope. It makes you groan with despair, and you feel yourself going mad as you read it. I seldom read any book that made me more achingly unhappy. It is a masterpiece.
He has a lot more to say about Trieste in the full review, which you are strongly urged to click through to . . .
Valerio Varesi’s first novel in translation, River of Shadows, was shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association’s International Dagger award in 2011, and was very well received by the press: Boyd Tonkin in the Independent hailed Varesi as a “master storyteller”.
Well, now he is back with The Dark Valley, a similarly dark and brooding mystery, once again with roots in Italy’s murky past, the struggle between Fascists and Communists as the Second World War came to an end. Commissario Soneri escapes the stale politics of the prefecture in Parma to take a well-earned holiday in the village of his birth, but finds its inhabitants in uproar over the collapse of its main industry, a salame factory owned by the Rodolfi family.
Readers of River of Shadows will delight in the same smouldering, slow-burn atmosphere and intensity, but perhaps find a difference in the drama that surrounds the Dark Valley‘s climax. As bodies begin to appear in the woods, the Carabinieri launch an all-out assault on their prime suspect, an old woodsman who still lives on the same mountain he defended from S.S. commandos decades earlier.
As with River of Shadows, much of the appeal lies with the Commissario himself: hard-boiled sophisticate, bon viveur and ladies’ man. His reluctant involvement in the case becomes all the more personal when he learns that his father and the Roldofi patriarch were once friends.