The decadence of Edmund Wilson’s Memoirs of Hecate County—moral decay! the naked and the adorned! glorious, gorgeous, menace of love—

Before all else, the cover for the NYRB Classics edition of Edmund Wilson’s linked stories, Memoirs of Hecate County, is simply gorgeous. So lush, so decadent, so audacious in the indulgence of satin and rosettes and blondeness and repose and that disconcertingly rousing feeling of having caught a beautiful woman in a luxuriant, half-dreaming stretch [...]

On Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius; translated by Jamie Bulloch

Friedrich Christian Delius’ novella, Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman, is a single 117-page-long sentence. Yes, there is only one period. [I counted.] We are in Rome, 1943 -- with a young, pregnant German woman, and her one, long, breathless utterance: a thought stretched, branching here and there to the past, the present, [...]

marginalia || Stone in a Landslide, by Maria Barbal; translated by Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell

My second read from the folks at Peirene Press: Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal [translated from the Catalan by Laura McGloughlin and Paul Mitchell]. A Catalan classic, and in its first English edition, the novella is the reminiscences of 80-year-old Conxa: where she came from, how she grew up, the work she did, [...]

marginalia || Beside the Sea, by Véronique Olmi; translated by Adriana Hunter

There’s always something infinitely satisfying about books that take risks. Most especially when those books are good. How to balance subject matter or form or technique and the reader it must lead to? How to fine-tune that balance between craft and the artist's intentions? How to ruffle the bejeebies of a person, and still have her, [...]