Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Contrenarrations: the French Edition of Counternarrations On Bookshelves

On August 24, the French edition of Counternarratives, published by Éditions Cambourakis, retitled Contrenarrations and superbly translated by Bernard Hoepffner, hit bookstores. (As I may have written before, Hoepffner was one of the most perspicuous editors I have ever worked with, and perfectly complemented my excellent New Directions editor Barbara Epler.) Cambourakis chose a painting by the great Bill Traylor to grace the cover, maintaining the theme and style of the New Directions cover, but endowing it with its own distinctive look:

There have been several short prose reviews so far; the first, by Emmanuel Requet, on the website of Librairie Ptyx, was one that the translator, Hoepffner, forwarded directly to me. It's very good. A brief quote:

Ce n’est pas Le Noir, La Négritude, L’opprimé qui est le cœur de Contrenarrations, mais sa parole. Brimée, bridée, brisée, mais jamais éteinte, conservant dans la possibilité de son advenue toute sa force. Mieux encore, enfouies sous des couches de silence forcé, semblent y avoir mûri des manières plus subtiles et fécondes de rendre compte. Jamais inutilement post-moderne, ni victimaire, ni doloriste, Contrenarrations consacre génialement le rôle impertinent et salvateur de la forme.
[Rough translation: It isn't Black Person [or Blackness], Blackness, the Oppressed who is the heart of Counternarratives, but their speech. Bullied, constrained, broken, but never extinguished, keeping all its force in the possibility of its occurrence. Better still, buried under layers of enforced silence, seeming to have ripened in more subtle and fruitful ways of taking account of things . Never uselessly postmodern, nor playing the victim, nor lugubrious, Counternarratives brilliantly consecrates the impertinent and saving role of form.]
On their Facebook page, Éditions Cambourakis also features this review by Damien Aubel from the French monthly magazine Transfuge's coverage of the August rentrée littéraire:

I also came across the following tweet, by Olivier Lamm, about Contrenarrations' appearance at a recent Rentrée littéraire in Paris (I think): he says that the book was winner by knockout (and evil spirits--referencing several characters in the collection)! It's nice praise and I'll take it!

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