Have you read about Shiny New Books yet? It's the new 'quarterly online magazine focusing exclusively on new and forthcoming publications that will help you decide what to read next and why', set up by four bloggers whom you might already know: Victoria, Harriet, Annabel and Simon. There are reviews of fiction, non-fiction and reprints – although they're recommendations rather than reviews, which sets Shiny New Books slightly apart from most other book magazines. But that is not all! There are also competitions, and in the BookBuzz section you'll find interviews with and posts by authors about their latest books and the writing processes behind them. In this issue there are interviews with Helen Oyeyemi, Jill Dawson and Sebastian Barry, to name just three, an article on translating Tove Jansson's biography and the editors of Slightly Foxed talking about what goes on behind the scenes of that lovely magazine.
Are you still here? Do go and check it out – it looks great! But I would say that, wouldn't I, because I have contributed a review. It's of Nanni Balestrini's novel Tristano and here's a snippet:
To give the reader the greatest creative freedom, Balestrini denies us a continuous narrative. The text circles round certain images, scenes and phrases, whirls away from them, rejoins them later. Some sentences connect to make a snippet of story, others are fragments isolated from each other. There’s a mixture of dialogue, domestic detail, scientific or technical information. Journeys which are usually interrupted, books which are endlessly being unpacked. Balestrini has also eliminated all punctuation bar full stops, apostrophes and hyphens, so that the reader decides on the emphasis, the tone of a sentence. The characters and place names are all indicated by the letter C. This sometimes leads to ambiguity: who crossed the room? who just spoke? The lines between the characters thus can become blurred. The narrative voice flickers between first, second and third person, perhaps to show characters, author and reader as complicit in creating the story and part of that story, as inseparable from each other.
If that hasn't put you off, you are a real die-hard and you can read the rest of the review here and find the publishers, Verso, here. I have to say, it's a novel that makes you work very hard to read it and writing about it was difficult too, but I thought it totally worth the effort. The book, I mean; I do seem to have wittered on rather in the review.