Balance 2007 en inglés
¿Ha sido el 2007 un buen año literario? Para el periódico Los Angeles Times, Scott Timberg hace un balance de un año literario con bemoles. No sólo se refiere a la calidad de los libros publicados -que al parecer no impresionan mucho- sino a fenómenos importantes como la disminución de librerías (hoy justo salió una nota al respecto en Revista Ñ en contexto lainoamericano), el temor al libro virtual que deja a todos confusos y la disminución gradual de las páginas dedicadas a las reseñas, y a los literatura en general, en los medios de comunicación. La impresión que me queda no es la de un año triste, como lo sugiere el título de la nota, sino un año de remanso, un año tranquilo y de lento proceso, como corresponde al Año del Cerdo. Habrá que ver qué pasa el próximo, mucho más inquieto, que es el Año de la Rata.
Dice la nota: "The book world's actual output was much better than these problems would lead one to believe."It was a quieter year," said FSG's Galassi. "There were a lot of very good books published, but there weren't as many blockbuster literary books that swept everybody away."Dwight Garner, senior editor for the New York Times Book Review and writer of the Paper Cuts blog, concurred. "There was a lot of excitement about books by major writers -- Roth and DeLillo and Martin Amis and McEwan -- but the books weren't among those writers' major works. I happen to think that [McEwan's] 'On Chesil Beach' is beautiful. But all of them were mild disappointments."The year's best work, though, was strong indeed."You had to sort of pick around," said Garner, "but if you were paying attention it was a great year for fiction." One of his favorites was Joshua Ferris' "Then We Came to the End," the tale of dot-com downsizing, which Garner said would appeal to admirers of Nicholson Baker's novels as well as fans of the television show "The Office."It was also a year in which a dead Chilean literary novelist who'd never had a large English-language following, Roberto Bolaño, became a sensation here, with his 1998 novel "The Savage Detectives" translated into English and met with raves and genuine excitement.For Wasserman, it was a great year for the American novel, including books by younger novelists Dave Eggers ("What Is the What"), Michael Chabon ("The Yiddish Policeman's Union") and Junot Díaz ("The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.")"These are people of enormous reach and ambition, who are very devoted to language, and they are not oblivious to the times in which they're living." Nonfiction drew raves as well. "I think historians will look back and see 2007 as the year of the biography," said Garner. "From Claire Tomalin on Thomas Hardy to Arnold Rampersad on Ralph Ellison to David Michaelis on Charles Schulz. I think readers are taken with lives right now, and these are real narrative biographies that turn the lives into stories."And at a time of turmoil in the newspaper business, said Wasserman, books are filling in some of the gap in coverage of the Iraq war."If you look where publishers were five or six years into the Vietnam War, you'd see we have many more books that give you a look at the characters and the historical forces and even the internal workings of the intervention in Mesopotamia than was true during a similar period in Indochina."