Dezsö Kosztolányi’s Skylark, recently re-printed and -distributed in a matte-cover slim paperback edition by NYRB and translated by Richard Aczel, a novel containing such gems as:
The sun was still shining. They opened a window and a tepid current of air streamed through the house, leaving columns of golden dust in its wake. One of Veres’s ragged, grimy brats loafed around in the yard outside. He was gnawing at a slice of dry bread, down which the thick sunlight trickled like honey. The boy seemed to be catching the drips with his tongue. In the distance, the sound of a gypsy band.
costs $14.95. For the Dedicated Bookstore Employee, the price is slashed to $10.46, +tax, of course. The DBE willing to review the book in 60 words or less (impossible, tortuous) recieves a $10 gift card. A bargain!
There remains, however, William H. Gass’ Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation; Roger Hahn’s painstakingly-researched Pierre Simon Laplace 1749-1827: A Determined Scientist, for some reason apparently only available in hardcover at the embarrassingly low price of $33.60. There remains Schonberg’s Lives of the Great Composers, something no self-respecting music-lover should be without; Goffman’s Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, something I should apparently have read at least twice by now; Danto’s Transfiguration of the Commonplace; Ilya Prigogine’s End of Certainty. Not to mention the necessity for a solid French dictionary in order to begin remedying the great embarrassment of having some command of French and three well-worn volumes of Proust on the shelf in English translation. And of course the Proust in French, then. And if that, then also Les Essais de Montaigne and Jacques Le Fataliste. There is Kотлован, there is белый. There is the fact that some sort of small book-light must be bought if I am to continue being able to see at all.
– Edit: I gave it up. First instance…I’d say… ever.