We are continuing to reissue Michael Brodsky‘s entire catalogue. This is installment #3. “Three Goat Songs” is a series of variations on a theme. It is divided into three novellas, each about a man who sits on a rocky coast by the seashore, contemplating. Herbs of goats come there to graze. The man is a husband and father of two children.
“Three Goat Songs” is an exploration into the existential boundaries, in the “sea-bounded goat world.” It is a philosophical look at the essential sameness and, at the same time, the diversity of all stories. It has in common with the other books of Michael Brodsky the theme of the protagonist’s struggle to survive, and more than that, to comprehend.
Together, this body of work has led critics to compare the writing of Michael Brodsky to that of the masters like Dostoevsky, Becket, Joyce.
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Circuits, by Michael Brodsky (BWLB, $ 5.99)
This startling novel (originally published in 1991) is the concentrated peak of Brodsky’s dynamic and unique vision. With a shifting group of characters—Mazel Tov Jones, Neddie and Eddie, Vladimir and Mr. and Mrs. Stein, Brodsky explores the thought process of a protagonist who is accused of a murder but is never sure of his crime or his accusers. Brodsky’s character becomes a model for all humans trying to find a self-identity, reduced to the simple yet tragic dilemma of trying to communicate with fellow men. Stripped of excess plot and locale, this novel expands on the visions of Beckett and Kafka, but with a uniquely American voice.
Circuits will surprise and engage the serious reader at a level that few contemporary writers attempt to reach. Brodsky lives up to Ezra Pound’s famous challenge—Make it new—and pushes fiction and the novel to new limits with spirit and vigor.
“Stanley Kubrick: The Odysseys,” by Fabrice Jaumont ($ 9.99, 140 pages)
April 2, 2018 was the 50th anniversary of a 1968 premiere screening in Washington, D.C. of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film remains the most fascinating cinematographic adventure given to experience. As a tribute to the masterpiece, and to the maestro himself, this essay which was first presented in 1995 as a scholarly paper explores the multiple connections to the Odyssean theme that one may find in Stanley Kubrick’s filmography.
Kubrick’s unweaving and re-weaving of the cinematographic tapestry reflect his attachment to the changeability implied in the Odyssean theme, which has become the theme of questioning, the perpetual questioning of one’s possibilities. The camera’s shuttling back and forth in time, round and round in space, through the means of dolly movements, shots and reverse shots, circular and spiraling recurrences, equates the director’s shuttling between classical and avant-garde techniques, between painting and photography, between musical intensity and spatial silence.
A chassé-croisé which the pluricephal director utilizes with a view to producing new angles of view and new parallaxes: a constant Kubrickian experimentation of the cinematographic language.
“Relative Man: the Music of Ionel Petroi,” by Ionel Petroi and Ivanka Stoïanova.
Born in Yugoslavia into an ethnic Romanian family, raised in Serbia, groomed in the Paris music circle before relocating to New York, if anything, provide a strong metaphor for Ionel Petroi’s “Musique Relative.” What came first the relative identity or the music? Is this latter the emanation of the former? In this long overdue memoir, Ivanka Stoïanova, a musicologist with worldwide experience, explores the relative journey of this complex modern, contemporary musician. Ivanka’s pointed questions allow Petroi to unravel himself in many unexpected ways. But always with sincerity and humility. We follow him from his humble beginning playing accordion in Serbian villages to his rise at the Paris Conservatory of Music, through his meetings and conversations with likes of Boulez and Ionesco, and scoring half-tone pieces for various ensembles, via the endless obsessive quest for honing and refining a personal musical style. Of course no journey, especially such an eclectic musician’s, would be complete without a little detour to visit his love of cinematic scores. This memoir spans a wide reaching scope of Petroi’s entire musical productivity to date. (Translated from the French by Frank Debonair)