Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tonight: McNally Robinson's, Halloween, Funerary Violin & Rohan Kriwaczek

Thanks to Galleycat, Lauren & Maud , Book Nerd, And Now The Screaming Starts and Emdashery for all the blog-love. We hope to see you tonight at McNally Robinson for the only US appearance of the mysterious Rohan Kriwaczek before he jets back across the pond. Hear the funerary violin performed for the first time in a century!

Tuesday - October 31 - 6pm

Funerary Violin performance with Rohan Kriwaczek

An Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin

Rohan Kriwaczek's lavish history of the oppressed and fading Guild of Funerary Violinists was received with acclaim when it was purchased by Overlook Press. His accomplishment has been undiminished by the subsequent discovery that the Guild, the history, and the art of funerary violin itself seem to be entirely his own invention. There is, however, at least one funerary violinist: Rohan Kriwaczek himself. Stop by after 5:00pm to hear Rohan demonstrate his art with an eerie Halloween concert of funerary violin music, punctuated with a reading at 6:00pm from his beautifully written book and a chance for discussion with the author. Signing to follow.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Beyond Sleep in Publishers Weekly

The great Dutch novelist Willem Frederik Hermans' BEYOND SLEEP has finally been translated into English and will be available from The Overlook Press in May 2007. PW offers: "In this moving tragicomedy, Alfred's self-knowledge is achieved at great cost and offers him little hope. Hermans's portrayal of Alfred's existential transformation is deep and crystalline."

Gerald Seymour eyes Wall Street Journal Weekend's Top Five Terrorism Titles

Overlook's own Gerald Seymour graced the pages of the Wall Street Journal Weekend to reveal his picks for his Top 5 Most Riveting Terrorism Novels of All Time. Rat Run, Gerald's latest, is due in march 2007. Put it on your list.

Friday, October 27, 2006

From Our Comment Fields: Further Funerary Violins

From our Comment Fields. The plot thickens. See also here.

Jim Harris at Prairie Lights Books recently sent me an advance copy of AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF THE ART OF FUNERARY VIOLIN and I must take issue with his colleague Paul Ingram’s assessment that the book is a hoax. My belief is that the Rohan Kriwaczek hoax is itself a hoax. Let me explain. I am the director of MuseumZeitraim Leipzig and a former curator at The Wassmann Foundation, Washington, D.C. Research and scholarship at both institutions confirms that the Leipzig composer Hugo Wassmann, brother of the renowned artist Johann Dieter Wassmann, was an active member of the Lutheran wing of Leipzig’s Guild of Funerary Violinists in the 1890s. Hugo’s ultimate falling out with the Guild came in 1901 over his efforts to introduce the saxophone to funerary rights, a practice that would eventually take hold in the city of New Orleans with great success, although not among Lutherans. Hugo was a former captain in the Prussian army and regularly composed military marches inclusive of the saxophone. Here in Leipzig, the funerary violin has a long and crucial history, most often associated with Heironymous Gratchenfleiss. Gratchenfleiss’s extensive archives were in the care of Musikinstrumenten-Museum der Universität Leipzig, part of the Grassi Museum, but lost forever when the complex was gutted by fire in an Allied bombing raid on 3 December 1943. The un-sourced (and poorly translated) letter Kriwaczek quotes referencing Gratchenfleiss, dated 14 September 1787 (pp 62-63), which he simply describes as “by an unknown man named Fredrik,” is in fact by the pen of Fredrik Wassmann, grandfather of Johann and Hugo, describing the funeral of their great-grandfather, a funeral Gratchenfleiss performed. An original copy of the letter is in the archives of The Wassmann Foundation. The liberties Kriwaczek takes with his facts would appear to be part of a larger narrative strategy to make it appear he has created a hoax, when he hasn’t. What a dull book it would have been otherwise. Intriguing.

Sophie Vogt
MuseumZeitraum Leipzig

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Live Funerary Violin Halloween Night at McNally Robinson

Beginning at 5:30 on All Hallow's Eve, Rohan Kriwaczek will be playing violin in the store. Take a listen! He'll be reading a bit and taking questions and then signing copies before he is wisked off to his Trans-atlantic flight later that evening.

TUE 10/31 5:30 PM
McNally Robinson
52 Prince St.
(between Lafayette and Mulberry)
New York, NY

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Rookery Press

The Overlook Press' Tracy Carns is launching The Rookery Press this Fall and is releasing their first title, Patrick Süskind’s On Love and Death (just in time for the film version of Süskind’s Perfume). Check out today's Bookstandard article. Congratulations to Tracy!

Meet Rohan Kriwaczek and his Famous Funerary Violin

Rohan K will be in NYC this weekend for a few events. One Friday at 7 PM at the Last Rites Tattoo Theatre at 511 W. 33rd St., Suite 3N, 3rd Floor Between 10th and 11th. And he will be appearing on Halloween night (wooooooooooo!) at the famed McNally Robinson Booksellers on Prince St. More details will come. See you there.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Overlook Hall of Fame Inductee: John Mark

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We raise John Mark's number (and a glass) to the rafters. One of Overlook's best is moving on to greener pastures, much to our chagrin. We wish him the best of luck at Continuum! He was always a gamer and always the last to leave. Good luck, blogging buddy!--Jim

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Andre Schwarz-Bart and THE LAST OF THE JUST

Andre Schwarz-Bart died last week at the age of 78. His great novel The Last of the Just was reissued in paperback by Overlook in 2000.

"No one who reads The Last of the Just can ever be quite the same again. Though it is a stark tragedy on an epis scale, it is told with subtle and warm understanding for the foibles of mankind and for the irony and humor of man's way in this strange world."--Willim J. Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Friday, October 13, 2006

Patricia Edwards Clyne at the Historic Bear Mountain Toll House

This Saturday, October 14th, Patricia Edwards Clyne will be talking about her book Hudson Valley Faces & Places at the historic Bear Mountain Toll House in Upstate New York.

Pat will be around from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Toll House is located on Route 6/202 just north of Peekskill, and south of the Bear Mountain Bridge at 35 Bear Mountain Bridge Road, Cortlandt Manor, NY. Here's the googlemap.

It's a great weekend for checking out the fall foliage (which should be peaking right about now), so if you're headed that way, you should stop by and check it out.

Funerary Violins update

Emdashery follows up on Rohan Kriwaczek's book The Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin:
"I'm always curious about new and innovative ways to market a book. What James Frey did stunk big time, but selling a detailed accounting of a fictionalized history on an obscure and dark subject? That at least makes me smile..."
This has all taken us a bit by surprise, so bear with us here...We are rushing the book's release in the US and hope to have it on sale sometime in November (originally we were scheduled for January). And due to the very small initial printing, we are going back to press to meet the sudden demand for the book, so it may be hard to find at first, but we're doing the best we can. With a book this strange, I guess it makes sense that everything that follows will be touched by weirdness...

Previous posts on Funerary Violins can be found here, here, and here.
--John Mark

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ayn and Angelina

Just to expand on this earlier post, Library Journal has some extra dirt on Angelina Jolie and the upcoming film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. You can access that here.

Also, the schedule has been finalized for the Los Angeles' Ayn Rand in Hollywood exhibits, films screenings and lecture series, curated by Jeff Britting, head archivist at the Ayn Rand Institute and author of the Overlook Illustrated Lives book on Ayn Rand. You can check out all all the dates and times at the ARI's website here.

--John Mark

Shelving books...

I saw this on Gothamist the other day: "Instead of placing the book on a shelf, the book can be turned into a shelf itself."

I only see one problem with this: if I were to use a book as furniture that would look at every day, I'd want it to be a book that meant something to me, but it would be really hard to take a book that I loved and sew it shut and install brackets on it. Then again, it would also be kind of painful to own a shelf made out of Readers Digest condensed books... Maybe Catch 22 is the appropriate choice here.

--John Mark

Monday, October 09, 2006

I have seen the future of the book review

The Seattle weekly The Stranger ran a rather unconventional review of Mikhail Zoshchenko's book The Galosh:

Andrew Bleeker, a Stranger intern, took it upon himself to write a review of it using Zoshchenko's own words—the first three words of each story in The Galosh, but rearranged. Needless to say, Bleeker's grand designs collapsed around him. The resulting morass is half Mikhail Zoshchenko, half Gertrude Stein, and all crazy. The book, however, is recommended.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A procession of bloggers...

And a happy weekend to you all...

Funerary Violins on National Public Radio

Overlook and Duckworth publisher Peter Mayer was on NPR's "All Things Considered" last night discussing the controversy surrounding Rohan Kriwaczek's November book AN INCOMPLETE HISTORY OF THE ART OF FUNERARY VIOLIN, and the fascinating story of how he came to publish it.

To listen to the interview, read an excerpt from the book, and download some funerary dirges, click here.

And for a round up of the print coverage in the last couple days, click here.
--John Mark

300 and Thermopylae

Via Galleycat, I see that the movie trailer for "300," Zach Snyder's film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel depicting the battle of Thermopylae is now online at the Apple site. That was a mouthful.

Wow, I think the body count in the trailer alone probably tops 300 with ease...

Fans of the history behind the Spartan's last stand at Thermopylae as well as those looking to dig a little deeper than the admittedly amazing special effects in the film are advised to keep an eye out for Paul Cartledge's book, THERMOPYLAE: The Battle That Changed the World, which is set for release in November.
--John Mark

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violin on "All Things Considered"

Peter Mayer, Publisher of The Overlook Press, will be on NPR's "All Things Considered" this evening to discuss Overlook's forthcoming An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violin by Rohan Kriwaczek.

"It seems to be just another esoteric historical tome published to appeal to an academic audience: “An Incomplete History of the Art of the Funerary Violin,” by Rohan Kriwaczek, a nonfiction account of a little-known genre of music that was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church and almost wiped out by the Great Funerary Purges of the 1830’s and 40’s, according to the winter catalog for the Overlook Press. Except for a few niggling details..."
--New York Times

"Is it a hoax? A surrealist joke? A misunderstood artistic statement? The rarefied world of independent publishers was buzzing with these questions yesterday after a new book about the ancient musical tradition of funerary violin was attacked for being fiction."
--The Guardian UK

"Maybe I have been fooled. It is possible. But it reads so extraordinarily serious and passionate. If it is a hoax, I can only say, I have my cap off.

"I just thought, whether it is true or not true, it is the work of some crazy genius. If it is a hoax, it is a brilliant, brilliant hoax."
--Peter Mayer, quoted in Daily Mail

Monday, October 02, 2006

Peter Quinn profile on the AP wires

The Associated Press has a wonderful profile of Peter Quinn, author of Hour of the Cat (just out in paperback), The Banished Children of Eve, and coming up in February 2007, a collection of essays titled Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America.

The profile covers Quinn's preference of longhand and legal pad over typewriters or computers when it comes to writing his books, his deep love for New York history (Martin Scorcese used him as an adviser for "Gangs of New York," and he appears in Ken Burns' excellent PBS documentary miniseries, New York), as well as his earlier career as a speechwriter for New York governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo.

You can check out the full text over at Newsday: Book Award Winner Peter Quinn Does Things the Old Fashioned Way.

Mona Lisa a Mom?

Whoa, Madonna! Was the Mona Lisa pregnant when she was being painted? Is *that* what she's smiling about? Donald Sassoon, author of Leonardo and the Mona Lisa Story and Overlook's #1 Mona Lisa man tells Time Magazine about some of Mona's potential secrets. I bet she had twins: Condi Lisa and Lisa Lisa.--Jimmy