Don’t miss our April Reading Series at KGB, when we host Alvaro Enrigue, author of Sudden Death and Rachel Cantor, author of Good on Paper. Join us for readings that take us from a 16th Century tennis match between Caravaggio and a the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, to today’s Upper West Side Manhattan, where a part-time writer thinks she’s found her entry to a grander version of her life.
Thursday, April 14 at KGB Bar and Red Room, 85 East 4th Street. 7-9 PM
Alvaro Enrigue’s Sudden Death, begins on a tennis court 1599, where the Spanish poet, nobleman and diplomat Francisco de Quevedo and the Italian painter and hooligan Caravaggio battle it out in front of a crowd that includes Galileo, Mary Magdalene, and a generation of popes who would throw the world into flames. For reasons neither can quite remember after a night of carousing, theirs is not just a grudge match but also a duel. And, though neither is aware of it, they are playing with a ball made from the hair of Queen Anne Boleyn of England, beheaded 63 years earlier.
Game by game, set by set, this match — a product of the author’s imagination, not of historical record — advances, with asides and digressions that reveal Mr. Enrigue’s presence and purpose.
“Sudden Death is the best kind of puzzle, its elements so esoteric and wildly funny that readers will race through the book, wondering how Álvaro Enrigue will be able to pull a novel out of such an astonishing ball of string. But Enrigue absolutely does; and with brilliance and clarity and emotional warmth all the more powerful for its surreptitiousness.” —Lauren Groff, New York Times-bestselling author of Fates and Furies.
Álvaro Enrigue is the author of five novels and two anthologies of short stories and his work has been translated into numerous languages. He has been an editor for the Fondo de Cultura Económica and a member of the editorial board of Letras Libres of Mexico. He is a literary critic in Mexico and Spain and a recipient of the Joaquín Mortiz Award and Spain’s Premio Herralde award. His novel El Cementerio de Sillas was selected best novel by Tempestad, a Mexican literary journal.
Rachel Cantor’s novel, Good on Paper, recommended by a host of book lists around the country this winter, follows a disillusioned permanent temp, Shira Greene, whose life hasn’t quite turned out as planned. With a few short stories published in minor literary magazines and an abandoned PhD on Dante’s Vita Nuova, Shira wonders whether a new life is possible.
So when Romei, winner of last year’s Nobel Prize and the irascible idol of grad students everywhere, asks her to translate his new book, Shira sees a new life beckoning: academic glory, a career as a literary translator, and even love (with a part-time rabbi and owner of her local indie bookstore). That is, until Romei starts sending her pages of the manuscript and she realizes that something odd is going on: his book may in fact be untranslatable. A deft, funny, and big-hearted novel about second chances, Good on Paper is a grand novel of family, friendship, and possibility.
“Good on Paper is a dazzling book that’s as much about translation and language as it is family and identity … With one-of-a-kind characters and brilliant insights on translation, this book will hit you in all your literary sweet spots.” – Bustle
Rachel Cantor’s stories have appeared in magazines such as the Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Fence, and Volume 1 Brooklyn. They have been anthologized, nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, short-listed by both the O. Henry Awards and Best American Short Stories, and awarded runner-up Bridport and Graywolf/SLS Prizes.