It’s a long wait between Helen DeWitt novels; I’m happy to report she has a short story, “That Obscure Object of Desire,” in Bullett magazine that you can read online at a link in DeWitt’s post (which I cannot reproduce in a way that doesn’t lead to a 404 page; also, she says, I’m sure accurately, that “the print edition is much nicer”). Anyone who enjoyed The Last Samurai (my rave) will enjoy this, as you can see from this snippet:
They have a shelf of paperbacks by Orhan Pamuk. He read one once. He’d like to buy it.
If Kitap = Buch then Kara Kitap =? Black Book. 15,50.
He does not know Turkish, but he opens the book and looks at the words. He feels closer to this writer, probably, than to any writer in any language he knows, read only in sentences with meanings tangled up with other encounters with the language.
The back cover has:
“Pamuk’un şaheseri.” THE TIMES
LITERARY SUPPLEMENT, İNGİLTERE
“Bir şaheser.” LIBÉRATION, FRANSA
“Zengin, yaratıcı, modern bir ulusal destan.” THE SUNDAY TIMES, İNGİLTERE
“Büyüleyici, çetin ve esrarlı bir işaretler girdabı. Bitmeyen bir enerji, çok nadir birşşey…” LIRE, FRANSA
He looks up “şaheser” in a Turkisch- Deutsch dictionary he does not mean to buy. Meisterwerk. A masterpiece.
(Typo warning: “смерь” should be смерть; the Polish quoted later on has “niezwzkąe” for niezwykłe in the version I see on my laptop, but that may not reflect what the magazine has on its site.)