The Mookse and the Gripes discussion

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Favorite Presses > Fitzcarraldo Editions

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments The winners of the inaugural Republic of Consciousness Prize with Counternarratives, the New Statesman said Fitzcarraldo Editions is probably the most exciting publishing house in the UK right now and I would say certainly the published producing consistently the highest quality of books.

Their mission statement
Fitzcarraldo Editions is an independent publisher specialising in contemporary fiction and long-form essays. Founded in 2014, it focuses on ambitious, imaginative and innovative writing, both in translation and in the English language. The series, designed by Ray O'Meara, are published as paperback originals with French flaps, using a custom serif typeface (called Fitzcarraldo).

Their past books include, in addition to the 2017 RoC winner, the quite brilliant Pond, the magnificent Zone (winner of the shadow 2016 MBI) and they brought Svetlana Alexievich to UK readers before she won the Nobel.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6145 comments My view as a subscriber is that a typical publication by them is very high quality and worthy (in a literary sense), but often a little too long and, most enjoyable when dipped into rather than read cover to cover.

Compass, the Prix Goncourt Winner, would be a typical example of this.


message 3: by Paul (last edited Mar 28, 2018 10:24AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments The MBI listed Flights is similar - the dip into sort of books has its place, it is just that both of us tend to be serial readers.

But for sheer quality I don't think there is another publisher in the UK in the same league.


message 4: by Neil (new)

Neil | 1979 comments Ah - now, I was completely gripped by Flights and read it in as few sittings as possible as I did not want to put it down. Compass, on the other hand...


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert | 2119 comments I read the dolls alphabet and it was great! I have pond and counter narratives on the tbr pile


message 6: by Tommi (last edited Aug 13, 2018 10:42AM) (new)

Tommi | 515 comments Speaking of discounts, check your email if you’ve subscribed to their newsletter. I might have just subscribed for the next 12 fiction titles...


message 7: by Neil (new)

Neil | 1979 comments Me, too - I have just signed up for several fiction titles.


message 8: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments Tommi, from what I understand you're not in the UK (correct me/sorry if I'm wrong) so as an international member, how are the shipping costs and conditions? I would prefer to order from indie presses directly instead of using "proxies" like BookDepository but I always find the shipping costs exuberant...


message 9: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 515 comments Maddie, you’re right, I’m based in Helsinki, Finland!

Fitzcarraldo is surprisingly cheap in terms of international shipping, compared to many other small presses. The shipping cost for my 12-book subscription was merely 10 pounds (11 euros). I don’t know how they do it, and I hope I’m not a too expensive customer... (Considering that the UK review copies I get in the mail have cost, according to the packages, around 7 euros for the publishers, and that’s commonly just one book.)

Anyhow, Fitzcarraldo has an excellent webstore, so you can check the European shipping fee easily when the books are in the basket (and I’m assuming you live in Portugal?). Their customer service is also top-notch.


message 10: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments Thank you! That seems a lot more reasonable for the amount of books you're ordering... It's weird that there's so many disparity in international sites and shipping costs, but that's likely due to the size of the entity itself (BookDepository is free but they're a huge site so that's likely why).

And yes, you're right, I'm in Portugal. Don't know if there's any difference, but I'll check once I order something from them. :-) Thank you again!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6145 comments An English language debut novel
A crime novel
A graphic novel

Booker longlist or Fitzcarraldo publication list?


message 12: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Graphic novel?


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6145 comments Yes. Nocilla Lab.


message 14: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Interesting - albeit a graphic novel seems a little of a stretch as a description. Haven't read the first two parts of the trilogy, which I probably should to complete this one.

Must admit after a very strong start with River haven't been 100% impressed by Fitzcarraldo this year on the fiction side. Some of their non-fiction has been exceptional though e.g. The Years, This Little Art.


message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments has your copy arrived?


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6145 comments I was taking my description from Fitzcarraldo’s Twitter account.


message 17: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 5597 comments Thank you for the links to the translation essays, Paul. They were very interesting. Am I way off base feeling that Moser was almost chauvinistic in his criticism of Briggs? Maybe I feel that because he was condescending.
Briggs assertion that we need translated books needs no arguments to bolster that statement anymore than one needs to offer a defense of a declaration that we need good books made in a literary context.
Translation is work for the confident. I can’t imagine trying to convey what Saramago meant to say in a different language/culture and feeling sure that I did it justice!
I’m sure you read that GG Marquez felt that Gregory Rabassa’s English translation was superior to Marquez’ work in Spanish.


message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Yes I would agree Moser's comments had that flavour, even more so given that one of Briggs's aims was to rehabilitate the reputation of some female translators of classic works whose translations are often regarded as inferior nowadays, particularly Helen Lowe-Porter, first English translator of Thomas Mann.


message 19: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 5597 comments If I even whittle down my TBR This Little Art sounds very interesting.


message 20: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Paul wrote: "Yes I would agree Moser's comments had that flavour, even more so given that one of Briggs's aims was to rehabilitate the reputation of some female translators of classic works whose translations are often regarded as inferior nowadays, particularly Helen Lowe-Porter, first English translator of Thomas Mann.."

As I understand it, the criticism of Helen Lowe-Porter as a translator for Thomas Mann is that she disapproved of homosexuality and decided she would rewrite some sections. That's taking translation a bit too far I'd say!


message 21: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments That is a criticism but not the only one and not what Briggs discusses (and Moser disputes).


message 22: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments The discussion is more around errors and whether they are nitpicking or major flaws. Also in Briggs's case that she feels a lot of the criticism is patronising / sexist. Mann himself didn't feel a woman was adequate to the role when Porter was originally proposed.


message 23: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Sorry, I haven't read the essays - I see you are thanked for the links but I don't see them... I am using my desktop at the moment so can't blame it on the phone.


message 24: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments The links were originally in the Milkman thread. Here they are:

Moser's NYT review of This Little Art from June:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/bo...

Letter to the NYT in response, from 9 translators including Susan Bernofsky and Lydia Davis:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/bo...

Tim Parks' recent NYRB article 'Why Translation Deserves Scrutiny':
https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/10...


message 25: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Thank you!


message 26: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Thanks Antonomasia (I was on a plane so hadn't seen Amy's request)


message 27: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Ang's (autocorrect!)


message 28: by Jibran (last edited Nov 05, 2018 12:08PM) (new)

Jibran (marbles5) | 289 comments Antonomasia wrote: "The links were originally in the Milkman thread. Here they are:

Moser's NYT review of This Little Art from June:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/bo..."


Interesting debate. Moser might have misrepresented Briggs' views in her book and might also be guilty of flippant, condescending remarks etc but it is difficult to disagree with the main thrust of his argument about the nature of translation and the job of a translator itself. (None of the responders have addressed that). Linguistic resourcefulness, fidelity to the text and its voice, style and register - these are basic requirements everyone understands, but these things aren't easy to grasp and turn into practice and present huge challenges to the translators when they sit down to work especially with a 'difficult' text.

Tim Parks' method of 'showing' through examples as to why certain translations are not good enough makes more sense than mouthing generalities about the art of translation as Moser has apparently done. But I still can't fault him for making the argument against the fancy notion that translation is an art on par with other creative arts and that translators should be free to make their own choices without expecting criticism from their peers.

Also, 'looking at the whole' has its advantages in literary history but this still does not make a translator untouchable. If Lowe-Porter is responsible for bringing Mann into English singlehandedly for a long time, then so does Constance Garnett for doing the same for Tolstoy. And if I remember correctly, Tolstoy 'authorised' Garnett's translations of his work. But this does not mean that we overlook her mistakes and weaknesses because of her special station in the history of Tolstoy-in-English, but opt for better or improved translations if they are available (and they are). I don't know Russian to compare various translators of Tolstoy so I turn to those who know both languages and try to come to a studied conclusion. When I want to read Tolstoy (and other Russians) I avoid Constance Garnett as much as possible. For Tolstoy I go to the Maudes because they capture Tolstoy better than his authorised and first translator.

Lowe-Porter is in the same position as Constance Garnett.


message 29: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments WSJ article on independent publishers including Fitzcarraldo. Have only read the non-paywalled beginning: https://www.wsj.com/articles/these-in...
Is the rest of it much good?


message 30: by Ang (last edited Nov 19, 2018 06:15AM) (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Received an email from Fitzcarraldo with a discount. I've ordered Drive Your Plow...

We’re running an autumn sale until 25 November, with 30 per cent off all orders on our website (fitzcarraldoeditions.com/shop), including bundles, subscriptions and all backlist titles.

Where you could normally pick your own 4/8/12 books for £35/£70/£100 (inc. postage in the UK), the 30 per cent discount still applies. Which works out, should you be greedy, at 12 books for £70. The offer is valid on any and all purchases on our website.

Use the discount code ‘Fitzcarraldo2018’ at check-out to take advantage of the offer.



message 31: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Thanks - I would resubscribe but I already have a couple of year's unexpired subscriptions left to use up.


message 32: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 515 comments I placed another big order. It completes my set of all fiction titles they’ve published, and begins a new project: essays.


message 33: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments The essays are very good - not usually my thing but those I've read are converting me.


message 34: by Neil (last edited Nov 19, 2018 10:30AM) (new)

Neil | 1979 comments Ah - so the essays are worth trying then? I wanted to buy something at such a good deal but I have all the fiction I want.


message 35: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 515 comments I’ve been meaning to read some of their essay titles for a long time. Around half of them sound very enticing. I ordered The Years, Limbo, This Little Art, Not to Read, and The Second Body.


message 36: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments This Little Art and The Years are both excellent - and The Years could be seen as autofiction. And they have a Nobel Prize winner on their books as well.


message 37: by Neil (last edited Nov 19, 2018 11:25AM) (new)

Neil | 1979 comments Thanks. I've ordered a bundle of 4 books (realised there are some fiction ones there that I would actually like to read, so two fiction and two essays). At £24.50 as a bundle with discount added and no p&p, that's basically half price. Happy days!


message 38: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Tokarczuk's The Books of Jacob is now showing as March 2020 on Amazon (was down for August 2019). They only have a Spring 2019 catalogue out now, and it's not in, but that wouldn't show books for August anyway.


message 39: by Antonomasia (last edited Dec 28, 2018 04:49PM) (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Was reminded of this by the general discussion about subscriptions on the Two Lines thread earlier, but what's the deal with Fitzcarraldo having an address in Knightsbridge? Do they have some kind of discount on it via someone they know? While I'm not really in a position to be subscribing to lots of publishers anyway, if I were, that address would be saying "we don't really need your money" - or, especially with And Other Stories' move north, I would be wondering why money was going to support business rent in Knightsbridge rather than presumably cheaper premises in a less prestigious area.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6145 comments This does not answer the question but gives some interesting background

https://lithub.com/interview-with-a-g...


message 42: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Office space in 243 Knightsbridge is being advertised at £30 per sq ft, which coincidentally is the same cost as prime office space in central Leeds per Savills, so the extra cost may not be huge.

Employing staff is obviously more expensive but it is a very small operation.

The Northern Fiction Alliance is an important collective of several independent small presses, both establishing a common voice (eg joint marketing at internationa bookfairs) as well as promoting regional diversification of the industry.

They have been promoting moving out of London for cultural diversity of both voices and the workforce:

http://northernfictionalliance.com/ne...

although as a small aside, some of their rationale has verged on the anti-London ("frankly too chaotic to move to" in the letter albeit that is qualified by "for some". I recall some more anti-London tone when they launched this campaign)

Their valuable plea has been for the bigger publishers to also set up an out of London office to go with a London one.


message 43: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 515 comments I hadn’t read the Hotel interview before, thanks. It’s very good.


message 44: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments ("frankly too chaotic to move to" in the letter albeit that is qualified by "for some".

Compared with other major cities, it is a chaotic experience because spaces are very cramped, and if you are living in a small flat (much smaller than in other cities) or share where most people are out during the day, it's difficult even to buy a lot of non-food items if you live and work outside the centre and can't often get to depots to collect parcels. The big orgnisational advantage London has compared with most other cities, though, is the quality of public transport between non-central areas, without always having to take a massive detour into the centre to change.


message 45: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 5597 comments Those were interesting articles and they answered my question about Fitzcarraldo and New Directions, most importantly I am now aware of The White Review!


message 46: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments Jacques Testard who founded the press got in touch to clarify the Knightsbridge address:

About the Knightsbridge address: when I started The White Review in 2010 with Ben Eastham, we had no idea what we were doing, and no money. Initially we went to friends, family friends, and friends of friends presenting our idea for the magazine, and hoping people might support us with a small donation. We ended up raising £7,000 to launch the magazine and build a website. One person we approached at that time didn't give us any money, but said we could set up shop in their Knightsbridge office, which wasn't always occupied rent-free. When I set up Fitzcarraldo Editions, the arrangement continued, and I was able to run the press from that address without paying any rent for four years. Sadly that arrangement has now come to an end, and we moved out last September 2018. We're now in Deptford – much more representative of the publishing house's finances – where we share an office space with The White Review (which I no longer edit).

I hope that clarifies things if you or any of the other members of the forum are still wondering!



message 47: by Antonomasia (new)

Antonomasia | 2629 comments Oh, that is such a good-natured response as well. Certainly a shoestring business, starting on £7k. Had noticed the Deptford bit the last time I was on their site.

And this backs up what has already been said about publishers and authors reading the boards.


message 48: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9706 comments He said he stumbled across it googlingwhileatalooseend


message 49: by Tommi (new)

Tommi | 515 comments I received Animalia in the mail today. Very keen to read it, it’s one of my most anticipated releases this year.


message 50: by Declan (new)

Declan | 189 comments The review I wrote of Animalia for the Irish Times is here: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/bo...


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