Backchat: Kudos and About the Size of the Universe

Splice publishes new content on Mondays and Wednesdays, but throughout the week we bulk it out with bonus material on Facebook and Twitter. On Fridays, “Backchat” looks at the week that was and gathers up all the bonus material in one place.

Rachel Cusk, Kudos

Rachel Cusk, Kudos.
Faber & Faber. £16.99.
Buy direct from the publisher.

This week on Splice, the personal was political and vice-versa: we covered two novels that each weave an individual drama out of national political traditions and debates. On Monday, guest contributor MacKenzie Warren reviewed Kudos, the concluding volume in Rachel Cusk’s “Faye” trilogy, which takes the Brexit referendum as its backdrop. On Wednesday, our resident Icelandic literature aficionado, Alec Dewar, took a scalpel to Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s About the Size of the Universe, translated by Philip Roughton, and found the novel provocative but in want of a thorough edit.

Cusk’s promotional tour for Kudos hasn’t been as strong as her tour for her previous novel, Transit, so there’s not as much material out there which relates specifically to her new book. You can read the opening pages of Kudos online at Granta, and you can read another brief extract from the novel at the Paris Review. But other than that, you’ll have to satisfy yourself with a couple of interviews in which Cusk expounded on the creative principles underpinning OutlineTransit, and Kudos: with Caille Millner at Green Apple Books and with Michael Silverblatt on KCRW’s Bookworm.

Jón Kalman Stefánsson, About the Size of the Universe (trans. Philip Roughton)

Jón Kalman Stefánsson,
About the Size of the Universe.
Translated by Philip Roughton.
MacLehose Press. £14.99.
Buy direct from the publisher.

Jón Kalman’s new book, like Cusk’s, is a sequel to his previous novel, Fish Have No Feet, which was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize in 2017. There’s an interview with the author at Words Without Borders, and an interview with his translator as well, and you can catch some footage of Jón Kalman in conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival a couple of years ago. If you’d like to sample his work in About the Size of the Universe, you can read the first few chapters at Amazon and we also tweeted a few passages yesterday.

That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll be back with more reviews and a couple of exciting announcements. Follow Splice on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with everything as it unfolds…