Posts Tagged ‘Edgar Bayley’

Dr. Pi is “a fantastic translation and a rollicking good read”

Monday, December 12th, 2011

I’m overdue to put up some fantastic recent reviews, including this one of Edgar Bayley’s The Life and Memoirs of Dr. Pi & Other Stories (translated by Emily Toder), which was reviewed by Dustin Michael in the most recent issue of Big Muddy. It’s only in print, but here’s an excerpt:

The Life and Memoirs of Dr. Pi and Other Stories is a fantastic translation and a rollicking good read… Bayley is a master of word economy and concision, and it is breathtaking to watch him establish scene and advance plot in so little space. … Like the best cowboys from American westerns, Pi is taciturn but not smug, a confident and unhesitating man of action… Even Philip Marlowe, Raymond Chandler’s down-on-his-luck detective, whom Bayley pulls unceremoniously from some dusty noir pantry shelf and re-bakes into Pi in equal parts homage and spoof, seems hesitant and verbose by comparison. …

To follow the adventures of Dr. Pi is to imagine a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle/Jules Verne hero facing Raymond Chandler goons for quick bouts in an arena designed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Bayley’s wit is a gleaming razor; his masterful command of language betrays his career as poet and a playwright. Even as the stories parody various literary genres (noir, magical realism, classic mystery), they follow Max Beerbohm’s advice regarding caricature—that all elements “be melted down, as in a crucible, from the solution, be fashioned anew.”

And as a bonus, here are some amazing Bayley poems, just translated by Emily Toder, from the latest issue of Gulf Coast.

Love for Clockroot short stories from the Short Review

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

I was happy to learn about The Short Review in (for a publisher) the best way, by reading their warm reviews of two Clockroot books. On The Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi:

These often hysterically funny short fictions – occasionally teetering on the brink of becoming prose poetry and presented in a delightful, slightly odd-sized book -  are, shockingly, the first time this major Argentinian poet, playwright, essayist and director has been translated into English, by Emily Toder. As with Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s A Life On Paper, this makes me furious. Why has it taken so long? But enough of fury, let us move on to enjoyment with a tinge of philosophical enquiry, which is really what Dr. Pi himself is after.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book, which entertains but does more than that. These stories are both ordered and chaotic, dream-like and yet truthful. Through humour, sheer oddness and philosophical musings, Bayley conveys back to us something of our world, in which nothing ends neatly, no-one can really save the day, and when it comes down to it, everything should be put on hold in order to spend time with a “young brunette with bare, powerful legs, shorts, and a striped T-shirt” on a tandem bike.

Read in full here.

And on Blue Has No South: “a collection that tests out our notions of story, stretches them, and leaves us wanting to dip back into the collection again and again”—read the full review here. There’s also a wonderful interview with Alex Epstein:

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing [these stories]? 

AE: At the beginning no, I just wanted to see if I could find a different form for my art, much more focused and dense. To tell a story with few words as possible, a story that sometimes catches just one emotional movement between two people, and sometimes tries to grasp the whole world. After a while I started to think about the “absence of words” as of a material, and was able to aim for a collection of such micro fiction. There is still something deep that draws me toward this.

This Tuesday at Schoen Books! Emily Toder & Dr. Pi

Monday, November 29th, 2010


On Tuesday, November 30, at 7:30 the wonderful Schoen Books in South Deerfield will be hosting an evening of new literature in translation, read by some of the Valley’s fantastic local translators. Emily Toder will read from Edgar Bayley’s The Life & Memoirs of Doctor Pi, and Nicholas Rattner and Marta del Pozo will read from Peruvian poet Yvan Yauri’s Fire Wind—forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse—and from Czar Gutierrez’s novel 80M83RD3R0. Please join us!

Publishers Weekly on Dr. Pi: “Delightfully oblique,” “tantalizing vignettes”

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The Life & Memoirs of Dr. PiThis week Publishers Weekly reviews The Life & Memoirs of Dr. Pi:

The Life & Memoirs of Dr. Pi and Other Stories
Edgar Bayley, trans. from the Spanish by Emily Toder, Interlink/Clockroot, $13 trade paper (86p) ISBN 978-1-56656-837-1
The late Argentinean avant-gardist Bayley brings a poetic precision to the short-shorts of his first English translation. Most stories feature the urbane title character, a professor, would-be ladies’ man, and sometime foil, whose philosophy is best summed up in the 110-word story, “The Charmer,” which opens with “I say nothing, I think nothing…” and closes with “There is nothing but moments, a few small moments.” An intellectual everyman brimming with curiosity, the doctor is frequently given to pearls of wisdom, as in “The Return”: “There is no innocence where there is not love.” Stories find him under waterfalls, boarding trains with highly watchable passengers, or descending mountains on his way to a date. Observations are often delightfully oblique, and the best escapades arrive unsaddled by a tidy message or punch-line surprise. Only a few stories run longer than a page; Bayley’s fictions are tantalizing vignettes, amusing and often absurd, and readers will likely feel a pleasant nostalgia for the elegant humor of a bygone age.

The new Massachusetts Review brings a taste of Pi

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Massachusetts ReviewThe Autumn 2010 issue of the Massachusetts Review is out, and in it three stories from The Life and Memoirs of Dr. Pi—alongside poetry by Ko Un, Donald Revell, an essay on colonialism & the poetry of rebellion by Martin Espada, and translations translations translations… I will hunt down a copy this weekend! For all you translators out there, note that the MR is also offering a new prize for work in translation: details here.

I also neglected to note that this fall Dr. Pi made an appearance at Route 9, the new online literary magazine of the UMass MFA program. The first issue features poetry, prose, criticism, interviews, art etc. by Matthew Zapruder, Heather Christle, Zach Savich, Leni Zumas, I would keep listing but you could also just click over and have a look…

A new issue of eXchanges, with Emily Toder

Friday, May 21st, 2010

This fall Clockroot will release the first work in English by Argentine poet (& playwright, director, translator, essayist) Edgar Bayley, the fantastic The Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi & Other Stories, translated from the Spanish by Emily Toder. In the meantime check out Emily’s translations of Felipe Benitez Reyes’ “From the Errant Astrologer” in the new eXchanges.  There’s also an essay by Lawrence Venuti to inspire discussion (made me shift in my chair a little as I thought about incidents in my own editing of translations; someday perhaps I’ll gather myself to write a little note about that).  This is also a good time to point out the excellent work that happens over at eXchanges, a place to keep a close eye on.