Quiet Mischief at Play
March 1, 2013 | by Faber Social
On March 4th, Faber Social celebrated our first monthly event of the Spring with perhaps our most international line-up of novelists so far. Nadeem Aslam, Pakistani-born and Huddersfield raised, and Deborah Levy, the recently Man Booker-shortlisted author of Swimming Home, shared a stage with two Argentine writers of very different sensibilities, Iosi Havillo and Patricio Pron. An evening broadly dedicated to Lost in Translation, Levy offered us an intoxicating shot from her just published collection, Black Vodka after we had heard Aslam read with poetic, almost visionary, intensity from one of the most acclaimed novels of the year, The Blind Man’s Garden. The sense that perhaps we had just witnessed one of 2012′s Booker-alumni handover to a candidate for 2013 was impossible to indulge, just for a moment.
Either side of these established but uncompromising literary voices were the two young Argentine novelists. Pron, a Granta ‘Best of Young Spanish Writer’, was up first, reading from his forthcoming English language debut, My Fathers’ Ghost is Climbing in the Rain. Hailed as one of the leading lights of a new generation of Latin American novelists not in thrall to Garcia Marquez and his peers, Pron’s reading displayed the intellectual dexterity of his storytelling voice but also a sense of quiet mischief at play. Havillo concluded the evening with a chapter from Open Door, his first novel, which is about to be published by And Other Stories, the vigorous and fearless Wycome-based independent, who already boast an enviable list of translated and English language fiction. In an act of bold repetition, Havillo performed his reading first in English, then in a visibly more animated Spanish. ‘The music’, he said, of a writer reading his work, was what mattered.