Let's get right to it. Like many others, I'm eagerly awaiting June 27, when Harold Augenbraum's translation of Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere will appear (it's a Penguin Classics!). I can already imagine cracking the spine, I tell you. I mentioned this translation earlier in the year, but Mr. Augenbraum just left a comment thanking me (how crazy is that?!), and this inspired me to repeat the good news.
I'm currently reading Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam. It's rich as heavy cream, this novel. And who doesn't appreciate a tragic love story? In this case, our doomed protagonists are Pakistani immigrants living in England and barely breathing under the weight of their culture and religion. I read that it took Mr. Aslam eleven years to write this book, and it's no wonder. It is often achingly beautiful. This description of a female moth in its copper cage as she lures her suitors, for example:
The female was motionless except when it swished its wings gently to disperse the odour that had gradually flooded the two houses with the faint electricity of a yearning inexpressible in any other way, undetected by the humans but pulling the nineteen males towards its source slowly at first and then hand over hand a yard at a time as they learned to distinguish truth from lie and arrived to drape the entire cage in reverberating velvet.
I always like to read a classic—one I haven't read yet—during the Summer, and even though the following reveals me as possibly the biggest loser ever, I will tell you that this year it is Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I've started it already and am surprised at how fresh it sounds. As everyone but me already knows, the narrator's voice is worth the price of admission. And isn't this a handsome edition?
On the writing front, I just received a most welcome call from an agent who has asked to see the other half of my short story collection. Not surprisingly, I have some polishing to do. Okay, make that a lot of polishing to do. But that will have to wait until later because it is, after all, the girls' first official day of summer vacation, and I've promised to pack a picnic and take them to the park.