The French Connection

We love it when authors from other countries come out with translations — especially if they're wildly innovative, culty authors who have yet to be translated in English. Take France's Arno Bertina. If this guy were from San Francisco you'd be all over him; he'd be speaking at Porchlight and curating art shows in between "in conversation" events at Herbst Theater. Witness: His book I Learnt Not to Laugh at the Demon is biographical fiction dedicated to Johnny Cash, and his "philosophical road novel," Je suis une aventure, stars Roger Federer. We already love this guy, even without knowing he founded the elite Paris-based literary review Inculte. The trouble is, none of this has been translated into English. Finally, something has: his new book, Brando, My Solitude, which is not so much a novel as a "biographical hypothesis," in which the author and his grandfather meet posthumously. Don't think this is merely a cute narrative gambit; the book is weighty, described in the press release as "an exploration of an existence played quietly out across the 20th century, through provincial French childhood, war, colonization, and provincial French retirement." Tonight, Bertina appears in conversation with writer Laird Hunt in a Litquake event sponsored by the Consulate General of France in San Francisco, among others. (It's kind of a big deal, oui?)
Tue., Feb. 26, 7 p.m., 2013

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