Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Warten auf die Aras: The writing life has formal satisfactions, but also its true rewards

I'm happy to see that Warten auf die Aras, the German edition of my book Waiting For The Macaws, is now published and in circulation. A handful of copies came by courier this morning, and it looks lovely. It's published by Zweitausendeins in the German rendering of the original title, while in America, Thomas Dunne published it as The Sixth Extinction and in the UK, Saqi published it under the title The Lost and Left Behind. All of which I find amusing, because it is a peculiar sort of book and difficult to situate in the any of the conventional categories, which was my intention when I set out to write the thing in the first place. It does drive the marketing-department boffins to distraction, mind you.

I'm also happy to see that the book will soon be the subject of a short documentary on Kulturzeit, which broadcasts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

But the news about the book that really makes me happy today is that it was more or less the inspiration behind the artist and cinematographer Apichatpong Weerasethaku's Primitive, a multiscreen installation that's opening at the Haus der Kunst in Munich later this month and will be released as a feature length film next year. "The book sparked my interest in issues of extinction, about the disappearance of species and beliefs," Weerasethaku says, and he chose the Thai village of Nabua, and its tragic story, to explore the questions raised in the book. Nabua became a"widow's town" during the Thai army's occupation from the 1960s to the 1980s, when Nabua's communist partisans were forced to flee into the jungle.

Weerasethaku got the book as a gift from Peter Sellars, and it is in these ways that ideas sometimes make their way through the world. Serendipity rears its lovely head now and again: After the Thai government decided to censor his film Syndromes and a Century, Weerasethaku founded the free speech mobilization called Free Thai Cinema, and you can sign its petition here.


Blogger bp said...

Very cool.

Your fame and power grows day by day...

1:19 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

That's right, Brian. I am positively drunk with power and can't nick round to the shops without bumping into a paparazzo.

1:24 AM  
Blogger Kurt Langmann said...

Good on you Terry and well deserved for a fine read.

But don't let it go to your head, there is always someone who'll take the piss:

1:40 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

That's hilarious, Kurt.

8:41 AM  

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