He and Mikhail Iossel co-edited the newly released Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia.
Last week I asked Parker what he was reading. His reply:
The last great book I read in English was Roberto Bolano's Savage Detectives. He is really, I think, the true heir to Borges and Marquez. I turned a friend on to him who preceded to read everything he has in translation. He kicked me the story collection Last Evenings on Earth, which I devoured in just a couple sittings. The thing is, formally speaking, they're not such great stories. And Bolano is not a stylist at all. In fact, if the translation is on, then his style is rather crude. But he has that kind of inexplicable magic that some writers have: he creates alternate realities that manage, despite their formal experimentation--and I know this sounds cheesy as hell--to transport you completely. I have 2666 sitting on my shelf but do not have the time quite yet to make the commitment, but I will. I will. I should say my typical habit, upon discovering a book I like a lot by a writer I've never read before, is to stop there. I am easily disappointed and a disappointment in subsequent work reflects back on the previous and so I like to keep my idea of one thing my idea of that thing. So far Bolano is an exception.Read more about Ovenman and Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia.
I also recently read Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang to see what the fuss was about. The marketers claim it is the book that started the environmental "terrorism" movement a la Earth First and Animal Liberation Front. It is a really fun book with a questionable, and, I believe, cautionary ending. But it is not great.
Because I spent the past year reading short stories in Russian for a new anthology I just co-edited, I got hooked on several of the authors and have been reading their stuff in Russian. Natalya Klyuchareva's novel Rossiya: Obshchi Vagon (I don't know of a satisfactory translation for this; it refers to the "Common Wagon" class on Russian trains and some people have suggested translating it as Russia On Wheels, which I don't really like) and Zakhar Prilepin's story collection Boots Full With Hot Vodka both of which really, urgently need to be translated into English. They are too good not to be.