On Sunday, the Northern California Book Awards took place, and David Frick won for his translation from the Polish of Jerzy Pilch’s A Thousand Peaceful Cities. In honor of this accomplishment, we’re going to spend the day here at Open Letter with “a billion barrels of beer.” No, but seriously, we will.
And for the next week (through 4/19), anyone who signs up for a new subscription will receive a free copy of this book.
For the handful of you who didn’t immediately click over to the Open Letter ordering page, you might be interested in knowing that in Poetry Translation category, John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis won for their translation from the Greek of Maribor by Demosthenes Agrafiotis.
Here’s a link to the official page at Post-Apollo Press, and below is a brief description that I swiped from “SPD”: (where you can order the book):
Demosthenes Agrafiotis’s Maribor is a book of thoughts, impressions, expressions and reflections from his travels to Hesperia (Western Europe) in the period 1980-90. The book is concerned with the constantly elusive identity of Europe as a geographic place, as a cultural gamble, as a historical problem, as a horizon for the future of humankind. “Maribor gives us both artifact—of the ephemera of communication, institutions, power—as well as blueprint for imagining an ‘alphabet of the future.’ A master of the contemporary hermetic, Agrafiotis can bring to light in one stroke both the evanescence and endurance of the writing on the wall“—Eleni Stecopoulos.
Karel Schoeman’s Afrikaans novel, This Life, translated by Else Silke, falls into a genre maybe only noticed by the type of reader who tends toward Wittgenstein-type family resemblances. The essential resemblance is an elderly narrator, usually alone—or with one other. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .