20 July 10 | Chad W. Post | Comments

Over the past few years, Amazon.com has been awarding grants to a number of interesting projects, including a lot of ones related to literature in translation. Their list of grantees includes Open Letter (for The Wall in My Head,), PEN America (for the Translation Fund), Words Without Borders, Copper Canyon, Milkweed, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Poets & Writers, Small Press Distribution, etc., etc.

The latest addition to the list is the extremely worthy Archipelago Books:

Archipelago Books is delighted to announce today that it is among a diverse group of nonprofit organizations to receive a $25,000 grant from Amazon.com. Archipelago Books is a Brooklyn, NY-based not-for-profit press dedicated to publishing world literature in translation. The generous grant from Amazon.com will be used to support the forthcoming publication of the novel Stone Upon Stone, written by Nike Prize-winning author Wiesaw Myliwski and translated from the Polish by Bill Johnston. The novel will be released in December of 2010.

Myliwski’s novels and plays, among them Widnokrag [Horizon] (1996) and Traktat o uskaniu fasoli [A Treatise on Shelling Beans] (2006) focus on life in the Polish countryside. Although he has twice received the Nike Award (the Polish equivalent of the Booker Prize), Stone Upon Stone will be Myliwski’s first work published in English translation. Stone Upon Stone has already received much praise in the Polish press. Anna Tatarkiewicz called the novel “the first masterpiece in Slavic literature, perhaps even in European literature, in which the fate of the peasant attains the standing of human fate in all its tragic vastness.” Meanwhile, Krystyna Dabrowska hailed the novel as “A hymn in praise of life. . . . A paean to speech and the art of storytelling.”

So great to see Amazon.com continue this program and their support of very interesting projects and presses.

And since everything’s connected, here’s a link to the most recent episode of the Reading the World podcast which features Bill Johnston talking about the process of translating Stone Upon Stone.

....
Morse, My Deaf Friend
Morse, My Deaf Friend by Miloš Djurdjević
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in _Morse, My Deaf Friend_— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .

Read More >

The Crimson Thread of Abandon
The Crimson Thread of Abandon by Terayama Shūji
Reviewed by Robert Anthony Siegel

The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .

Read More >

Life Embitters
Life Embitters by Josep Pla
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Last year, NYRB Classics introduced English-language readers to Catalan writer Josep Pla with Peter Bush’s translation of The Gray Notebook. In that book, Pla wrote about life in Spain during an influenza outbreak soon after World War I, when. . .

Read More >

The Physics of Sorrow
The Physics of Sorrow by Georgi Gospodinov
Reviewed by Izidora Angel

“Your bile is stagnant, you see sorrow in everything, you are drenched in melancholy,” my friend the doctor said.
bq. “Isn’t melancholy something from previous centuries? Isn’t some vaccine against it yet, hasn’t medicine taken care of it yet?” I. . .

Read More >

Vano and Niko
Vano and Niko by Erlom Akhvlediani
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

What to make of Vano and Niko, the English translation of Erlom Akhvlediani’s work of the same name, as well as the two other short books that comprise a sort of trilogy? Quick searches will inform the curious reader that. . .

Read More >

The Indian
The Indian by Jón Gnarr
Reviewed by P. T. Smith

The opening of Jón Gnarr’s novel/memoir The Indian is a playful bit of extravagant ego, telling the traditional story of creation, where the “Let there be light!” moment is also the moment of his birth on January 2nd, 1967. Then. . .

Read More >

Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories
Mother of 1084; Old Women; Breast Stories by Mahasweta Devi
Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Mahasweta Devi is not only one of the most prolific Bengali authors, but she’s also an important activist. In fact, for Devi, the two seem to go together. As you can probably tell from the titles, she writes about women. . .

Read More >