9 March 09 | Chad W. Post

The Observer Translation Project is a relatively new website featuring news, reviews, and samples from and about Romanian authors. From the About Us page:

We highlight a “pilot” author each month. This is the place to learn about Romanian writers, find updates on Romanian writing abroad, read CV’s, take a look at covers published in countries around the globe, check out the bibliographies, dip into author photos, search our steadily growing archive, and discover essays that put Romanian writing in context. Look for single author fiction issues every month, with free-wheeling updates in between. OTP translates into English, Dutch French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish, with room for guest languages on board.

And this month’s feature author is Ştefan Agopian, whose work is described as follows:

Agopian’s novels and short fiction build a world in which the real illuminates the imaginary and where the opposite is equally true. It’s no accident that the most frequently heard remark in Agopian’s world—“I don’t know; I imagine“—reverberates on political, historical and metaphysical plane. In Agopian-land, the denizens of a place much like 19th Century Romania inhabit a zone recognizable to Western readers as a desperate Wonderland where Borges and Pynchon would feel at home. In this mind-space anyone is free to conclude that “even if the facts aren’t true, that really has no importance.”

Overall, there’s a healthy amount of information available on this site, including samples from a host of authors, a list of forthcoming translations from the Romanian, synopses of a number of Romanian books, and reviews/essays.

Definitely worth checking out, both for the features listed above and for the blog, which tracks information about Romanian literature.

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Rambling Jack
Rambling Jack by Micheál Ó Conghaile
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Reviewed by Christopher Iacono

Even though the latest from Jean Echenoz is only a thin volume containing seven of what he calls “little literary objects,” it is packed with surprises. In these pieces, things happen below the surface, sometimes both literally and figuratively. As. . .

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Reviewed by Emily Goedde

Who is this woman? This is the question that opens Xiao Bai’s French Concession, a novel of colonial-era Shanghai’s spies and revolutionaries, police and smugglers, who scoot between doorways, walk nonchalantly down avenues, smoke cigars in police bureaus, and lounge. . .

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For the past 140 years, Anna Karenina has been loved by millions of readers all over the world. It’s easy to see why: the novel’s two main plots revolve around characters who are just trying to find happiness through love.. . .

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The Cold Song
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Linn Ullmann’s The Cold Song, her fifth novel, is built much like the house about which its story orbits: Mailund, a stately white mansion set in the Norwegian countryside a few hours drive from Oslo. The house, nestled into the. . .

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This Life
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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. . .

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