Back a few weeks ago when The Guardian was running its series of short stories from Eastern Europe, I mentioned our forthcoming anthology, The Wall in My Head: Words and Images from the Fall of the Iron Curtain, which releases on November 9th, marking the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Well, to build up to the launch of this very cool book (just wait until you see the layout and all the images), we’ve set up a special blog that, over the course of the next few months, will feature articles from a variety of translators, authors, and journalists, images both from the book and ones that we couldn’t fit in, maps of the area at the time, and a “this day in 1989” feature.
Here’s a bit from Rohan’s initial post explaining a bit more about the book itself:
The Wall in My Head dwells extensively; humorously, poignantly, quirkily, on different views of the fall of the Iron Curtain—that of the generation of writers that witnessed it and often, had played a role in bringing it down, and more recently, the generation that inherited a memory of the Cold War and who write in the shadow of its monuments of division.
We hope that the publication of this book will prompt discussion about the events of ’89 and their relevance to today’s world, one in which the prospect of change has once again assumed a vital importance. To encourage this exchange of ideas, we have asked a variety of people; writers, translators, scholars, and witnesses to the events of those last years of the Cold War, to blog for us for the next several months. Their dispatches will range from discussions of the contents of the book to observations about current events and important anniversaries, as well as posts on the art, photography and film of the last years of the Cold War. I hope you’ll follow along, and that you’ll join in with your comments, as well as your own recollections, observations and news about this important anniversary.
And seriously, if you have anything you’d like to contribute—be it a personal essay, picture, or whatever—please let me know at chad.post at rochester dot edu.
There’s also a great post by Oana Sanziana Marian about Dan Sociu’s Urbancholia, which is excerpted in the book, and is looking for an American publisher. (Hint, hint.)
In addition to the articles, this is the perfect place to pre-order the book . . . and it is pretty spectacular. Here’s the complete table of contents:
Introduction by Keith Gessen
From The Art of the Novel by Milan Kundera (Translated by Linda Asher)
From Paris Lost by Wladimir Kaminer (Translated by Liesl Schillinger)
From Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin (Translated by Andrew Bromfield)
“Petition” by Mihály Kornis (Translated by Ivan Sanders)
From Moving House by Paweł Huelle (Translated by Michael Kandel)
“Nabokov in Brasov” by Mircea Cărtărescu (Translated by Julian Semlian)
From Waltz for K by Dmitri Savitski (Translated by Kingsley Shorter)
“On Eugen Jebeleanu” by Matthew Zapruder
Poems from Secret Weapon by Eugen Jebeleanu (Translated by Matthew Zapruder)
From Imperium by Ryszard Kapuściński (Translated by Klara Glowczewska)
From The Tower by Uwe Tellkamp (Translated by Annie Janusch)
“My Grandmother the Censor” by Masha Gessen
From The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider (Translated by Leigh Hafrey)
“Farewell to the Queue” by Vladimir Sorokin (Translated by Jamey Gambrell)
“Tower of Song: How the Plastic People of the Universe Helped to Shape the Velvet Revolution” by Paul Wilson
“The Revenge” by Annett Gröschner (Translated by Ingrid Lansford)
“The Souvenirs of Communism” by Dubravka Ugrešić (Translated by Ellen Elias-Bursać)
“The Road to Bornholm” by Durs Grünbein (Translated by Ingrid Lansford)
“Regardless of the Cost: Reflections on Péter Esterházy’s Revised Edition“ by Judith Sollosy
“Author’s Preface to Revised Edition“ by Péter Esterházy (Translated by Judith Sollosy)
From Mandarins by Stanislav Komárek (Translated by Melvyn Clarke)
“Brother and Sister” by Christhard Läpple (Translated by Steven Rendall)
“Faraway, So Gross” by Dorota Masłowska (Translated by Benjamin Paloff)
From Urbancholia by Dan Sociu (Translated by Oana Sanziana Marian)
“That Fear” by Andrjez Stasiuk (Translated by Michael Kandel)
“Speech at the Opening Session of the 13th German Bundestag” by Stefan Heym (Translated by John K. Cox)
“The Life and Times of a Soviet Capitalist” by Irakli Iosebashvili
“The War Within” by Maxim Trudolubov (Translated by Alexei Bayer)
“Any Beach But This” by David Zábranský (Translated by Robert Russell)
“The Noble School” by Muharem Bazdulj (Translated by John K. Cox)
You can also pre-order simply by clicking on the image below.
Pedro Zarraluki’s The History of Silence (trans. Nick Caistor and Lorenza García) begins with the narrator and his wife, Irene, setting out to write a book about silence, itself called The History of Silence: “This is the story of how. . .
There are plenty of reasons you can fail to find the rhythm of a book. Sometimes it’s a matter of discarding initial assumptions or impressions, sometimes of resetting oneself. Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes was a defining experience in the necessity. . .
In a culture that privileges prose, reviewing poetry is fairly pointless. And I’ve long since stopped caring about what the world reads and dropped the crusade to get Americans to read more poems. Part of the fault, as I’ve suggested. . .
I would like to pose the argument that it is rare for one to ever come across a truly passive protagonist in a novel. The protagonist (perhaps) of Three Light-Years, Claudio Viberti, is just that—a shy internist who lives in. . .
The last five days of the eleventh-century Icelandic politician, writer of sagas, and famous murder victim Snorri Sturleleson (the Norwegian spelling, Snorre, is preserved in the book) make up Thorvald Steen’s most recently translated historical fiction, The Little Horse. Murdered. . .
We all know Paris, or at least we think we know it. The Eiffel Tower. The Latin Quarter. The Champs-Élysées. The touristy stuff. In Dominique Fabre’s novel, Guys Like Me, we’re shown a different side of Paris: a gray, decaying. . .
One hundred pages into Birth of a Bridge, the prize-winning novel from French writer Maylis de Kerangal, the narrator describes how starting in November, birds come to nest in the wetlands of the fictional city of Coca, California, for three. . .
At 30, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is already gathering her rosebuds. Faces in the Crowd, her poised debut novel, was published by Coffee House Press, along with her Brodsky-infused essay collection, Sidewalks. The essays stand as a theoretical map. . .
Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (narrated by Julio Cortázar) is, not disappointingly, as wild a book as its title suggests. It is a half-novella half-graphic novel story about . . . what, exactly? A European tribunal, Latin. . .
Marie NDiaye has created a tiny, psychological masterpiece with her Self-Portrait in Green. In it she explores how our private fears and insecurities can distort what we believe to be real and can cause us to sabotage our intimate relationships.. . .