This week’s Read This Next title is Filip Florian’s The Days of the King, translated from the Romanian by Alistair Ian Blyth and coming out on August 16th from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Florian’s first translated title—Little Fingers—got a lot of great attention (Michael Orthofer gave it a solid B and here’s a review from fellow BTBA judge Annie Janush), and we’re excited to be able to preview his new novel.
Contemporary Romanian Writers has a nice page on Florian and his work, and includes this entertaining self-portrait:
These days, I swear I wouldn’t know what to say about myself. At forty, it has become clear to me that I’m never going to be a football player, I’m beginning to lose hope that I’ll ever have long hair, I wake up increasingly early in the morning, I eat unbelievably few cherries (which I once cherished), I smoke unbelievably many cigarettes (which I once despised), truth seems to me quite questionable and the weather forecasts leave me cold. Fortunately, though not as strongly as I used to, I still believe that one day I’m going to catch a twenty-kilo sheatfish.
You can also hear Florian’s presentation on the “War at the Novel” panel at PEN World Voices 2009 by clicking here.
Anyway, here’s the official HMH jacket copy for The Days of the King:
Joseph Strauss (a dentist and bachelor, client of the Eleven Titties brothel and of Der Große Bär beer cellar) leaves Prussia in the spring of 1866 and follows a captain of dragoons to Bucharest, where the officer is to ascend the throne as prince of the United Principalities of Romania. War is imminent in central Europe, but the company of a special tomcat, a guardian angel of sorts, helps him to overcome all dangers.
In Bucharest, Joseph will meet and fall in love with an attractive nanny, while the prince distances himself from the dentist, seeking to erase all stains from his past, particularly his involvement with a beautiful blind prostitute. But unbeknownst to him, she has given birth to a baby boy with a suspiciously aristocratic nose . . .
Nations are invented and dissolved overnight, kingdoms are for sale, Bucharest grows from a muddy pigsty into an elegant capital city, and love turns everything upside down in The Days of the King.
Check out the extended preview by clicking here. And later this week we’ll have an interview, full length review, etc.
Reading a genre book—whether fantasy, science fiction, crime, thriller, etc.—which begins to seem excessively, stereotypically bad, I have to make sure to ask myself: is this parodying the flaws of the genre? Usually, this questioning takes its time coming. In. . .
The Sicilian Mafia has always been a rich subject for sensational crime fiction. The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos worked the mob’s bloody corpses and family feuds to both entertainment and artistic value. Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel attempts this,. . .
Antoine Volodine’s vast project (40 plus novels) of what he calls the post-exotic remains mostly untranslated, so for many of us, understanding it remains touched with mystery, whispers from those “who know,” and guesswork. That’s not to say that, were. . .
It hasn’t quite neared the pitch of the waiting-in-line-at-midnight Harry Potter days, but in small bookstores and reading circles of New York City, an aura has attended the novelist Elena Ferrante and her works. One part curiosity (Who is she?),. . .
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, Egypt was going through a period of transition. The country’s people were growing unhappy with the corruption of power in the government, which had been under British rule for decades. The Egyptians’. . .
Miruna is a novella written in the voice of an adult who remembers the summer he (then, seven) and his sister, Miruna (then, six) spent in the Evil Vale with their grandfather (sometimes referred to as “Grandfather,” other times as. . .
Kamal Jann by the Lebanese born author Dominique Eddé is a tale of familial and political intrigue, a murky stew of byzantine alliances, betrayals, and hostilities. It is a well-told story of revenge and, what’s more, a serious novel that. . .
While looking back at an episode in his life, twenty-year-old Taguchi Hiro remembers what his friend Kumamoto Akira said about poetry.
Its perfection arises precisely from its imperfection . . . . I have an image in my head. I see. . .
The central concern of Sorj Chalandon’s novel Return to Killybegs appears to be explaining how a person of staunch political activism can be lead to betray his cause, his country, his people. Truth be told, the real theme of the. . .
Spoiler alert: acclaimed writer Stefan Zweig and his wife Lotte kill themselves at the end of Lauren Seksik’s 2010 novel, The Last Days.
It’s hard to avoid spoiling this mystery. Zweig’s suicide actually happened, in Brazil in 1942, and since then. . .