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.
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. . .
To call Kjell Askildsen’s style sparse or terse would be to understate just how far he pushes his prose. Almost nothing is explained, elaborated on. In simple sentences, events occur, words are exchanged, narrators have brief thoughts. As often as. . .
After a mysterious woman confesses to an author simply known as “R” that she has loved him since she was a teenager, she offers the following explanation: “There is nothing on earth like the love of a child that passes. . .
Floating around the internet amid the hoopla of a new Haruki Murakami release, you may have come across a certain Murakami Bingo courtesy of Grant Snider. It is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s funny because it’s true,. . .
The publisher’s blurb for Oleg Pavlov’s The Matiushin Case promises the prospective reader “a Crime and Punishment for today,” the sort of comparison that is almost always guaranteed to do a disservice to both the legendary dead and the ambitious. . .
One hundred years have passed since the start of World War I and it is difficult to believe that there are still novels, considered classics in their own countries, that have never been published in English. Perhaps it was the. . .
In the London of Hédi Kaddour’s Little Grey Lies, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan, peace has settled, but the tensions, fears, and anger of the Great War remain, even if tucked away behind stories and lies. Directly ahead, as those. . .
One of the greatest services—or disservices, depending on your viewpoint—Bertrand Russell ever performed for popular philosophy was humanizing its biggest thinkers in his History. No longer were they Platonic ideals, the clean-shaven exemplars of the kind of homely truisms that. . .