The latest volume of Ukrainian Literature: A Journal of Translations actually came out online in August, but it’s a pretty interesting endeavor that’s worth checking out.
This is only the second volume to appear (the first came out in 2004), but it features eighteen pieces from eleven different Ukrainian writers, including Yuri Andrukhovych, who has a couple books available in English translation. (I’ve been meaning to read Perverzion for a while now.)
Maxim Tarnawsky explains their selection process in his introduction:
The editorial board and I do not dictate to translators: we encourage them to translate what they consider worthwhile. In our editorial decisions, we do not select a particular profile. We do not favor post-modernism, or short stories, or intellectual literature. Our aim is to reflect the wide array of Ukrainian literature—stretching across time, genres, themes, styles, and even quality. For a culture that is still seeking its rightful place, not only in the global community of readers but even within the borders of its own country, such an approach is the only one that can give an honest appreciation of the current state of affairs.
Hopefully this will create a wider interested in Ukrainian writing. . . . There is a bibliography of English translations available on the site, but it’s not all that encouraging. Since 2000, eleven books of Ukrainian literature have been published—which sounds great, but most are anthologies, with only one novel (the aforementioned Perverzion) coming out during that time.
The biggest issues with books like The Subsidiary often have to do with their underpinnings—when we learn that Georges Perec wrote La Disparition without once using the letter E, we are impressed. Imagine such a task! It takes a high. . .
Following The Infatuations, Javier Marías’s latest novel seems, like those that have preceded it, an experiment to test fiction’s capacity to mesmerize with sombre-sexy atmospheres and ruminative elongated sentences stretched across windowless walls of paragraphs. Thus Bad Begins offers his. . .
Death by Water, Kenzaburo Oe’s latest novel to be translated into English, practically begs you to read it as autobiography. Like The Changeling, as well as many other works not yet released in English, Death by Water is narrated in. . .
Jocelyne Saucier’s Twenty-One Cardinals is about the type of unique, indestructible, and often tragic loyalty only found in families. For a brief but stunningly mesmerizing 169 pages, Twenty-One Cardinals invited me in to the haunting and intimate world of the. . .
We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .
Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .
Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .
It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .
As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .
It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .