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.
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. . .
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. . .
In Joris-Karl Hyusmans’s most popular novel, À rebours (Against Nature or Against the Grain, depending on the which translated edition you’re reading), there is a famous scene where the protagonist, the decadent Jean des Esseintes, starts setting gemstones on the. . .
There are books that can only wisely be recommended to specific types of readers, where it is easy to know who the respective book won’t appeal to, and Kristiina Ehin’s Walker on Water is one these. What makes this neither. . .
Imagine the most baroque excesses of Goethe, Shakespeare, and Poe, blended together and poured into a single book: That is The Nightwatches of Bonaventura. Ophelia and Hamlet fall in love in a madhouse, suicidal young men deliver mournful and heartfelt. . .
In 1899, Maurice Ravel wrote “Pavane pour une infante défunte” (“Pavane for a Dead Princess”) for solo piano (a decade later, he published an orchestral version). The piece wasn’t written for a particular person; Ravel simply wanted to compose a. . .
Fiston Mwanza Mujila is an award-winning author, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who now, at 33, lives in Austria. From what I could find, much of his work is influenced by the Congo’s battle for independence and its. . .
Twenty-One Days of a Neurasthenic is not a novel in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a collection of vignettes recorded by journalist Georges Vasseur in his diary during a month spent in the Pyrenées Mountains to treat his nervous. . .
Founded in 1960 by such creative pioneers as George Perec, Raymond Queneau and Italo Calvino, the Oulipo, shorthand for Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, came about in when a group of writers and mathematicians sought constraints to find new structures and. . .
There’s little to say about a series of prose poems that willfully refuse to identify pronoun antecedents. Or perhaps there are a million things. The poems in Morse, My Deaf Friend— the chapbook by Miloš Djurdjević published by Ugly Duckling. . .