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.
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. . .