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.
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. . .
Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .