A relatively young press, Autumn Hill Books is one of those impressive indie presses that gets nowhere near the attention it deserves.
Autumn Hill Books is a nonprofit based in Iowa and is closely linked to the writing programs at the University of Iowa, especially the International Writing Program. (Which is no surprise, since AHB’s founder, Russell Valentino is an Associate Professor of Russian, Cinema and Comparative Literature, at the University of Iowa.)
The mission of the press is noble: “Autumn Hill Books is an Iowa non-profit corporation whose emphasis is on making fine translations of primarily contemporary literature from around the world more widely available in English.”
I just received three of their recent publications in the mail: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh by Slobodan Novak, translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth; The Death of the Little Match Girl by Zoran Feric, translated from the Croatian by Tomislav Kuzmanovic; and Anima Mundi by Susanna Tamaro, translated from the Italian by Cinzia Sartini Blum and Russell Scott Valentino. Each of these books looks really interesting and are representative of the unique, exciting fiction coming out from indie presses these days.
Feric’s The Death of the Little Match Girl is the one that I’d like to read first, due in part to Michael Orthofer’s review and this bit from the description:
It is a world unto itself loaded with creepy settings, biazarre exchanges, and dark, sardonic humor. The novel ends up being not so much a murder mystery as a bizarre, uncomfortable fusion of detective story, crime novel, political thriller, and raw, grotesque fiction. In short—Balkan krimic.
Overall, this is one of those presses that more people should know about, and their forthcoming title Laundry by Suzane Adam sounds intriguing.
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. . .
The Crimson Thread of Abandon is the first collection of short fiction available in English by the prolific Japanese writer and all-around avant-garde trickster Terayama Shūji, who died in 1983 at the age of 47. This collection would be important. . .