28 October 08 | Chad W. Post

Over at Beyond Hall 8 there’s a piece by Edward Nawotka about a protest by GWARA (Georgian Writers Against Russian Aggression) featuring four Georgian authors. Each of the four authors wrote an essay for the event, and the one by David Tursashvilli that Nawotka includes is brilliant:

I feel ashamed yet I have to tell you about this.

After the Russians began their air strikes on Tbilisi I couldn’t think of anything better to do than bring my children down to the yard and then go back to my apartment to find the Russian books we had at home. I had decided to take the books by Russian authors and burn them in front of my children as a sign of protest. However at the last moment I changed my mind.

God saved me from doing this awful thing. I remembered Milan Kundera, who once argued with Joseph Brodsky over the Prague Spring, wondering why the Russians had brought death to Prague with tanks, not books as they once had promised. I still believe that books have much greater power than any bomb. If I had burnt these particular books, how could I have then explained this to my kids?

Though I couldn’t burn their books that day, I nevertheless decided to take them to the Russian Embassy and return them to the people who let us down so much and instead of Chekhov and Dostoyevsky gave us Putin and Medvedev. I collected them up, but at the last moment I decided not to give them back to the Russians. Why? Because I couldn’t tell my daughters more than Tolstoy did when he wrote about Natasha Rostova preparing for her first ball.

Instead my children and I made paper planes, wrote slogans on their wings and in response to the Russian air strikes started to attack the Russian Embassy. We are going to organize a protest action against the Russian aggression here too. Please don’t think that it doesn’t concern you. There are no wards which are only somebody else’s , and sooner or later some war will concern all of us.

Comments are disabled for this article.
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders
Reviewed by Kaija Straumanis

Hello and greetings in the 2017 holiday season!

For those of you still looking for something to gift a friend or family member this winter season, or if you’re on the lookout for something to gift in the. . .

Read More >

The Size of the World
The Size of the World by Branko Anđić
Reviewed by Jaimie Lau

Three generations of men—a storyteller, his father and his son—encompass this book’s world. . . . it is a world of historical confusion, illusion, and hope of three generations of Belgraders.

The first and last sentences of the first. . .

Read More >

Island of Point Nemo
Island of Point Nemo by Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès
Reviewed by Katherine Rucker

The Island of Point Nemo is a novel tour by plane, train, automobile, blimp, horse, and submarine through a world that I can only hope is what Jean-Marie Blas de Roblès’s psyche looks like, giant squids and all.

What. . .

Read More >

The Truce
The Truce by Mario Benedetti
Reviewed by Adrianne Aron

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009), Uruguay’s most beloved writer, was a man who loved to bend the rules. He gave his haikus as many syllables as fit his mood, and wrote a play divided into sections instead of acts. In his country,. . .

Read More >

I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World
I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World by Kim Kyung Ju
Reviewed by Jacob Rogers

Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season That Does Not Exist in the World, translated from the Korean by Jake Levine, is a wonderful absurdist poetry collection. It’s a mix of verse and prose poems, or even poems in the. . .

Read More >

Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo
A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero
Reviewed by Emilee Brecht

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only. . .

Read More >

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof
The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof by Cesar Aira
Reviewed by Will Eells

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a. . .

Read More >

Agnes by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Dorian Stuber

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on. . .

Read More >

The next few events from our Translation Events Calendar: See More Events >