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Film Version of "Thirst" Now on Youtube

thirstYou can now see the film version of Andrei Gelasimov's novel Thirst on Youtube--complete with English subtitles. Then you'll definitely want to read the book--a great favorite of mine.

In the story, 20-year-old Chechen War veteran Kostya, maimed beyond recognition by a tank explosion, spends weeks on end locked inside his apartment, his sole companions the vodka bottles spilling from the refrigerator. But soon Kostya's comfortable if dysfunctional cocoon is torn open when he receives a visit from his army buddies who are mobilized to locate a missing comrade.

The terrific screenplay is also the work of the book's author, the extremely talented Andrei Gelasimov.

 

"A Quirky Little Book"

PlayingAPart coverA short, sweet review from Frogma  of a book I recently translated--Daria Wilke's Playing a Part--that seems to have slipped under the radar but is so much more than your standard YA novel that I recommend it to all readers: ". . . What really gave this story an intereresting and unusual feel is that Grisha's parents are actors at a puppet theatre and that's where he's grown up and feels the safest. The descriptions of the theater, the puppets, performers and performing, puppet makers and puppet making are just luscious. . . . a quick read, but a satisfying one." I wholeheartedly agree.

Anna Karenina Awarded Special Jury Mention

Anna Karenina cover

On Friday, May 29th, at a ceremony the Grolier Club in New York City for the 2015 Read Russia Prize--which was awarded to Oliver Ready for his translation of Vladimir Sharov's novel Before & During, a Special Jury Mention was also awarded to me and Rosamund Bartlett for our respective translations of Anna Karenina, both of which came out in 2014.

The jury wrote:

Why re-translate the classics? It's often said that translations have a life span of 50 years, or that every generation needs its own translation of the classics. Tolstoy's language has not aged for his Russian readers, but the language of his first English translators may now seem dated to the reader in the 21st century. More importantly, our understanding of Tolstoy has changed over the century since his death, as has our idea of what makes for a good translation. Both Rosamund Bartlett and Marian Schwartz have embraced the peculiarities, repetitions, and perceived awkwardness of Tolstoy's style that often transgress all conventions of good English prose. Bartlett writes that her "translation seeks to preserve all the idiosyncrasies of Tolstoy's inimitable style, as far as that is possible," while Schwartz notes that she "found [Tolstoy's] so-called roughness . . . both purposeful and exciting, and was eager to recreate Tolstoy's style in English." True, the two translators go about this in their own ways, and as one might suspect they have their own strengths and biases, but this foregrounding of style is everywhere felt in these new translations.

Ultimately, translation represents an act of interpretation. There is no doubt that these volumes, published so beautifully by excellent university presses, present to the English-language reader two magnificent interpreters of Tolstoy's beloved novel.

Anna Karenina Short-Listed for 2015 Read Russia Prize

Anna Karenina coverI've just learned that my translation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been short-listed for the 2015 Read Russia Prize!

I'm in stellar company: Oliver Ready, Jamie Rann, Rosamund Bartlett, Katherine Dovlatov, and Peter Daniels, and so is Tolstoy, the other authors represented being Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vladislav Khodasevich, Vladimir Sharov, Sergei Dovlatov, and Anna Starobinets.

The prize will be awarded on Friday, May 29, at the Grolier Club in New York City.

Deep Vellum Publishes Mikhail Shishkin's "Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories"

calligraphylessoncoverCalligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories, by Mikhail Shishkin, has just been published by that exciting new indie publisher Deep Vellum, out of Dallas--yes, Dallas.

Four of the eight pieces were translated by me, including the title story, "Calligraphy Lesson," along with "Language Saved," "The Blind Musician," and "In a Boat Scratched on a Wall." The remaining four were translated by my fine colleagues Leo Shtutin, Sylvia Maizell, and Mariya Bashkatova.

Shishkin was the first (and still the only) writer to win the three major Russian literary awards (the Russian Booker, National Bestseller, and Big Book Awards). He is a master prose writer in the timeless, breathtakingly beautiful style of the greatest Russian writers, such as Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Bunin, and Boris Pasternak. Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories will be Shishkin's third work available in English, previously published were his novels Maidenhair (Open Letter) and The Light and the Dark (Quercus).

To order your copy, click here.