Articles Tagged ‘Marian Schwartz’

"A Quintessential Russian Novel"

Into the Thickening Fog cover

Phoebe Taplin has written a wonderful review in Russia Beyond the Headlines of Andrei Gelasimov's newest title, Into the Thickening Fog:

Into the Thickening Fog often feels like a quintessential Russian novel: it starts with a bout of heavy drinking, is set in a frozen northern city, and features dogs, demons and existential angst. Andrei Gelasimov’s novels have earned him numerous awards, and this 2015 offering, just out in English, has many hallmarks of his prize-winning playful style.

And she has kind words for my translation as well:

This is the fifth Gelasimov novel that Marian Schwartz has translated, and she is a past master at capturing his allusive, elusive style. Here, his free-range references flap from classical (Circe, Charybdis), biblical (friendship three times denied) and Shakespearean (leaping, like Hamlet, into his dead wife’s grave or quoting Macbeth’s sound and fury) to pop cultural (his noisy breathing like a “raspy, unintelligible, and infinitely lonely Darth Vader”, hair standing up like Doc Brown’s in Back to the Future).

 

Read the whole review here.

"Horsemen of the Sands," by Leonid Yuzefovich

Archipelago Books will be publishing Leonid Yuzefovich's gorgeous novella, Horsemen of  the Sands, together with his exquisite story "The Storm," as part of its Fall 2017 list!

"Red Wheel, Knot III: Book 2," by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The University of Notre Dame Press has announced its publication of the six hitherto untranslated volumes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Red Wheel, a cycle of historical novels covering the years 1914 to 1918. The third volume in the cycle--Knot III: Book 2--will be the first to appear, in November 2017, in my translation.

"The Man Who Couldn't Die," by Olga Slavnikova

As part of its Russian Library series, Columbia University Press will be publishing Olga Slavnikova's The Man Who Couldn't Die, which came out in Russian in 2001 andwon the Gorky Prize in 2012. Previously, I translated Slavnikova's 2017, which came out in 2010 from Overlook Press.

Andrei Gelasimov's "Into the Thickening Fog"

Into the Thickening Fog coverInto the Thickening Fog, my fifth Gelasimov translation (following Thirst, The Lying Year, Gods of the Steppe,and Rachel), has just been published by AmazonCrossing.

This time the author takes us to the equivalent of Yakutsk, where a hometown boy who has made good in Moscow as a film director has returned in the dead of winter to clear his bad conscience, only to encounter a city on the brink of catastrophe as it finds out exactly what extreme cold means when the city's central heating supply partially shuts down and evacuation is not an option. 

Coming to America: Polina Dashkova

Dashkova Madness Treads Lightly coverWe now have a cover for Polina Dashkova's fabulous crime novel, Madness Treads Lightly--my first foray into popular fiction, and a grand one it is.

Dashkova is one of the best-selling crime writers in Russia and a great favorite all over Europe, and now, at last, English-language readers get their turn.

If you like a good crime story brought to a ringing conclusion by a smart, brave woman, this is definitely the book for you.

Throw in exotic Siberia and a brilliant sociopath and you're there!

Look for it in September (if not sooner)!

Cynsations: Daria Wilke's "Playing a Part"

PlayingAPart coverCynsations--"a source for conversations, publishing information, writer resources & inspiration, bookseller-librarian-teacher appreciation, children's-YA book news & author outreach"--has interviewed me about my recent foray into YA lit: Playing a Part, by Daria Wilke.

This novel spotlights traditional puppets, especially the Jester in a version of Cinderella. Is the lexicon of puppets embedded in everyday Russian, or did you have to learn from scratch about gesso and leg yokes, ruches and chiton, controllers and crossbars?

I knew nothing about the technical aspect of puppets when I began this project, but that's one of the perks of being a translator: the research required to make a translation correct and complete. It's easy to get (happily) lost learning about a new field. I read books about puppetmaking and consulted with puppeteers. I did extensive Internet image searches. There are books that require no research at all, but they're very rare.

Check it out!

English PEN Translates Awards Include "Slav Sisters"

English PEN has announced its list of PEN Translates award winners, and one of them isSlav Sisters: The Dedalus Book of Russian Women Literature,edited by Natasha Perova, due to be published by Dedalus Limited in January 2018.

Among the stories in this exciting anthology is my translation of Olga Slavnikova's "The Stone Guest"--another of her "train stories," several of which I've translated and published over the years:

  • “The Recluse.” Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation (June 2016) 
  • “The Cherepanova Sisters.” New England Review34, 3-4 (2014): 276-293
  • "Russian Bullet." American Reader(September 2012)
  • “Substance.” Subtropics,no. 7 (Winter-Spring 2009): 38-54
  • “Love in Train Car No. 7.” Chtenia05 (Winter 2009)

I'm thrilled to be joined in Slav Sisters by an array of simply excellent translators--Robert Chandler, Ilona Chavasse, John Dewey, Boris Dralyuk, Andrew Bromfield English, Jamey Gambrell, Marian Schwartz, Arch Tait, and Joanne Turnbull--and look forward to reading all their contributions.

This year, the PEN Translates list includes a record number of women writers and translators and also covers books translated from 14 languages and 16 countries, including a Uyghur memoir, Palestinian short stories, Somali poetry, and a Czech feminist novel, Belarusian essays, and a Chinese graphic novel/memoir.

Ikuru Kuwajima Wins Photobookfest Prize for "I, Oblomov"

Ikuru Kuwajima is a Japanese photographer and artist who has been living in Russia for the past ten years and creating books with photographs and texts over the past several. His latest, I, Oblomov, is his interpretation of contemporary Russia and other post-Soviet countries through the concept of Oblomovshchina. The project consists of interior pictures, self-portraits, and quotes from Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov, both in the original Russian and in my English translation. 

This creative take on Russia and Oblomovshchina has just won first prize at Photobookfest!  The prize money will allow for the publication of several hundred copies with the unusual pillow-like cover you see in the photograph. I'm thrilled to be a small part of this unlikely project!

 

Into the Thickening Fog, by Andrei Gelasimov

Into the Thickening Fog

by Andrei Gelasimov

Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz

AmazonCrossing, 2017

A French theater agrees to stage the latest work by Filippov--the mmost prestigious and lucrative opportunity of his infamous career--but first he must sever ties with his longtime collaborator and childhood friend. So the internationally acclaimed Russian director makes a reluctant trip back to his hometown to deliver the news. His journey to the Far North, where the temperature remains dangerously low all winter, unexpectedly blurs the distinction between reality and art for this virtuoso, who prides himself on his ability to create shocking scenes and outrageous situations. And after the city's power grid goes off-line, the brutal cold just might get the better of him.

The colder it gets, the more wickedly funny Filippov's boozy exploits, which unravel into an unexpected chain of events--including run-ins with old lovers, meeting a woman who might be his daughter, encounters with the devil, and the unlikely affection of a dog that, like Filippov, is in desperate need of warmth.

PRAISE FOR THE TRANSLATION

This is the fifth Gelasimov novel that Marian Schwartz has translated, and she is a past master at capturing his allusive, elusive style. Here, his free-range references flap from classical (Circe, Charybdis), biblical (friendship three times denied) and Shakespearean (leaping, like Hamlet, into his dead wife’s grave or quoting Macbeth’s sound and fury) to pop cultural (his noisy breathing like a “raspy, unintelligible, and infinitely lonely Darth Vader”, hair standing up like Doc Brown’s in Back to the Future). -- Phoebe Taplin, Russia Beyond the Headlines

REVIEWS

 

Madness Treads Lightly, by Polina Dashkova

Dashkova Madness Treads Lightly coverMadness Treads Lightly

by Polina Dashkova

Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz

AmazonCrossing, 2017

Only three people can connect a present-day murderer to a serial killer who, fourteen years ago, terrorized a small Siberian town. And one of them is already dead.

As a working mother, Lena Polyanskaya has her hands full. She’s busy caring for her two-year-old daughter, editing a successful magazine, and supporting her husband, a high-ranking colonel in counterintelligence. She doesn’t have time to play amateur detective. But when a close friend’s suspicious death is labeled a suicide, she’s determined to prove he wouldn’t have taken his own life.

As Lena digs in to her investigation, all clues point to murder—and its connection to a string of grisly cold-case homicides that stretches back to the Soviet era. When another person in her circle falls victim, Lena fears she and her family may be next. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to protect them. But will learning the truth unmask a killer...or put her and her family in even more danger?

REVIEWS

. . . captivating storytelling, distinctive characters, and the eternal conundrum of Russia itself. -- Publishers Weekly starred review

Mikhail Shishkin: "Free the Word!"

On opening night of Winternachten festival 2017, January, 19, 2017, at the Theater Aan Het Spu in the Hague, distinguished Russian writer Mikhail Shishkin made a powerful statement about the freedom of speech:

" . . . In 1968, in protest against the Soviet tanks in Prague, a few people went out on Red Square and unfurled signs that said “For our freedom and yours.” They were arrested immediately. I was seven at the time and knew nothing of this. Our entire enormous country learned nothing about this action. These peoples’ fates were destroyed, and they faced years of prison or psych hospitals. After the Soviet Union’s collapse, people started writing and making films about them. Their action became a symbol of resistance and they themselves became heroes of the struggle for freedom. 

"When the KGB archives were opened up briefly, it became clear that other people in different cities of the vast empire had also protested in August 1968 and had also ended up in prison, but no one had heard anything at all about their protests and shattered fates. Human rights organizations in the West knew nothing about them, and no one demanded their release. Later, no films were made about them and they did not become heroes. They were not awarded prizes, and no one toasted their courage at international PEN congresses. They never gained a martyr’s fame; they were just tortured quietly and out of the public eye their sacrifices had not been in vain. . . ."

To read the full text in my English translation, click here.

Mikhail Shishkin's "Maidenhair" a Title Pick

maidenhairThe Global Literature in Libraries Initiative has chosen Mikhail Shishkin's novel Maidenhairas one of its title picks.

Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair is an instant classic of Russian literature. It bravely takes on the eternal questions—of truth and fiction, of time and timeless­ness, of love and war, of Death and the Word—and is a movingly luminescent expression of the pain of life and its uncountable joys.

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative strives to raise the visibility of world literature for adults and children at the local, national and international levels by facilitating close and direct collaboration between translators, librarians, publishers, editors, and educators.

It's an honor to be part of this worthy enterprise.

Miranda July Takes Berberova to Her Desert Island

tatteredcloak coverMiranda July is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Her most recent work is The First Bad Man, a novel. For his bookshopand website One Grand Books, editor Aaron Hicklin asked July to name the ten books she'd take with her if she were marooned on a desert island. On March 11, 2016, her list, "My Bookshelf, Myself," ran in the New York Times Style Magazine and included the brilliant choice of Nina Berberova's The Tattered Cloak and Other Stories, which was first published, in her lifetime, in hardback by Alfred A. Knopf and in paperback by Vintage. Subsequently, this volume and five others became part of the brilliant New Directions catalog and remains very much in print.

For the story of how the title story acquired its title, you can read my essay at Words Without Borders, "The Tattered Cloak: The Story of the Title," which illustrates just how convoluted the path to a title can be.

The Tattered Cloak and Other Stories corresponds roughly to Berberova's collection Облегчение участи[Sentence Commuted]--which Berberova considered her finest fiction.

Olga Slavnikova's "The Recluse" Featured in Ezra

The new issue of Ezrais just out, featuring my translation of Olga Slavnikova's story "The Recluse"--one of twelve marvelous "train stories" she wrote originally for the Russian Railroads in-train magazine.

If you like this as much as I do, you can find others from this set in various literary magazines: Subtropics, Chtenia, New England Review,and American Reader. And be sure to check out Slavnikova's novel 2017(also my translation).

Publishers Weekly Gives Dashkova Starred Review

Dashkova Madness Treads Lightly coverPublishers Weekly has given a starred review to Polina Dashkova's new crime novel, Madness Treads Lightly:

Moscow journalist Lena Polyanskaya, the heroine of this high-stakes thriller from best-selling Russian crime queen Dashkova (here making her English-language debut), knows better than most the risks of asking too many questions. Lena’s husband is a counterintelligence officer in the interior ministry. But when her best friend Olga’s brother, Mitya, hangs himself in a suspicious “suicide,” followed days later by his widow’s fatal apparent overdose, she feels compelled to investigate—putting herself and her precocious two-year-old daughter on a collision course with a serial killer. Lena scrambles to piece together the scant clues available, which appear to point back 14 years to the summer of 1982, when she, Mitya, and Olga were traveling by train through Siberia as part of an internship to promote a youth magazine—during which two young women were raped and murdered in the remote regions they were visiting. The sweeping plot, sinister as the Siberian taiga, does rely overly on coincidence, but such contrivance is more than outweighed by captivating storytelling, distinctive characters, and the eternal conundrum of Russia itself.

 

If you're into crime novels with smart heroines, exotic locales, and mind-boggling crimes, this one's for you!

Due out this September from AmazonCrossing.

Shishkin Collection Attracts Year-End Attention

calligraphylessoncoverAs 2015 draws to a close, Mikhail Shishkin's Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories (Deep Vellum), has been getting some lovely attention.  

World Literature Today has put it on its list of 75 Notable Translations of 2015, and Russia Beyond the Headlines has added it to its "Christmas Feast of Russian Books." Phoebe Taplin writes:

Marian Schwartz and others have translated these works, which are "the perfect introduction to Russia's greatest... contemporary author." The 1993 short story "Calligraphy Lesson" was Shishkin's first published work. Like the narrator in Maidenhair, legal scribe and calligraphy teacher Evgeny hears harrowing stories every day and transmutes them into art. The most recent piece in the book, "Nabokov's Inkblot" written in 2013, is an accessible tale of money, culture and compromise. Along with stories, in Shishkin's characteristically dense and allusive prose, there are autobiographical fragments, like "The Half-Belt Overcoat", which revisits his mother's death and the process of writing The Taking of Izmail, due out in English next year. The volume ends with the breathtakingly brilliant essay on language, "In a Boat Scratched on a Wall", where the author argues for the redemptive power of literature, "a link between two worlds."

 

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