Central European literary life

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Ondrej Štefánik in B O D Y
Literature is filled with requests for cigarettes, but I doubt there are many that resemble the one found in Ondrej Štefánik’s “To Sacrifice Yourself For Someone Else”:
“Do you have a smoke?” I hear a squeaky voice from somewhere. It’s not the voice in my head. I shiver. I look around. Not a soul.
“So? Can you spare one?” It’s the squeaky voice again. It sounds like the winter wind pressing against the windows. In a state of shock, I look at the snowman.
“I could use a fucking cigarette. I watch the smokers all day, they look so peaceful,” the voice continues. This is impossible. It’s him. The snowman.
“Why don’t you answer? You don’t talk to white people? You Nazi!” the snowman yells.
Read the whole story in B O D Y

Ondrej Štefánik in B O D Y

Literature is filled with requests for cigarettes, but I doubt there are many that resemble the one found in Ondrej Štefánik’s “To Sacrifice Yourself For Someone Else”:

“Do you have a smoke?” I hear a squeaky voice from somewhere. It’s not the voice in my head. I shiver. I look around. Not a soul.

“So? Can you spare one?” It’s the squeaky voice again. It sounds like the winter wind pressing against the windows. In a state of shock, I look at the snowman.

“I could use a fucking cigarette. I watch the smokers all day, they look so peaceful,” the voice continues. This is impossible. It’s him. The snowman.

“Why don’t you answer? You don’t talk to white people? You Nazi!” the snowman yells.

Read the whole story in B O D Y

B O D Y’s Saturday European Fiction: One year anniversary
B O D Y’s series of European fiction in translation, Saturday European Fiction, kicked off one year ago and has since seen the publication of short stories and novel excerpts from almost every country in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Spain, from authors young and old, living and dead, previously unpublished in English along with more established names.
Continue reading with some best of the year picks here

B O D Y’s Saturday European Fiction: One year anniversary

B O D Y’s series of European fiction in translation, Saturday European Fiction, kicked off one year ago and has since seen the publication of short stories and novel excerpts from almost every country in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Spain, from authors young and old, living and dead, previously unpublished in English along with more established names.

Continue reading with some best of the year picks here

The Devil’s Workshop by Jáchym Topol trans. By Alex Zucker - Why This Book Should Win
My essay making a case for Topol’s novel on genocide and the flawed memory of it throughout the former eastern bloc in the run-up for next week’s shortlist announcement of The Best Translated Book Award.
Read it at Three Percent

The Devil’s Workshop by Jáchym Topol trans. By Alex Zucker - Why This Book Should Win

My essay making a case for Topol’s novel on genocide and the flawed memory of it throughout the former eastern bloc in the run-up for next week’s shortlist announcement of The Best Translated Book Award.

Read it at Three Percent

Literary roundup: Readux Series 2 launch, Marian Schwartz
On the latest Anna Karenina, difficult Russian translations, the next Russian work that will be in B O D Y and a vodka and Green Egg and Ham-fueled book launch in Berlin.
Read more at Literalab

Literary roundup: Readux Series 2 launch, Marian Schwartz

On the latest Anna Karenina, difficult Russian translations, the next Russian work that will be in B O D Y and a vodka and Green Egg and Ham-fueled book launch in Berlin.

Read more at Literalab

Ukraine 2014: undivided but not unprecedented
Two novelists, among many others – not to mention a host of non-novelists – have thrown in their two cents on the situation in Ukraine from two very different points of view.
Read more at Literalab
Photo – Destroyed statue of Lenin in Zhytomyr, February 2014, by Andriy Makukha

Ukraine 2014: undivided but not unprecedented

Two novelists, among many others – not to mention a host of non-novelists – have thrown in their two cents on the situation in Ukraine from two very different points of view.

Read more at Literalab

Photo – Destroyed statue of Lenin in Zhytomyr, February 2014, by Andriy Makukha

Zakhar Prilepin in B O D Y
“What the fuck did you do this for?” One of the policemen, the fat one with emphysema, still couldn’t calm down. “The fucking fuck. Did you build any of this? What right do you have to destroy it?”
No one was in a hurry to answer his question.
Lyosha gazed calmly ahead, and you could read on his face that he didn’t feel the need to answer anyone’s questions.
Sasha could have answered, but his busted lip stung, and he kept licking the blood.
From Zakhar Prilepin’s Sankya, translated from the Russian by Mariya Gusev and Jeff Parker with Alina Ryabovolova and due out from Disquiet on April 29.
Called Russia’s Best Young Novelist in Newsweek, Prilepin has been called a Russian Hemingway and a modern Leo Tolstoy. A former member of the OMON riot police and a veteran of the wars in Chechnya, the writer and journalist has become a high-profile member of the National Bolshevik party.
Read Chapter One here
Photo of Zakhar Prilepin by Max Avdeev

Zakhar Prilepin in B O D Y

“What the fuck did you do this for?” One of the policemen, the fat one with emphysema, still couldn’t calm down. “The fucking fuck. Did you build any of this? What right do you have to destroy it?”

No one was in a hurry to answer his question.

Lyosha gazed calmly ahead, and you could read on his face that he didn’t feel the need to answer anyone’s questions.

Sasha could have answered, but his busted lip stung, and he kept licking the blood.

From Zakhar Prilepin’s Sankya, translated from the Russian by Mariya Gusev and Jeff Parker with Alina Ryabovolova and due out from Disquiet on April 29.

Called Russia’s Best Young Novelist in Newsweek, Prilepin has been called a Russian Hemingway and a modern Leo Tolstoy. A former member of the OMON riot police and a veteran of the wars in Chechnya, the writer and journalist has become a high-profile member of the National Bolshevik party.

Read Chapter One here

Photo of Zakhar Prilepin by Max Avdeev

'Kryptonite'
“Superman, you say?” Vassily mumbled, musing over the name which we all assumed he must have heard of. “And you say he has special powers . . you mean of thinking?”
“No Vass, he can leap over a building in a single bound and stuff like that. Get it?” Suzie said.
“In fact, no. I don’t get it. I too perhaps can leap over a building in a single bound . . like I can climb a building in a single elevator. I just don’t know what is a bound.”
“It’s a jump . . he can fly.”
“Ah, so no, I can’t do that.”
It was strange, but as we went on to define Superman’s powers a look of annoyance began to flash in the Russian’s black eyes.

The Missing Slate’s Story of the Week this week is “Kryptonite”, another of my Russian stories, like “The Literary Life of Russian Airports,” which they previously published and “Literary Theft” in Drunken Boat. Now the only completed story left is “Death in Omsk”, a story which will be sold to the highest bidder, preferably a Russian billionaire but cash-strapped litmag editors can also throw in their lots.

'Kryptonite'

“Superman, you say?” Vassily mumbled, musing over the name which we all assumed he must have heard of. “And you say he has special powers . . you mean of thinking?”

“No Vass, he can leap over a building in a single bound and stuff like that. Get it?” Suzie said.

“In fact, no. I don’t get it. I too perhaps can leap over a building in a single bound . . like I can climb a building in a single elevator. I just don’t know what is a bound.”

“It’s a jump . . he can fly.”

“Ah, so no, I can’t do that.”

It was strange, but as we went on to define Superman’s powers a look of annoyance began to flash in the Russian’s black eyes.

The Missing Slate’s Story of the Week this week is “Kryptonite”, another of my Russian stories, like “The Literary Life of Russian Airports,” which they previously published and “Literary Theft” in Drunken Boat. Now the only completed story left is “Death in Omsk”, a story which will be sold to the highest bidder, preferably a Russian billionaire but cash-strapped litmag editors can also throw in their lots.

Asymptote January 2014
Asymptote’s third anniversary issue is out and, as always, is full of great fiction, poetry, and more than I can list here.
Read more at Literalab
Photo - Korean alphabet (It’s relevant, don’t worry - I didn’t randomly decide to use it as a photo).

Asymptote January 2014

Asymptote’s third anniversary issue is out and, as always, is full of great fiction, poetry, and more than I can list here.

Read more at Literalab

Photo - Korean alphabet (It’s relevant, don’t worry - I didn’t randomly decide to use it as a photo).

Literalab’s Best Books of 2013

A year in reading - Topol, Grossman, Busqued, Tsypkin and others among the best books published last year as well as one older book among last year’s discoveries.

See the list here

Photos - , , ,

The Autumn Carnival of Death
“One Autumn evening I was sitting at home, writing a story about love. Simply about love. About love and nothing but. A young man meets a girl. Through the narrow alleys of some little seaside town, they reach the sea and plod along the beach…
Deserted. Dusky. Empty of people. Because it’s already November. Winter. And summer’s not coming anytime soon.
In other words, crap.”
Read “The Autumn Carnival Of Death”by Russian writer Valery Ronshin in B O D Y’s Saturday European Fiction.

The Autumn Carnival of Death

“One Autumn evening I was sitting at home, writing a story about love. Simply about love. About love and nothing but. A young man meets a girl. Through the narrow alleys of some little seaside town, they reach the sea and plod along the beach…

Deserted. Dusky. Empty of people. Because it’s already November. Winter. And summer’s not coming anytime soon.

In other words, crap.”

Read “The Autumn Carnival Of Death”by Russian writer Valery Ronshin in B O D Y’s Saturday European Fiction.