Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Russian-to-English Translations for 2015

Compiling annual lists of Russian-to-English translations has grown into a big job! That, of course, is good news, as is the fact that the 2015 list has around 35 entries already and I’m still waiting for information from several translators about books that are coming out this year. This year’s list seems to have a particularly nice blend of genres: there’s lots of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as two children’s books.

A few caveats, as always. This list is just a start—I’ll be happy to add books throughout the year and make corrections, as necessary. Please e-mail me with any changes; my address is on the sidebar. As last year, this is a global list that includes new translations and retranslations, though I’ve limited re-releases to fiction titles. I’ve linked titles on the list to publishers’ pages wherever possible. Publication dates are notoriously subject to slippage; I have transferred a number of books that appeared on the 2014 list to this post and have [edit!] crossed out books on this year’s list that were delayed. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy reference. I’m taking names and titles for 2016 now, so please feel free to send them in. Please note, too, that I have crossed out titles on the 2014 list that weren’t actually published in 2014; I may have missed some. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation list: If you have a book to add, please add it in a comment.

Happy reading!

Aristov, Vladimir: Selected Poems of Vladimir Aristov, translated by Julia Trubikhina (Kunina), Betsy Hulick, Gerald Janecek, Helga Olshvang (Landauer), and Donald Wesling; Ugly Duckling Presse, Spring 2015.

Baratynsky, Yevgeny: A Science Not for the Earth: Selected Poems & Letters, edited by Ilya Bernstein, translated by Rawley Grau; Ugly Duckling Presse, Spring 2015.

Basinsky, Pavel: Leo Tolstoy: Flight from Paradise, translated by Scott Moss; Glagoslav, 2015. This book won the 2010 Big Book Award.

Chekhov, Anton: The Prank: The Best of the Young Chekhov, translated by Maria Bloshteyn; New York Review Books, July 2015. Illustrations by Anton Chekhov’s brother Nikolai.

Chekhov, Anton: The Cherry Orchard, translated Robert Nelson, Richard Pevear, and Larissa Volokhonsky; Theatre Communications Group, 2015.

Elizarov, Mikhail: The Librarian, translated by Andrew Bromfield; Pushkin Press. A Russian Booker Prize winner that I enjoyed. (previous post)

Ganieva, Alisa: The Mountain and the Wall, translated by Carol Apollonio; Deep Vellum, June 2015.

Hellbeck, Jochen: Stalingrad: The City that Defeated the Third Reich, translated by Christopher Tauchen; Public Affairs, 2015. (A portion of this book, which sounds very interesting, was written in German and translated by Dominic Bonfiglio.)

Ismailov, Hamid: The Underground, translated by Carol Ermakov; Restless Books, 2015.

Kapitsa, Sergei: Paradoxes of Growth, translated by Inna Tsys and edited by Scott D. Moss and Huw Davies; Glagoslav, 2015.

Khemlin, Margarita: The Investigator, translated by Melanie Moore; Glagoslav, 2015.

Kushner, Aleksandr: Apollo in the Grass: Selected Poems, translated by Carol Ueland and Robert Carnevale; FSG, 2015.

Loginov, Vladlen: Vladimir Lenin: How to Become a Leader, translated by anonymous; Glagoslav, May 2014.

Mukhina, Lena: The Diary of Lena Mukhina: A Girl’s Life in the Siege of Leningrad, translated by Amanda Love Darragh; Macmillan, 2015.

Otroshenko, Vladislav: Addendum to a Photo Album, translated by Lisa Hayden; Dalkey Archive Press, March 2015.

Pavlov, Oleg: Requiem for a Soldier, translated by Anna Gunin; And Other Stories, July 2015.

Pavlov, Oleg: Asystole, translated by Arch Tait; Glagoslav, April 2015. (previous post)

Pushkin, Alexander: Eugene Onegin, translated by Roger Clarke; Alma Press, May 2015. (rerelease)

Rybakova, Maria: Gnedich, translated by Elena Dimova; Glagoslav, fall 2015.

Shishkin, Mikhail: Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Storiesof Mikhail Shishkin, translated by Marian Schwartz, Leo Shtutin, Mariya Bashkatova, and Sylvia Maizell; Deep Vellum Publishing, May 2015.

Sokolov, Sasha: A School for Fools, translated by Alexander Boguslawski; New York Review Books, July 2014.

Sorokin, Vladimir, The Blizzard, translated by Jamey Gambrell; FSG, late 2015. (previous post)

Starobinets, Anna: Catlantis, translated by Jane Bugaeva; Pushkin Children’s Books, fall 2014. (previous post)

Slavnikova, Olga: Light-Headed, translated by Andrew Bromfield; Dedalus Books, November 2015.

Stepnova, Marina: The Women of Lazarus, translated by Lisa Hayden; World Editions, fall 2014. (previous post)

Strugatsky, Boris and Strugatsky, Arkady: The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn, translated by Joshua Billings; Melville House Press, March 2015.

Tarkovsky, Arseny: I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky, translated by Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev; CSU Poetry Center, May 2015.

Tolstoy, Leo: The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories, translated by Roger Cockrell; Alma Press, April 2015.

Tolstoy, Leo: The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater, with notes by Andrew Kahn; Oxford University Press, 2015.

Tsvetaeva, Marina: The Essential Poetry, translated by Michael M. Naydan and Slava I. Yastremski; Glagoslav, May 2015.

Ulitskaya, Ludmila: The Big Green Tent, translated by Bela Shayevich and Polly Gannon; FSG, 2015.

Vinogradova, Lyuba: Defending the Motherland, translated by Arch Tait; MacLehose Press, April 2015.

Various: The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, ed. Robert Chandler, Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski; Penguin Classics, February 2015.

Various: Hit Parade: The Orbita Group, edited by Kevin Platt; Ugly Duckling Presse, Spring 2015. Multiple authors and many translators represented in this bilingual Russian-English collection. An article from The Calvert Journal.

Various: Late and Post Soviet Russian Literature: A Reader, Vol. II, edited by Mark Lipovetsky and Lisa Ryoko Wakamiya. Poetry, prose, and scholarly texts; Academic Studies Press, September 2015.

Various: Russian Silver Age Poetry: Texts and Contexts, Sibelan E.S. Forrester and Martha M.F. Kelly; Academic Studies Press, May 2015.

Various: Red Star Tales: A Century of Russian and Soviet Science Fiction, ed. Yvonne Howell; Russian Life Books, November 2015.

Vodolazkin, Eugene: Laurus, translated by Lisa Hayden; Oneworld Publications, October 2015. (previous post)

Wilke, Daria: Playing a Part, translated by Marian Schwartz; Arthur A. Levine, spring 2015.

Woolf, Oleg: Bessarabian Stamps, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Phoneme Media, March 2015. I have a copy of Bessarabian Stamps and hope to read it soon.

Up Next: Eugene Vodolazkin’s Solovyov and Larionov and Lena Eltang’s Cartagena.

Disclaimers: The usual.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

One Shortlist (NatsBest), One Long List (Big Book)

Last week was so packed with work that I came close to missing the National Bestseller Award (NatsBest) shortlist: thank goodness for some somnambulant scrolling on Facebook! To make this a double-your-pleasure week, the Big Book Award’s long list was released, too. Here are highlights:


The NatsBest shortlist came, as usual, with the point totals each finalist gathered during first-round voting. I’ll rework some of my own descriptions from my post about the long list.

  • Sergei Nosov’s Фигурные скобки (Curly Brackets) (19 points): Described by fellow finalist Anna Matveeva as magical realism about a mathematician who goes from Moscow to Saint Petersburg for a conference of микромаг-s. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that Matveeva Googled “congress of micromagicians”—that’s what the word looks like, though for some reason I like the sound of “microwizard” better—and found several thousand links to appearances by various sorts of magicians. Some English-language Googling brought up the term “micromagic,” a word I’d never heard, though of course I know very little about magic in general. Point of interest: according to Wikipedia, “micromentalism is mentalism performed in an intimate session.” I enjoyed one of Nosov’s books but abandoned another, and this one sounds just crazy enough that it might work. Apparently the 19 points Nosov’s book earned is a NatsBest record.
  • Oleg Kashin’s Горби-дрим (Gorby-Dream) (6 points): Yes, a book about Gorbachev by a journalist.
  • Anna Matveeva’s Девять девяностых (Nine from the Nineties) (6 points): Short stories. Some, including (apparently) this one, were written for Snob. I thought some of Matveeva’s stories in an earlier collection were very decent.
  • Alexander Snegirev’s Вера (Vera, a name and noun that translates as Faith) (6 points): A short novel about a forty-year-old woman who is unmarried. Snegirev’s Facebook description, posted at the time of the NatsBest long list, includes words like dramatic, comic, erotic (a bit), and political (a little). I’m looking forward to reading it. Starting tonight.
  • Vasilii Avchenko’s Кристалл в прозрачной оправе (Crystal in a Transparent Frame) (5 points): This book’s subtitle is “lyrical lectures about water and stones,” and Avchenko apparently covers many aspects of life in Vladivostok, including fish(ing), as in this excerpt.
  • Tatyana Moskvina’s Жизнь советской девушки (Life of a Soviet Girl) (5 points): Apparently a memoir about life in Leningrad during the 1960s through 1980s, with lots of detail. 

As for the Big Book’s long list, well, it is long, weighing in at 30 books, so I’ll just pick out a few points, though they’re probably the dullest points since they leave out the writers who are new to me: I’ve only read about half the writers on the list.

  • Four authors are on the afore-mentioned NatBest shortlist, for the same books: Sergei Nosov, Anna Matveeva, Alexander Snegirev, and Tatyana Moskvina.
  • There are several authors I’ve read in the past, beyond Nosov, Matveeva, and Snegirev: Elena Bochorishvili (Только ждать и смотреть/Just Wait and Watch), Alisa Ganieva (Жених и невеста/Bride and Groom), Andrei Gelasimov (Холод/Cold), Eduard Limonov (Дед. Роман нашего времени/Grandfather. A Novel of Our Time), Viktor Pelevin (Любовь к трем цукербринам/Love for Three Zuckerbrins), Dina Rubina (Русская канарейка/Russian Canary), Sergei Samsonov (Железная кость/Iron Bone), Roman Senchin (Зона затопления/Flood Zone), and Aleksei Slapovskii (Хроника № 13/Chronicle No. 13).
  • There’s also one book I’m reading, albeit very slowly, in spurts: Guzel Yakhina’s debut book, Зулейха открывает глаза (Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes), a historical novel about a kulak woman who, in my reading, currently appears to be on her way to exile.

Disclaimers: The usual, with knowing a few of the writers on the lists and having received books from them or their agents.

Up Next: Eugene Vodolazkin’s Solovyov and Larionov and Lena Eltang’s Cartagena, which is winding down with a surprise ending. The 2015 translation list and perhaps even, hmm, the first in a series of “Translation Notebook” posts, though I’m still working out that idea in my head.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fun with Cats: Starobinets's Catlantis

Sometimes I’m glad I hoard certain books for reading when I know I’ll need something fun and light. Case in point: Anna Starobinets’s Котлантида (Catlantis), which had been napping away on my shelf for several years, occasionally scratching for attention, until a few weeks ago. Catlantis, a children’s chapter book about a cat on a mission, was just the thing for a week that was too full of real-life existential questions (not to mention work on three books in various phases!) to read the sort of heavy-but-wonderful books I generally love so much. Beyond that, I’m glad to have read Catlantis before Jane Bugaeva’s translation comes out from Pushkin Children’s in October (PDF catalogue here, see page 14), just in time for holiday gift-giving.

Catlantis tells the tale of Baguette, a ginger cat who lives on the twelfth floor and loves to sit in the window birdwatching. Baguette doesn’t just watch birds, though: he’s also noticed Purriana, a slender, striped cat with a pink nose. Using Baguette’s family’s dog as a messenger, he and Purriana send each other notes—including Baguette’s poetry, which alludes to everything from Pushkin to favorite foods sources. Baguette, of course, has a competitor for Purriana’s velvety paw: the dreadful dump cat Noir.

Purriana agrees to marry Baguette if he can complete a quest assigned by her great-great grandmother: Baguette, who has powers for time travel, is to go to Catlantis and bring back a certain flower so cats can once again live nine lives. The book’s not very long so I’ll stop with the details here, though I will say that Baguette’s family misses him terribly while he’s away (they’d been planning to put bars on the window before he disappears) and Baguette, who’s of French descent, makes a stop in medieval Europe on his way back from Catlantis. Starobinets includes lots of wonderful word play—I’m sure Jane had tons of fun with that—and even manages to work in questions of religion and belief, related, of course, to black cats.

For my part, Catlantis’s puns and observations of cat peculiarities made me laugh out loud when I really need to. On the more serious side, I appreciated the nine lives element since my real-life existential questions involved my grandmother’s last days: she lived 103 very full years, which must be the human equivalent of at least nine feline lives.

Up Next: Eugene Vodolzakin’s Solovyov and Larionov and Lena Eltang’s Cartagena, a complex murder mystery of sorts that I now seem to be reading slowly because I don’t want to finish it! Also, translators and publishers, please do send me titles and dates for this year’s releases: I’m hoping to post the 2015 translation list soon!

Disclaimers: The usual. I received my copy of Котлантида from Read Russia, thank you!

This post was approved by The Gang of Fur, Edwina and Ireland.