Sunday, May 8, 2016

New Russian-to-English Translations for 2016

I’m happy to say that compiling lists of Russian-to-English translations continues to be a big job! The list for 2016 contains about three dozen titles—roughly the same as in 2015—and there’s a blend of genres again this year, too, with plenty of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. There’s also an interesting combination of contemporary and classic literature. As I mentioned in 2014, grant programs from the Institute of Translation and the Prokhorov Fund’s Transcript Program contribute tremendously, both directly and indirectly, to publisher interest in Russian-to-English translations. I know that I’m not the only translator who’s tremendously grateful to both organizations for all they do to support publishers, translators, and writers.

A few caveats, as always. This list is just a start—I’ll be adding books throughout the year and making 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. I’ve linked titles on the list to publishers’ pages wherever possible. Publication dates are notoriously subject to slippage; I transfer books from year to year as necessary and have crossed out titles on the 2015 list that weren’t actually published in 2015. Update: I have done the same for 2016 titles that were moved to 2017. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy reference. I’m taking names and titles for 2017 now, so please feel free to send them in. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation post: If you have a book to add, please add it in a comment on that page.

As always, happy reading!

Alexievich, Svetlana: Chernobyl Prayer, translated by Anna Gunin and Arch Tait; Penguin Modern Classics, out now.

Alexievich, Svetlana: Second-Hand Time, translated by Bela Shayevich; Fitzcarraldo Editions (UK) and Random House (US), May 2016.

Aristov, Vladimir: What We Saw from This Mountain, translated by Julia Trubikhina (Kunina), Betsy Hulick, Gerald Janecek; Ugly Duckling Presse, spring 2016.

Babel, Isaac: Odessa Stories, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Pushkin Press, November 2016.

Belenkaya, Nadezhda: Wake in Winter, translated by Andrea Gregovich, Amazon Crossing, November 2016.

Bulgakov, Mikhail: The White Guard, translated by Roger Cockrell; Alma Classics, August 2016.

Chekhov, Anton: Little Apples and Other Early Stories, translated by Peter Constantine; Steven Stories Press, January 2016.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: The Double, translated by Hugh Aplin; Alma Classics, August 2016.

Chizhova, Elena: Children of Zaches translated by Carol Ermakova; Glagoslav, 2016.

Gazdanov, Gaido: The Flight, translated by Bryan Karetnyk; Pushkin Press, March 2016.

Gelasimov, Andrei: Cold, translated by Marian Schwartz; Amazon Crossing, 2016.
Grigorieva, Lydia: Shards from the Polar Ice: Selected Poems; translated by John Farndon with Olga Nakston; Glagoslav, August 2016.

Grishkovets, Evgeni: The Shirt, translated by Ronan Quinn; Glagoslav, 2016.

Gromova, Natalia: Moscow in the 1930s: A Novel from the Archives; translated by Christopher Culver, Glagoslav, May 2016.

Ivanov, Georgy: Disintegration of the Atom/Petersburg Winters, translated by Jerome Katsell and Stanislav Shvabrin; Academic Studies Press, April 2016.

Kapitsa, Sergei: Paradoxes of Growth, translated by Inna Tsys and edited by Scott D. Moss and Huw Davies; Glagoslav, May 2016.

Kashin, Oleg: Fardwar, Russia!, translated by Will Evans; Restless Books, January 2016.

Klekh, Igor: Adventures in the Slavic Kitchen, translated by Michael Naydan and Slava Yastremski; Glagoslav, 2016. (A food book, what a rarity!)

Kobrin, Kirill: Eleven Prague Corpses, translated by Veronika Lakotova; Dalkey Archive Press, 2016.

Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund: The Return of Munchausen, translated by Joanne Turnbull; NYRB Classics, December 2016.

Kurchatkin, Anatoly: Tsunami, translated by Arch Tait; Glagoslav, 2016.

Kurkov, Andrei: The Bickford Fuse, translated by Boris Dralyuk; MacLehose Press, May 2016.

Lebedev, Sergei: Oblivion, translated by Nina W. Bouis; New Vessel Press, January 2016. This one’s on the shelf; I’ll be reading it soon.

Lermontov, Mikhail: A Hero of Our Time, translated by Elizabeth Cheresh Allen; Northwestern University Press, August 2016. An old favorite in what is apparently a new translation; I just love this book (previous post).

Levental, Vadim: Masha Regina, translated by Lisa Hayden; Oneworld Publications, May 10, 2016. (previous post)

Lukyanenko, Sergei: Sixth Watch, translated by Andrew Bromfield; Harper Paperbacks (US)/William Heinemann (UK), August 31/September 1 respectively.

Mandelstam, Osip: Voronezh Notebooks, translated by Andrew Davis; New York Review Books, 2016.

Mayakovsky, Vladimir: Vladimir Mayakovsky and Other Poems, translated by James Womack; Carcanet Press, October 2016.

Minkina-Taycher, Elena: The Rebinder Effect, translated by Christopher Culver; Glagoslav, 2016. (previous post) (Note that the effect in question is named for a scientist, whose name transliterates as Petr Rebinder, but that the scientific effect is very often, as on Wikipedia, spelled "Rehbinder.")

Nemzer, Anna: Prisoner, translated by Ronan Quinn; Glagoslav, February 2016.

Osminkin, Roman: Not a Word About Politics, translated by Olga Bulatova, Cement Collective, Jason Cieply, Ian Dreiblatt, Brian Droitcour, Keith Gessen, Ainsley Morse and Bela Shayevich, Anastasiya Osipova, Jon Platt, and David Riff; Cicada Press, May 2016. Double your fun: it's bilingual!

Platonov, Andrei: Fourteen Little Red Huts and Other Plays, translated by Robert Chandler, Jesse Irwin, and Susan Larsen; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, December 2016. Edited by Robert Chandler.

Pushkin, Alexander: Yevgeny Onegin, translated by Anthony Briggs; Pushkin Press, April 2016.

Pushkin, Alexander: Novels, Tales, Journeys: The Complete Prose of Alexander Pushkin, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; Knopf, November 2016. 

Sharov, Vladimir: The Rehearsals, translated by Oliver Ready; Dedalus Books, 2016.

Shishkin, Mikhail: Taking Izmail, translated by Andrew Bromfield; Quercus, June 2016.

Shklovsky, Viktor: Viktor Shklovsky, A Reader, translated by Alexandra Berlina; Bloomsbury Publishing, December 2016.

Sinyavsky, Andrei: Strolls with Pushkin, translated by (the simplified version!) Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy, Slava I. Yastremski, and Michael Naydan, with Olha Tytarenko; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, December 2016.

Sokolov, Sasha: Between Dog and Wolf, translated by Alexander Boguslawski; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, December 2016.

Stratanovsky, Sergey: Muddy River: Selected Poems, translated by J. Kates; Carcanet Press Ltd., May 1, 2016.

Strugatsky, Arkady and Strugatsky, Boris: The Doomed City, translated by Andrew Bromfield; Chicago Review Press, July 2016.

Teffi: Rasputin and Other Ironies, translated by Rose France, Robert Chandler, and Anne Marie Jackson; Pushkin Press, May 2016. This book is known as Tolstoy, Rasputin, Others, and Me: The Best of Teffi for the NYRB Classics edition also scheduled for May 2016.

Teffi: Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, Anne Marie Jackson, and Irina Steinberg; Pushkin Press, May 2016. Same title for the NYRB Classics edition, also due in May 2016.

Tsvetaeva, Marina: Letter to the Amazon, translated by A'Dora Phillips, Gaëlle Cogan; Ugly Duckling Presse, spring 2016. With an introduction by Catherine Ciepiela.

Ulitskaya, Ludmila: The Kukotsky Enigma, translated by Diane Nemec Ignashev; Northwestern University Press, August 2016. Ulitskayas Russian Booker winner.

Vagner, Yana: To the Lake, translated by Maria Wiltshire; Skyscraper Publications, fall 2016.

Various: 1917: Literature from the Russian Revolution, ed. Boris Dralyuk, translated by Boris Dralyuk et al; Pushkin Press, December 2016. I’m very happy to say that I translated a story by Mikhail Prishvin for this anthology!

Various: Written in the Dark: Five Siege Poets, translated by Anand Dibble, Ben Felker-Quinn, Ainsley Morse, Charles Swank, and Jason Wagner; Ugly Duckling Presse, Spring 2016. Poets are Gennady Gor, Dmitry Maksimov, Sergey Rudakov, Vladimir Sterligov, and Pavel Zaltsman, edited by Polina Barskova.

Various: A Very Russian Christmas: New Vessel Press, October 2016. There's a Zoshchenko story on the New Vessel Web site, here.

Various: 100 Poems About Moscow: An Anthology, translated by various translators, compiled by A. Skortsov; BGS-press, 2016. A bilingual edition that many friends and colleagues were involved with.

And this Mongolian poetry collection, just because I feel like mentioning it:
Oidov, Tseveendorjin: The End of the Dark Era, translated by Simon Wickhamsmith; Phoneme Media, July 2016. The book also includes Oidov’s artwork.

Disclaimers: The usual.

Up Next: Eugene Vodolazkin’s The Aviator, which I just plain loved. Alexander Snegirev’s Vera, which I may yet call Faith. Maria Galina’s Autochthons


  1. Replies
    1. I know, they're growing! And I'm sure there will be more books to add as well as many I'll miss...

  2. Thanks as always for your hard work in compiling these extremely helpful lists! The usual nitpicks:
    The Wake in Winter link doesn't work.
    "Christofer" Culver should be Christopher.
    The "Rebinder" Effect should surely be Rehbinder.

    Also, it's great to see Raspad atoma (Disintegration of the Atom) and Peterburgskie zimy (Petersburg Winters) finally get the translations they've needed forever; I guess it would be too much to expect that the publisher would mention how, uh, disputed the relation of the latter to the truth is!

    1. Thank you, as always, Languagehat for your comment and your proofreading! This is the best kind of nitpicking. (By the way, I almost wrote a P.S. to the post saying "Languagehat, have at it!")

      And so. I fixed the link. The spellings came from the publisher but "Christofer" is clearly wrong and there's no page yet for the Minkina-Taycher book so, for now, I inserted a note with that listing. (I suspect the "h" is inserted in the transliterated name to avoid making the effect sound like what happens when a book is given a new cover.)

      I, too, was very happy to see the Ivanov book on the list, particularly since little bits of his poetry seem to come up when I translate Marina Stepnova. This happened just the other day!

      Thank you again, Languagehat.

    2. The h is part of the (Baltic) German name; the physicist's ancestor was Otto Friedrich von Rehbinder.

    3. And (just because I'm Languagehat) I'll add that Reh 'deer' is related to English roe.

    4. Aha, got it, thank you! Those roe deer seem to come up almost as often as Ivanov's poetry. (And then there's Sears, Roebuck...)

  3. Thanks for the great list! My TBR pile just got bigger. I just finished my first Teffi and loved it so I bought 2 more. I also plan on reading Masha Regina and The Flight. I am currently reading Voroshilovgrad from Deep Vellum. It's also a great post-Soviet book!

    1. You're welcome, Melissa! I'm glad the list is helpful and am doubly glad to hear you already have so many Russian books lined up. I agree about Voroshilovgrad: there's something very, hmm, marvelous about it. It's a book I think back to with fond memories. I'll have to watch for your post about the book so I can link it to mine, which is about the Russian translation. Enjoy all your books!

  4. Not to take ANYTHING away from anyone on this list, but is anyone else disturbed by how few women are being translated? In this representation alone, well under 50% of the titles are written by women, and a couple of those women have multiple titles, meaning overall representation is even weaker than it might first appear. Again, all respect to everyone associated with these translations, but I think we as translators can do more to ensure that readers hear ALL the voices speaking in Russian.

    1. Oh, if I were to count the ways I would see a different list, in an ideal world! Considering the limits of the genre of blog comments, a few things...

      Russian literature in English translation seems to be on an upswing and I'm very grateful--both as an observer and as a translator who benefits--that we're seeing the increases in translations that we have come about in the last several years, with so much help from programs at the Institute of Translation and the Prokhorov Foundation. Even so, Russian literature has so much to offer that it's hard to get at all its diversity, into which I'd include (among other things) geography, genre, and gender. And then there's the publishing side of things, which is especially complex because books and publishers need to fit each other. I'm hoping recent research showing that UK readers seem to gravitate toward translations will help increase interest among more publishers, beyond the ones who've already shown exclusive or very significant commitment to literature in translation. Will success stories like Ferrante help other female authors, including from Russia? There was a piece with recommendations for sufferers of "Ferrante fever" that mentioned my translation of Marina Stepnova's Women of Lazarus so perhaps they already have.

      For my part--because I agree that translators can play a very big role in bringing writers to publishers and helping books win attention--I'm happily working away on a Stepnova novel, Безбожный переулок (Italian Lessons (previous post, at least provisionally, in English), which will be her second in English translation, and Guzel Yakhina's Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes (previous post), a debut novel that is remarkable for its depth, sense of history, literariness, and reader appeal. I'm not sure when the Stepnova book will be published (these lists really are works in progress!) but the Yakhina book isn't due until early 2018. I know there are other novels written by women that will hit the lists in the next year or two so there is definitely more on the way.

      I could go on and on and on and on about this and related issues for days but will stop there in this tiny little window!

    2. I forgot to say thank you for your comment, Kate! Thank you!

  5. I wish someone would translate Elena Veltman’s 1853 short novel Виктор, which I wrote about here.

    1. This sounds like a very fun one, Languagehat, especially with the intertextuality! (And I have to say that "fun with Trediakovsky" is something I don't hear nearly often enough...)

  6. Thanks so much for the list! Quite a few I'm familiar with and want to read. The one that intrigues me the most is "The Bickford Fuse" by Kurkov. And...I see it's already been released...great!

    1. And a belated thank you for your comment, Dwight! I'm glad the list is useful and can't help but agree that The Bickford Fuse sounds very good. Happy reading!

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