Saturday, December 31, 2022

Closing Out 2022 With a New Translation List

I’m going to end this year on the blog the way I ended 2020 and 2021: with a list of the past year’s new translations. Rather than focus on why I’ve been reading a lot but, well, underachieving on the blogging side, I thought it best to look at something positive. It’s particularly heartening that, despite all sorts of difficulties, this year’s list of new translations is longer than last year’s list. How did we get to 48 47 46 47 48.5 49.5 over last year’s 39?

I guess my easy answer is classics: Chekhov and Mandelstam each have three titles on the list, and Tolstoy, Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, and Sorokin (yes, Sorokin, a living classic) each have two. I’m disappointed yet again to see so few books by women on the list: there are only six written entirely by women and three written partially by women. All that said, even if – as always – I would have loved to have seen more women and more contemporary authors on the list, I’m very happily surprised to see that this many translations come out this year. I’ve heard so many stories about books with delayed publication dates as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine that I thought this year’s list would shrink far more. Another factor, one that may have worked both ways and may continue to work both ways: some books were already late because of production delays. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, when the effect of reduced Russian grants may hit harder. Then again, I already have fifteen books on the 2023 list, a pretty good start.

As for disclaimers, caveats, and other details, I’m sure I missed some books, perhaps even a lot of books. As in years past, I’ve included books of all genres and ages. Please add a comment or e-mail me with changes/errors or additions; my address is on the sidebar. NB: Though I generally list only new translations (including retranslations), I do occasionally allow a few reprints and reissues. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy reference to the list. As I mentioned, I’m already taking names and titles for 2023, so please start sending them in. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation post, here: If you have a book to include, please add it in a comment on that page and I’ll be happy to approve it.

I haven’t felt especially festive this holiday season so no fireworks this year. May 2023 bring you health and lots of good books. May 2023 bring peace to Ukraine. And now… off to (among other things) finish my end-of-year cleaning, cook some food, eat some ice cream, and greet 2023 reading Shipnigov’s Стрим (Stream).

Here’s the 2022 list.

Aylisli, Akram: Stone Dreams: A Novel-Requiem, translated by Katherine E. Young, with a foreword by Thomas de Waal; Academic Studies Press, August 2022. This edition reissues a novella that also appears in Farewell, Aylis, published by ASP in 2018. Katherine Young’s Website has more information here about Aylisli. This reissue feels particularly timely and important given that Katherine received the 2022 Granum Foundation Translation Prize for translating Aylisli.

Babel, Isaac: Of Sunshine and Bedbugs: Essential Stories, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Pushkin Press.

Bacharevič, Alhierd: Alindarka’s Children, translated by Petra Reid and Jim Dingley; New Directions, June 2022. The New Directions listing says this: “Winner of the English Pen Award, the novel has been brilliantly rendered into English (from the Russian) and Scots (from the Belarusian): both Belarusian and Scots are on the UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages.” I’m not sure if Russian is a bridge language here or if Bacharevič wrote the novel in both Russian and Belarusian (he self-translated another of his novels… and when that’s the case I wouldn’t consider Russian a bridge language) but since I always allow a few exceptions, I’d include it either way because of my interest in Belarus!

Barskova, Polina: Living Pictures, translated by Catherine Ciepiela; NYRB, September 2022. Living Pictures is on the shelf; it looks very good.

Belorusets, Yevgenia: Lucky Breaks, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky; New Directions, 2022. I first learned of Lucky Breaks from this Indextrious Reader blog post.

Chekhov, Anton: A Taste of Chekhov, translated by Lydia Stone, Paul Richardson, and Constance Garnett; Russian Life/StoryWorkz.

Chekhov, Anton: Steppe, translated by Constance Garnett and Paul Richardson; Russian Life/StoryWorkz. Bilingual edition.

Chekhov, Anton: Small Fry and Other Stories, translated by Stephen Pimenoff; Alma Classics. Alma calls this book “[a] Unique collection of Chekhov’s stories, some of them never translated before into English.”

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment, translated by Roger Cockrell; Alma Classics.

Drabkin, Artem: Voices of Russian Snipers, translated by David Foreman, edited by Artem Drabkin and Andrey Ulanov, with foreword by John Walter; Greenhill Books.

Drobyazhko, Sergey: On the Eastern Front at Seventeen: On the Eastern Front at Seventeen, translated by David Foreman, introduced by David M. Glantz; Greenhill Books.

Efron, Ariadna: No Love Without Poetry: The Memoirs of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Daughter, translated by Diane Nemec Ignashev; Northwestern University Press. 

Etkind, Efim: Barcelona Prose, translated by Helen Reeve, Joyse Man and Julia Trubikhina, with an afterword by David Bethea; Cherry Orchard Books.

Felsen, Yuri: Deceit, translated by Bryan Karetnyk; Prototype Publishing, 2022. U.S. edition from Astra House on the way in February 2023.

Furman, Dmitrii: Imitation Democracy, translated by Ian Dreiblatt; Verso, November 2022. With foreword by Keith Gessen and afterword by Tony Wood.

Gandelsman, Vladimir: A Man Only Needs a Room, translated by Anna Halberstadt, Olga Livshin, and Andrew Janco; New Meridian Arts.

Ganieva, Alisa: Offended Sensibilities, translated by Carol Apollonio; Deep Vellum, 2022. 

Glazova, Anna: For the Shrew, translated by Alex Niemi; Zephyr Press, 2022. Bilingual edition.

Gogol, Nikolai: Petersburg Tales, translated by Dora O’Brien; Alma Classics, 2022.

Gogol, Nikolai: A Place Bewitched and Other Stories, translated by Constance Garnett, edited by Natasha Randall; Picador.

Grossman, Vasily: The People Immortal, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, with an introduction and afterword by Robert Chandler and Julia Volohova, original Russian text edited by Julia Volohova; NYRB, September 2022.

Khersonsky, Boris and Ludmila: The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems, edited by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky, translated by Polina Barskova, Aleks Sigal, Vladislav Davidzon, Olga Livshin, Valzhyna Mort. Eugene Ostashevsky, Diane Seuss, Katherine Young, Javier Zamora; Lost Horse Press.

Korotko, Alexander: War Poems, translated by Andrew Sheppard and Olha Ilchuk; Glagoslav, 2022. A trilingual edition with English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund: Countries That Don’t Exist: Selected Nonfiction, edited by Jacob Emery and Alexander Spektor, with translations by Anthony Anemone, Caryl Emerson, Jacob Emery, Anne O. Fisher, Elizabeth F. Geballe, Reed Johnson, Tim Langen, Alisa Ballard Lin, Muireann Maguire, Benjamin Paloff, Karen Link Rosenflanz, Alexander Spektor, and Joanne Turnbull; Columbia University Press.

Kurkov, Andrey: Diary of an Invasion, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Mountain Leopard Press. A U.S. edition, from Deep Vellum, will be available in spring 2023. This book most definitely exists but, per Boris Dralyuk himself, it is not a translated book so I’m going to strike it but keep it in the post since I’m sure it’s of interest to many!

Kuzmin, Mikhail: New Hull, translated by Simona Schneider; Ugly Duckling Presse.

Kuznetsov, Sergey: The Round Dance of Water, translated by Valeriya Yermishova; Dalkey Archive Press, 2022.

Mandelstam, Osip: Centuries Encircle Me with Fire: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam, compiled, edited, and translated by Ian Probstein; Academic Studies, Press, April 2022.

Mandelstam, Osip: The Voronezh Workbooks, translated by Alistair Noon; Shearsman Books.

Mandelstam, Osip: Occasional and Joke Poems, translated by Alistair Noon; Shearsman Books.

Mashinski, Irina: Giornata, translated by Maria Bloshteyn and Boris Dralyuk; Červená Barva Press, November 2022.

Meshchaninova, Nataliya: Stories of a Life, translated by Fiona Bell; Deep Vellum.

Osipov, Maxim, Kilometer 101, translated by Boris Dralyuk, Nicolas Pasternak Slater, and Alex Fleming, edited by Boris Dralyuk; NYRB, October 2022.

Paustovsky, Konstantin: The Story of a Life, translated by Douglas Smith; Vintage Classics (UK) and New York Review Books (US, coming February 2023).

Pavlov, Ivan: Pavlov on the Conditional Reflex: Papers, 1903-1936, translated by Olga Yokoyama; Oxford University Press. Wow.

Pilnyak, Boris: At the Doors and Other Stories, translated by Emily Laskin, Isaac Zisman, Louis Lozowick, Sofia Himmel, and John Cournos; Sublunary Editions, autumn 2022.

Pushkin, Alexander: Peter the Great’s African: Experiments in Prose, edited and with afterword by Robert Chandler, translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, and Boris Dralyuk; NYRB, April 2022.

Pushkin, Alexander: Lyrics: Volume 4 (1829–37), translated by Roger Clarke, Carleton Copeland, John Coutts, James Falen and Avril Sokolov; Alma Classics. Bilingual edition.

Schwab, Leonid: Everburning Pilot; Cicada Press. This book is described as “A bi-lingual edition of Leonid Schwab’s poetry with an introduction by Maria Stepanova. Edited by Alexander Spektor, Anton Tenser, and Sibelan Forrester.” I’m not sure who translated but since it’s bilingual, I’m listing it.

Shevelev, Mikhail: Not Russian, translated by Brian James Baer and Ellen Vayner; Europa Editions.

Sorokin, Vladimir: Telluria, translated by Max Lawton; NYRB, August 2022.

Sorokin, Vladimir: Their Four Hearts, translated by Max Lawton; Dalkey Archive Press, April 2022.

Tolstoy, Lev: Tolstoy as Philosopher: Essential Short Writings (1835-1910): An Anthology, edited, translated, and introduced by Inessa Medzhibovskaya; Academic Studies Press, October 2022.

Tsvetaeva, Marina: Head on a Gleaming Plate, translated by Christopher Whyte; Shearsman Books. Poems from 1917-1918.

Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Children, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater; NYRB; August 2022.

Turgenev, Ivan: Parasha and Other Poems, translated by Michael Pursglove; Alma Classics. Bilingual edition.

Various: Verses on the Vanguard from Maria Galina, Ekaterina Simonova, Ivan Sokolov, Nikita Sungatov, Alexandra Tsibulya, and Oksana Vasyakina, translated by Elina Alter, Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Halberstadt, Ainsley Morse, Kevin Platt, and Valeriya Yermishova; a bilingual edition from Deep Vellum.

Various: This Is Us Losing Count; Two Lines Press. Poets and translators are: Alla Gorbunova/Elina Alter, Ekaterina Simonova/Il’ia Karagulin, Galina Rymbu/Eugene Ostashevsky, Olga Sedakova/Martha Kelly, Nikita Sungatov/Valeriya Yermishova, Irina Kotova/Matvei Yankelevich, Aleksandra Tsibulia/Catherine Ciepiela, and Oksana Vasyakina/Elina Alter. 

Various: Amanat: Women’s Writing from Kazakhstan, stories translated from the Kazakh by Zaure Batayeva, stories translated from the Russian by Sam Brezeale, Shelley Fairweather-Vega, with a foreword by Gabriel McGuire; Gaudy Boy, July 2022.

Vodolazkin, Eugene: Brisbane, translated by Marian Schwartz; Plough, 2022.

Vysotsky, Vladimir: Selected Works, translated by John Farndon and Olga Nakston; Glagoslav, 2022. A bilingual (Russian and English) edition.

Bonus: Lost Horse Press has a Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Series, which you can learn about here.

Disclaimers and Disclosures. The usual. I know some of the translators, authors, and publishers whose work is on this list.

Up Next. All those books lined up on my shelf… which I’m going to bundle into a few posts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Is Truth Better Than Fiction? 2022’s Big Book Winners

As I sit down to finally write this post, four five days late, truth really does feel stranger than fiction: all three jury prizes for this year’s Big Book Award went to works of nonfiction. Pavel Basinsky won the top prize for his Подлинная история Анны Карениной (The True Story of Anna Karenina). This is Basinsky’s second Big Book win; the first was back in 2010, for Лев Толстой: Бегство из рая (Leo Tolstoy: Flight From Paradise, in Glagoslav’s translation by Huw Davies and Scott Moss).

This year’s second jury prize went to Alexei Varlamov for Имя Розанова (The Name of Rozanov), a biography of Vasily Rozanov. Sergei Belyakov took third prize for Парижские мальчики в сталинской Москве (Parisian Boys in Stalinist Moscow), about Parisian men (including Marina Tsvetaeva’s son, Georgy Efron) and their life and times in Stalinist Moscow.

Readers’ choice voters were more generous to fiction. Guzel Yakhina’s Эшелон на Самарканд (Train to Samarkand), set during the Civil War, won first prize. Basinsky’s True Story won second prize. And readers finished their troika with another novel: Anna Matveeva’s Каждые сто лет (Every Hundred Years).

I’ll conclude by saying that, yes, the three nonfiction awards mystify me more than a bit, even considering comments I’ve read on social media, theorizing about jurors’ voting habits during wartime. Of course my post about this year’s finalists (it’s here!) had me “scratching my head” about the shortlist back in June of this annus horribilis…

P.S. Here, from Big Book, is the rundown of jury voting. As you can see, the numbers are very, very close.

Disclaimers and disclosures: The usual. I translated Yakhina’s Zuleikha. I resigned from the Big Book Award’s Literary Academy (jury) earlier this year.

Up Next: A pile of books that I’m going to bundle into a series of posts. A list of 2022’s new translations; I’m suspecting numbers will be down considerably this year because of the war.