Marian Schwartz translates Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, Mikhail Lermontov, and Leo Tolstoy. Her most recent publications are Andrei Gelasimov's Into the Thickening Fog, Polina Dashkova's Madness Treads Lightly, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1. She is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association and the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships, as well as the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Contemporary Russian Literature and the 2016 Soeurette Diehl Frasier Award from the Texas Institute of Letters.
The University of Notre Dame Press has just published my translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1. This is the third of eight volumes that make up Solzhenitsyn's sweeping masterpiece of historical fiction covering World War I, the two revolutions of 1917, and their aftermath in 1918.
The translation is the first volume to appear in a major, ongoing project to translate and publish all of Solzhenitsyn's untranslated works. I will be translating the next three volumes as well, with the next scheduled for publication in a year's time.
It is a great privilege to be contributing to the opus of an author whose works such as One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and First Circle were such an inspiration to me decades ago, at the very beginning of my love affair with Russian literature.
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.
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!
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 Review 34, 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.” Chtenia 05 (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.