This Friday, November 4, 2016, I'll be delivering the Marilyn Gaddis Rose Lecture for the Literary Division of the American Translators Association on "The Business of Retranslating the Classics," at its annual conference, being held in San Francisco.
I'll be talking about the specific economics of publishing re-translations of classics that makepublishers eager to produce new translations of classic and near-classic texts and address how, equipped with an understanding of how publishers think, literary translators can navigate the classics to their artistic and economic advantage.
If you are one of the thousands attending this vast conference, I hope to see you at my lecture, as well as at my joint presentation with Rosamund Bartlett on our differing approaches to rendering Tolstoy's prose successfully in English, focusing on the linguistic and stylistic decisions we each took in translating selected characteristic passages.
This time the author takes us to the equivalent of Yakutsk, where a hometown boy who has made good in Moscow as a film director has returned in the dead of winter to clear his bad conscience, only to encounter a city on the brink of catastrophe as it finds out exactly what extreme cold means when the city's central heating supply partially shuts down and evacuation is not an option.
Andrei Gelasimov's striking novel Thirst was published in 2011, but now we have a new, if brief, review to add to the accolades for this gem:
Masterfully translated from its original Russian by award-winning translator Marian Schwartz, Thirst tells the story of 20-year-old Chechen war veteran, Kostya. Maimed beyond recognition by a tank explosion, Kostya spends weeks on end locked inside his apartment, his sole companion the vodka bottles spilling from the refrigerator.
If you missed this one when it first came out, now would be a great time to get started on Gelasimov.
Last month I had the great pleasure of doing a reading of "Calligraphy Lesson," a story by Mikhail Shishkin, which first appeared on Words Without Borders and was published this year in Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories, published by Deep Vellum.
The reading was especially enjoyable because I shared the bill with Marcela Sulak, who was launching her new book of poetry translation, Twenty Girls To Envy Me, so the audience certainly got to hear a range of material!
Now Austin's excellent Malvern Books, which hosted the event, has posted a video of the reading, which you can enjoy by clicking here.
The new issue of Ezra is just out, featuring my translation of Olga Slavnikova's story "The Recluse"--one of twelve marvelous "train stories" she wrote originally for the Russian Railroads in-train magazine.
If you like this as much as I do, you can find others from this set in various literary magazines: Subtropics, Chtenia, New England Review, and American Reader. And be sure to check out Slavnikova's novel 2017 (also my translation).