1. This summer, the ICA in London is celebrating 100 years of Tove Jansson with the exhibit Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago. The photos above are from the show, and the captions are as follows: 

    C-G Hagström
    Tove at her studio in Helsinki, 1990

    Per Olov Jansson
    Tove’s first cottage, Sandskår, Pellinge, 1943

    Per Olov Jansson
    Tove on rocky stones, 1950s

    Per Olov Jansson
    Tove working with wood, 1950s

    All images courtesy the Finnish Institute in London.

  2. Happy Birthday, Tove Jansson!

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    Today is the 100th anniversary of Moomin-creator and NYRB Classics author Tove Jansson’s birth. Join us in wishing Jansson a happy birthday (or, “Hyvää syntymäpäivää” in Finnish) with a week-long celebration on the blog.

  3. Running away (from assassins / evil secret service / the ghost of a little girl) this weekend? Take these books with you. And run faster.

    Equal Danger, by Leonardo Sciascia

    An attorney, a judge, and then another judge are all shot dead in an imaginary country. Random or conspiracy? Either way, it’s paranoia city in Sciascia’s metaphysical detective novel.

    The Other, by Thomas Tryon

    An evil twin story. A really, really creepy evil twin story. What more do you need to know?

    Red Lights, by Georges Simenon

    Steve and Nancy just want to pick their kids up from camp, but when Steve decides to get drunk and pick up an escapee from Sing Sing along the way, the couples’ plans are derailed. Those kids are just going to have to wait.

    The Mad and the Bad, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

    What do you get when you put an evil architect, an insane asylum discharge, a super bratty kid, and a hired gunman together? Chaos. Bloody chaos.

    Rogue Male, by Geoffrey Household

    A bored hunter decides to play out his own version of “The Most Dangerous Game,” with a vicious dictator as the target. Suffice it to say, the game turns on him and he’s chased o’er hill and vale by a hunter as good—or better—than him.

    Fatale, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

    Aimee’s secret to being a great killer?: be beautiful, be deceptive, and always exercise in the buff (no, that’s not a euphemism).

    The Fox in the Attic, by Richard Hughes

    A young Welshman, unjustly considered complicit in a murder, travels to Bavaria to stay at his relatives’ castle. There he discovers a Germany torn apart by its recent defeat in WWI, unrequited love, and an intimate look into a growing political party that threatens to change everyone’s future.

    The Murderess, by Alexandros Papadiamantis

    It’s no fun being a woman on the dirt-poor island of Skiathos, and no one knows that better than Papadiamantis’ grandma-turned-murderer, Hadoula.

    Don’t Look Now, by Daphne du Maurier

    Daphne du Maurier was a master of nightmares, and this collection is full of them: vacation-ruining ghosts, midnight trysts that devolve into homicides, and the killer birds that Hitchcock loved so much.

  4. Hungarian is pretty…and you should join our book club.

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    —from the autograph manuscript of Béla Zombory-Moldován’s The Burning of the World (Chapter 7, to be exact).

    The Burning of the World is the August selection for the NYRB Classics Book Club. If you join by August 15th, The Burning of the World will be your first selection. So do it! 

  5. Now On Sale: The Burning of the World

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    Then I raced to the bathing station. It was all shut up, and on its wall was a notice which listed call-up dates by year of birth. I was to report for service at Veszprém— Veszprém!— with the Thirty-First Regiment of the Royal Hungarian Army by the fourth of August. I stared at the poster as if I had just suffered a stroke, reading it over and over, until I realized that I was just looking at the words rather than taking in the meaning.

    Only one word mattered: war.

    —from the beginning of The Burning of the World, a recently-discovered memoir of World War I by artist Béla Zombory-Moldován. The Burning of the World—which was translated from Hungarian by the author’s own grandson, Peter Zombory-Moldovan—is now on sale.

    There’s a story behind the photo on the cover of this book. Learn more about that here.

  6. The litblog, Fiction Advocate, recently posted an article on the 7 best Hungarian writers of the 20th Century and the list included Gyula Krúdy, Antal Szerb, Dezsö Kosztolányi, and Frigyes Karinthy (pictured above in that order).

    Check out the whole article over at Fiction Advocate here.

  7. "…be authoritative but also odd."

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    I love Elizabeth Hardwick’s sentences. They’re strange and wayward. They veer. They avoid the point. Sometimes they are specific, but often they grow soft-focused and evasive at the crucial moment. They fuzz out by adopting a tone at once magisterial and muffled. When I was writing a biography of Andy Warhol, I told myself, “Imitate Elizabeth Hardwick.” By that advice, I meant: be authoritative but also odd.

    —Wayne Koestenbaum, from his essay “Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sentences” in My 1980s and Other Essays

    Elizabeth Hardwick is the author of the NYRB Classics Sleepless Nights, Seduction and Betrayal, and The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick.

    Photo from The Barnard Archives and Special Collections, photographer unknown.

  8. Last week NYRB Classics took you to the sea (or at least to the pool), this week we’re taking you on a grand urban tour with a peek inside some of our books set in Paris, New York, Berlin, and Amsterdam.

    The New York Stories of Elizabeth Hardwick, selected and with an introduction by Darryl Pinckney

    Sometimes while waiting for a taxi at Seventy-ninth Street, after midnight, it is possible, with a certain amount of effort or with a little too much wine, to imagine the city returned to trees, old footpaths, and clear, untroubled waters, returned to innocence and nautical miscalculations and ancestral heroics.

    The New York Stories of Henry James, selected and with an introduction by Colm Tóibín

    That’s the way to live in New York—to move every three or four years. Then you always get the last thing. It’s because the city’s growing so quick—you’ve got to keep up with it. It’s going straight up town—that’s where New York is going…

    The New York Stories of Edith Wharton, selected and with an introduction by Roxana Robinson

    As he walked he glanced curiously up at the ladder-like doorsteps which may well suggest to the future archaeologist that all the streets of New York were once canals; at the spectral tracery of the trees about St. Luke’s, the fretted mass of the Cathedral, and the mean vista of the long side streets.

    Last Words from Montmartre, by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Ari Larissa Heinrich

    It’s as if my life in Paris is entering a blooming thicket. I could really grow to adore Parisian life, its inspiration, as well as the work I’m doing here, the friends I’m meeting, this incredible banquet the city offers. I feel like I’m ready to become an adult here, someone worthy of my own respect.

    Paris Stories, by Mavis Gallant, selected and with an introduction by Michael Ondaatje

    Sandor Speck’s first art gallery in Paris was on the Right Bank, near the Church of St. Elisabeth, on a street too narrow for cars. When his block was wiped off the map to make way for a five-story garage, Speck crossed the Seine to the shadow of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, where he set up shop in a picturesque slum protected by law from demolition. When this gallery was blown up by Basque separatists, who had mistaken it for a travel agency exploiting the beauty of their coast, he collected his insurance money and moved to the Faubourg Saint-Germain.

    Memoirs of Montparnasse, by John Glassco, introduction by Louis Begley

    Evening was falling when I left the Quai d’Orléans, crossed the Pont de la Tournelle and went along the Quai de Montebello to Saint-Michel. I felt the city had swallowed me and I now made part of it. It was an experience of possession by something so stately and vivid that I walked along in a dream of absolute subservience to stone and river and sky.

    Amsterdam Stories, by Nescio, introduction by Joseph O’Neill, translated from the Dutch by Damion Searls

    I had come back to Holland to suffer poverty and write articles and stories in the neighborhood where I had lived for so long. And I wanted to go through my last two rijksdollars in a city that for a while, in my absence, had been the center of the world.

    Nights in the Gardens of Brooklyn, by Harvey Swados, preface by Grace Paley

    There was a time when New York was everything to me: my mother, my mistress, my Mecca, when I could no more have wanted to live any place else than I could have conceived of myself as a daddy, disciplining my boy and dandling my daughter.

    Berlin Stories, by Robert Walser, edited by Jochen Greven, translated from the German and with an introduction by Susan Bernofsky

    Berlin, by comparison—how splendid! A city like Berlin is an ill-mannered, impertinent, intelligent scoundrel, constantly affirming the things that suit him and tossing aside everything he tires of. Here in the big city you can definitely feel the waves of intellect washing over the life of Berlin society like a sort of bath.

  9. Krzhizhanovsky’s Autobiography of a Corpse Wins the 2014 PEN Translation Prize

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    NYRB Classics is pleased to announce that Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, translated from the Russian by Joanne Turnbull & Nikolai Formozov, has won the 2014 PEN Translation Prize.

    Each year, the PEN Translation Prize is awarded for a book-length translation of prose into English. This year’s Translation Prize judges were Ann Goldstein, Becka McKay, and Katherine Silver. Here is an excerpt from the judges’ citation:

    Fantastical, hallucinatory, and wildly imaginative, the book is rich in linguistic playfulness—part metafiction, part exploration into the farthest reaches and minutest details of reality…Joanne Turnbull, in collaboration with Nikolai Formozov, has produced a compellingly readable translation that is also inventive, that improvises when necessary and consistently insinuates a strangeness and beauty of other worlds, both literary and real…With her notes and her translation, [Turnbull] effectively offers us Krzhizanovsky’s genius—unrecognized and suppressed during his lifetime—rather than drawing attention to herself and her own considerable resourcefulness and artistry. This is a rare and welcome conjunction of a literary text that allows the art of translation to shine and a translator who has brilliantly met the challenge.

    To read the rest of the judges’ citation, visit the PEN website.

  10. Happy 90th Birthday to William Gass

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    Writing is a way of making the writer acceptable to the world—every cheap, dumb, nasty thought, every despicable desire, every noble sentiment, every expensive taste. There isn’t very much satisfaction in getting the world to accept and praise you for things that the world is prepared to praise. The world is prepared to praise only shit. One wants to make sure that the complete self, with all its qualities, is not just accepted but approved … not just approved—whoopeed.

    —William Gass, interviewed in the Summer 1977 issue of The Paris Review

    We’re wishing a very happy 90th birthday to William Gass, author of On Being Blue and In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, to be published as an NYRB Classic, with an introduction by Joanna Scott, this October.

    Photo credit Frank Di Piazza via Vice.

  11. 
She made herself a large coffee with milk, sat down at the computer, and typed in the address: www.icehammervictims.org. A picture emerged on the monitor: a girl and a boy naked to the waist were pressing their palms to the wound in the center of each others’ chests. Above the picture were the words “Official Site of the Society of Ice Hammer Victims.” Below were the usual links: History of the Society, News, People, Photo Gallery, Personal Stories, Publications, Conjectures, Join Us! Olga clicked on Personal Stories. She skimmed over well-known text — she’d already read all of them a long time ago.
Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy

Let’s pretend that’s iced coffee, shall we?
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    She made herself a large coffee with milk, sat down at the computer, and typed in the address: www.icehammervictims.org. A picture emerged on the monitor: a girl and a boy naked to the waist were pressing their palms to the wound in the center of each others’ chests. Above the picture were the words “Official Site of the Society of Ice Hammer Victims.” Below were the usual links: History of the Society, News, People, Photo Gallery, Personal Stories, Publications, Conjectures, Join Us! Olga clicked on Personal Stories. She skimmed over well-known text — she’d already read all of them a long time ago.

    Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy

    Let’s pretend that’s iced coffee, shall we?

    As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

  12. Postcards from London (Foyles, Charing Cross Road, to be specific) featuring a postcard from Berlin from Robert Walser and NYRB Classics marching up a staircase. Thanks to Gary Perry of Foyles for posting the snaps.

  13. Phinney Books in Seattle has two whole shelves of NYRB Classics and New York Review Childrens Collection titles. All ye residents of Seattle’s Phinney Ridge / Greenwood neighborhood and beyond, visit this store for a better Monday. Or a better any day.
[Photo credit: Tynan Kogane]

    Phinney Books in Seattle has two whole shelves of NYRB Classics and New York Review Childrens Collection titles. All ye residents of Seattle’s Phinney Ridge / Greenwood neighborhood and beyond, visit this store for a better Monday. Or a better any day.

    [Photo credit: Tynan Kogane]

  14. 
Summer. Friends pose for a photograph on a beach. They are tanned and at ease in their outfits of white linen and cotton. The men cover their heads against the bright sun, the women wear their hair bobbed or tied back. They look in the prime of life, mostly in their late twenties or early thirties: young professionals (lawyers, publishers, teachers, a couple of artists) on a group holiday at the Mediterranean coast. They smile or gaze at the view; a small child in its mother’s lap waves to the camera. The photographer—no doubt a local, working the beach during the season—has carefully inscribed the plate with his reference number and the date: 25/vii/1914. The beach is at Novi Vinodolski, on the Adriatic.
The confident man of twenty-nine sitting at the bottom of the photograph is my grandfather Béla Zombory-Moldován, a young artist oblivious to the fact that his carefree holiday is about to be cut short. In three days his country, Austria-Hungary, will be at war. A week from now he will be in uniform, and in just over a month he will be a thousand kilometers away, watching in horror as his comrades are torn apart by Russian artillery in the forests of Galicia.
—Peter Zombory-Moldovan, from the introduction to the First World War memoir The Burning of the World by Béla Zombory-Moldován

The Burning of the World, which Booklist, in a starred review, called “haunting, heartbreaking, and beautifully written,” will be available, for the first time anywhere, on August 5, 2014.

    Summer. Friends pose for a photograph on a beach. They are tanned and at ease in their outfits of white linen and cotton. The men cover their heads against the bright sun, the women wear their hair bobbed or tied back. They look in the prime of life, mostly in their late twenties or early thirties: young professionals (lawyers, publishers, teachers, a couple of artists) on a group holiday at the Mediterranean coast. They smile or gaze at the view; a small child in its mother’s lap waves to the camera. The photographer—no doubt a local, working the beach during the season—has carefully inscribed the plate with his reference number and the date: 25/vii/1914. The beach is at Novi Vinodolski, on the Adriatic.

    The confident man of twenty-nine sitting at the bottom of the photograph is my grandfather Béla Zombory-Moldován, a young artist oblivious to the fact that his carefree holiday is about to be cut short. In three days his country, Austria-Hungary, will be at war. A week from now he will be in uniform, and in just over a month he will be a thousand kilometers away, watching in horror as his comrades are torn apart by Russian artillery in the forests of Galicia.

    —Peter Zombory-Moldovan, from the introduction to the First World War memoir The Burning of the World by Béla Zombory-Moldován

    The Burning of the World, which Booklist, in a starred review, called “haunting, heartbreaking, and beautifully written,” will be available, for the first time anywhere, on August 5, 2014.

  15. 
What in my view brings home the extent of our ignorance is not so much the facts which really are facts, but which we cannot explain, as the explanations we produce of the facts which are not facts at all; which is as much as to say that while we have no principles that should lead us to the truth, we have plenty of others well calculated to lead us away from it.
—Fontenelle, quoted in Paul Hazard’s Crisis of the European Mind

This entry into the Classics and Coffee Club comes with a recommendation from the proprietor of Something by Virtue of Nothing, who says: 

I think that anyone who lives abroad or travels extensively should read at least chapter one of this book. Even where one might disagree, the light-handed style of this heavily informative book is easy to argue with.

As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    What in my view brings home the extent of our ignorance is not so much the facts which really are facts, but which we cannot explain, as the explanations we produce of the facts which are not facts at all; which is as much as to say that while we have no principles that should lead us to the truth, we have plenty of others well calculated to lead us away from it.

    —Fontenelle, quoted in Paul Hazard’s Crisis of the European Mind

    This entry into the Classics and Coffee Club comes with a recommendation from the proprietor of Something by Virtue of Nothing, who says: 

    I think that anyone who lives abroad or travels extensively should read at least chapter one of this book. Even where one might disagree, the light-handed style of this heavily informative book is easy to argue with.

    As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.