1. Autobiography of a Corpse, once ‘unrecognized and suppressed’, wins the 2014 PEN Translation Prize


    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.

    —Excerpted from the 2014 PEN Translation Prize Judges’ Citation

    In honor of International Translation Day and Banned Books week 2014, we’re saluting Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov, who have brought Autobiography of a Corpse to English readers for the first time. To read the rest of the judges’ citation, visit the PEN website.

    NYRB Classics also publishes Krzhizhanovsky’s Memories of the Future and The Letter Killers Club

  2. “And an invented person makes the greatest impression, naturally, on the seemingly not-invented, real person who, upon finding his reflection in a book, feels replaced and redoubled. This person cannot forgive his feeling of double insult: here I, a real, not-invented person, shall go to my grave and nothingness in ten or twenty years, whereas this fabricated, not-real “almost I” shall go on living and living as though it were the most natural thing in the world; more unforgivable still is the awareness that someone, some author, made you up like an arithmetic problem, what’s more he figured you out, arrived at an answer over which you struggled your entire life in vain, he divined your existence without ever having met you, he penned his way into your innermost thoughts, which you tried so hard to hide from yourself. One must refute the author and vindicate oneself. At once!”


    From Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s short story “Someone Else’s Theme,” collected in Memories of the Future.

    Thanks to biblioklept.org for alerting us to this excellent excerpt.

  3. 'The Letter Killers Club' in Bookforum

    Certain writers are too weird to fully belong to their own time. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky—a Soviet writer obsessed with Kant and Shakespeare, whose own life barely rippled beyond a small coterie of Muscovite writers before his death in 1950—is among them. Krzhizhanovsky wrote philosophical works of fiction that veer between chattiness and, in the fine translations of Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov, unexpected elegance. They are tales of bodies suspended between life and death, of an animated Eiffel Tower that rampages across Europe, and of towns where dreams are made literal. To read these stories is to be buttonholed by a slightly mad but unfailingly interesting stranger desperate for a sympathetic ear. In Krzhizhanovsky, we find the aphorisms of a dime store philosopher and the polyphony of a schizophrenic.

          -  from a review of The Letter Killers Club, the recently published Krzhizhanovsky novel translated by Joanne Turnbull, in Bookforum. The collection of his short stories, Memories of the Future, is also mentioned in Jacob Silverman’s review.

  4. Valeriy Kozhin's animated adaptation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's short story “Quadraturin”—about a mysterious substance that transforms small spaces (in this case a Soviet-era shared apartment) into large ones. “Quadraturin” is collected in Krzhizhanovsky's Memories of the Future.

    An interview with the filmmaker
    Adam Thirlwell on Krzhizhanovsky in The New York Review of Books, "The Master of the Crossed Out"
    BLDG BLG on “Quadraturin”

    Coming this winter: Krzhizhanovsky’s The Letter Killers Club