Literary roundup: Kharms, my Thursday evening and the Reconquista

Prague’s online literary journal B O D Y has four short and fantastic pieces by Daniil Kharms translated by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky. They are described as poems but like much of Kharms’ work go beyond typical literary categories, but to see how a writer begins in mid-spit, moves to émigré biography and ends up with female baldness, all in the space of a few short paragraphs, the opening “Symphony No. 2” is a good place to start.

Turkish Mirror

Hungarian Literature Online (HOL) has some excerpts from Viktor Horváth’s 2012 European Union Prize-winning novel Turkish Mirror, yet another example of a Central European writer turning his or her attention eastward. Actually, this isn’t geographically true, since the novel is set in Hungary, but set in the 16th century when it was a dominion of the Ottoman Empire and narrated by a Muslim man who assumes that his Hungarian audience will have already assimilated to Islam it certainly evokes a very different world.

I wonder if this trend of Islamic subject matter in Central European books reached, say, Fox News (unlikely, I know) would it be interpreted as a subversive Reconquista with these writers as a fifth column?

My 7 Lives

At Prague’s Slovak Institute journalist, editor and translator Agneš Kalinová (b. 1924), together with fellow Slovak writer and publisher Jana Juráňová, will present a book of interviews Juráňová did with Kalinová about surviving the two totalitarian regimes that occupied her homeland and eventually into western emigration. The presentation takes place October 25 at 6:00 pm.

Kafka Prize

On October 25 the Kafka Prize ceremony will take place in Prague at The Old Town Hall at 5:00 pm. This year’s winner is Czech writer Daniela Hodrová.  Hodrová’s Prague, I see a city… was published in a translation by David Short in 2011. The Czech Literature Portal also has an English excerpt from her 2003 novel Komedie (A Comedy).

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