In Granta’s ongoing Best Untranslated Writers series author of the fantastic East of the West (reviewed on Literalab here) Miroslav Penkov chooses to feature “The Brave Words of Petar Delchev.” Delchev has been a sailor in the Black Sea and more recently been “restoring ruined village houses” and “managing a tailoring factory” all the while writing what Penkov describes as very intriguing sounding fiction.
“Look, I don’t want to deny that I was a prisoner at Auschwitz and that I now have a Nobel Prize. What should I make of that? And what should I make of the fact that I survived, and continue to survive? At least I feel that I experienced something extraordinary, because not only did I live through those horrors, but I also managed to describe them, in a way that is bearable, acceptable, and nonetheless part of this radical tradition. Those of us who were brave enough to stare down this abyss—Borowski, Shalamov, Améry—well, there aren’t too many of us. For these writers, writing was always a prelude to suicide. Jean Améry’s gun was always present, in both his articles and his life, always by his side.
I am somebody who survived all of it, somebody who saw the Gorgon’s head and still retained enough strength to finish a work that reaches out to people in a language that is humane.”
This from the extract available online of an interview with Imre Kertész in the latest issue of the Paris Review.
Štyrský’s Dream Journal
Tarpaulin Sky has published a selection of entries from Czech Surrealist Jindřich Štyrský’s dream journal (Sny) written between 1925 and 1940 and composed of prose, sketches, collages, and paintings. It is an extract from the upcoming publication of the translation of the two-volume work by Jed Slast for Twisted Spoon Press under the title Dreamverse.
Photo – Jindřich Štyrský and Toyen in masks during work with “Deka” colors, 1929/ wikimedia commons