Asymptote January 2014

Asymptote’s third anniversary issue is out and, as always, is full of great fiction, poetry, and more than I can list here.

Among the highlights are Michael Hofmann’s brilliant essay on Wolfgang Koeppen, a writer who is a thousand times better than most of the names presented as the greats of the second half of the 20th century.

Then there’s “Where to in Bratislava: A Musical for the Movies, the Tram, or the Saddle” by Slovak writer Jana Beňová, translated by Beatrice Smigasiewicz (who translated “A Report on the Incident at the Hermitage” by Lidia Amejko in B O D Y), Russian poetry by Maxim Amelin translated by Derek Mong and Anne O. Fisher as well as a review of Eugene Ostashevsky and Matvei Yankelevich’s translation of Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think.

And for a story that can only be based on real-life events there is Philipp Schönthaler’s “The Hay Smells Different to the Lovers Than to the Horses”, translated from the German by Amanda DeMarco. Here is the story description: “An anonymous Spanish sorcerer threatened the Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo before Real Madrid’s match against Olympique Marseille in September 2009.”

The issue also includes the two winners of the inaugural translation contest, including  Željko Maksimović’s translation of “I Make Mistakes” by Serbian writer Tanja Šljivar.

And there will be anniversary events in London, New York, Zagreb, Boston, Philadelphia, Shanghai, Berlin, Sydney, and Buenos Aires – though having an event in Philadelphia is obviously the coolest and most incongruous one on this list and is only unfortunate in that I just came back from there a few days ago and will definitely miss it. Oh well.

Photo – Blacksquare (1990) by Danny Aldred (from “The Back of Books”)

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Categories: Magazines


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