New and Novel

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From fairy tales retold with some irreverent twists, along with scenes from the Macedonian past, present and unreality to two very different worlds of implicit and explicit violence on either end of Soviet domination – one in Dagestan after the fall of communism, the other in newly occupied Prague in the 50s.

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Innocence; or, Murder on Steep Street by Heda Margolius Kovály

This rediscovered gem of Czech literature, a crime novel by renowned Holocaust memoirist Heda Margolius Kovály, depicts a chilling moment in history, redolent with the stifling atmosphere of political and personal oppression of the early days of Socialist Czechoslovakia.

In 1985, Czech Holocaust memoirist, literary translator, and political exile Heda Margolius Kovály turned her pen to fiction. Inspired by the stories of Raymond Chandler, Kovály knit her own terrifying experiences in early 1950s Socialist Prague—her husband’s imprisonment and wrongful execution, her own persecution at his disgrace—into a gorgeous psychological thriller-cum-detective novel.

Translated from the Czech by Alex Zucker

Published by Soho Press

Read more about the book here

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Homunculus by Aleksandar Prokopiev

Homunculus is billed as a collection of sixteen “fairy tales for adults” with something for every reader. The author has largely retained the classical fairy-tale structure with its elements of surprise and the constant intertwining of the real and unreal, but he transcends the sugar-sweet endings we are familiar with. Along with typical fairy-tale features like the interplay of humans and animals, he presents us with a wide range of more “mature” themes – the erotic, the tragic, feelings of alienation – set amidst dichotomies on an adult wavelength: mythical vs urban, banality vs wisdom, as well as issues of guilt and longing. Some of the stories are related to existing internationally known fairy tales such as “Tom Thumb”, where the main character struggles with an oedipal bond with his mother, or “The Huntsman”, told from the perspective of the hunter sent out to kill Snow White. Others go back to Macedonian folk roots or have been freely composed by Prokopiev himself.

Translated from the Macedonian by Will Firth

Published by Istros Books

Read more about the book here

The story “Papradishki” from the book will be published in the upcoming Saturday European Fiction in B O D Y

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The Mountain and the Wall by Alisa Ganieva

The Mountain and the Wall focuses on Shamil, a young local reporter in Makhachkala, and his reactions, or lack thereof, to rumors that the Russian government is building a wall to cut off the Muslim provinces of the Caucasus from the rest of Russia. As unrest spreads and the tension builds, Shamil’s life is turned upside down, and he can no longer afford to ignore the violence surrounding him. With a fine sense for mounting catastrophe, Ganieva tells the story of the decline of a society torn apart by its inherent extremes.

Translated from the Russian by Carol Apollonio

Published by Deep Vellum Publishing

Read more about the book here

Read an excerpt in B O D Y here

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