May 1992. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin is showing millions of communists the specter of capitalism. Yugoslavia is disintegrating. United Germany is uncertain about their next move, and communism is collapsing all around. And in a corner of old Calcutta, Herbert Sarkar, sole proprietor of a company that delivers messages from the dead, decides to give up the ghost. Decides to give up his aunt and uncle, his friends and foes, his fondness for kites, his aching heart that broke for Buki, his top terrace from where he stared up at the sky, his Ulster overcoat with buttons like big black medals, his notebook full of poems, his Park Street every evening when the sun goes down, his memory of a Russian girl running across the great black earth as the soldiers lift their guns and get ready to fire, his fairy who beat her wings against his window and filled his room with blue light .
Surreal, haunting, painful, beautiful and astonishing in turn, and sweeping us along from Herbert’s early orphan years to the tumultuous Naxalite times of the 1970s to the explosive events after his death, Bhattacharya’s groundbreaking novel is now available in a daring new translation and holds up before us both a fascinating character and a plaintive city.
The Holocaust as Culture
Imre Kertész Seagull Books, 2012 Library of Congress D804.3.K4713 2011 | Dewey Decimal 894.511334
Hungarian Imre Kertész was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002 for “writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.” His conversation with literary historian Thomas Cooper that is presented here speaks specifically to this relationship between the personal and the historical.
In The Holocaust as Culture,Kertész recalls his childhood in Buchenwald and Auschwitz and as a writer living under the so-called soft dictatorship of communist Hungary. Reflecting on his experiences of the Holocaust and the Soviet occupation of Hungary following World War II, Kertész likens the ideological machinery of National Socialism to the oppressive routines of life under communism. He also discusses the complex publication history of Fateless, his acclaimed novel about the experiences of a Hungarian child deported to Auschwitz, and the lack of interest with which it was initially met in Hungary due to its failure to conform to the communist government’s simplistic history of the relationship between Nazi occupiers and communist liberators. The underlying theme in the dialogue between Kertész and Cooper is the difficulty of mediating the past and creating models for interpreting history, and how this challenges ideas of self.
The title The Holocaust as Culture is taken from that of a talk Kertész gave in Vienna for a symposium on the life and works of Jean Améry. That essay is included here, and it reflects on Améry’s fear that history would all too quickly forget the fates of the victims of the concentration camps. Combined with an introduction by Thomas Cooper, the thoughts gathered here reveal Kertész’s views on the lengthening shadow of the Holocaust as an ever-present part of the world’s cultural memory and his idea of the crucial functions of literature and art as the vessels of this memory.
A young woman who has been living abroad returns to her hometown of Frankfurt am Main in Germany. Her sister Ines—a beautiful, impetuous painter—who still lives there, soon appears and promptly asks for financial help. But the returning sister knew this was coming—it is how their relationship has always worked. And this time, she’s determined that that will change.
But our plans don’t always hold up to the surprises presented by life—and when the sister finds herself about to drift into an affair with Ines’s lover, the two women grow unexpectedly closer. The Hour Between Dog and Wolf is a tale of disorientation in a modern, fundamentally rootless society that has become increasingly erratic and self-absorbed—it is a powerful exploration of the difficulties of intimacy and addiction.
René Char Seagull Books, 2014 Library of Congress PQ2605.H3345F413 2014
Hailed by the poet Paul Eluard as an "absolute masterpiece" upon its first appearance in 1946, René Char’s Hypnos is both a remarkable work of literature and a document of unique significance in the history of the French Resistance. Based on a journal Char kept during his time in the Maquis, it ranges in style from abrupt and sometimes enigmatic reflections, in which the poet seeks to establish compass bearings in the darkness of Occupied France, to narrative descriptions that throw into vivid relief the dramatic and often tragic nature of the issues he had to confront as the head of his Resistance network. A tribute to the individual men and women who fought at his side, this volume is also a meditation on the white magic of poetry and a celebration of the power of beauty to combat terror and transform our lives.
Translated into German by Paul Celan and into Italian by Vittorio Sereni, the book has never been carried over into English with the attention to style and detail that it deserves. Published in full here for the first time, this long-awaited new translation does justice at last to the incandescence and pathos of the original French.