First published in 1973, this collection of Chekhov's correspondence is widely regarded as the best introduction to this great Russian writer. Weighted heavily toward the correspondence dealing with literary and intellectual matters, this extremely informative collection provides fascinating insight into Chekhov's development as a writer. Michael Henry Heim's excellent translation and Simon Karlinsky's masterly headnotes make this volume an essential text for anyone interested in Chekhov.
A Bohemian Youth
Josef Hirsal Northwestern University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PG5038.H525P5713 1997 | Dewey Decimal 891.86354
Winner, 1998 PEN Center USA West Award for Translation
Josef Hiršal's experimental novel is a Dada-like romp through the life of a young man born into a Bohemian peasant family. Told in five parts, A Bohemian Youth begins with a word to the wise, moves on to the text, continues with notes and with notes to the note, and ends with a note on the notes to the notes.
More than just a tongue-in-cheek parody of a literary memoir, A Bohemian Youth is a glimpse of the First Czechoslovak Republic as seen through the eyes of a young peasant from the provinces. Abounding in intimate details--the manners of a servant girl, the habits of the town homosexual, the sounds of popular music; the way people eat in wartime—Hiršal's novel is a wrenching and hilarious tale of a young man's emotional and sexual awakening.
The Death of Mr. Baltisberger
Bohumil Hrabal Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PG5039.18.R2A8813 2010 | Dewey Decimal 891.8635
Originally published as The Death of Mr. Baltisberger, the fourteen stories in Romance showcase the breadth of Bohumil Hrabal’s considerable gifts: his humor of the grotesque, his often surprising warmth, and his hard-edged, fast-paced style. In the story "Romance," a plumber’s apprentice and a gypsy girl reach toward a tentative connection across the chasm that separates their worlds. Another unlikely love story, "World Cafeteria," features a romance between a young man whose girlfriend has just committed suicide and a bride whose husband lands in jail on their wedding night. The tone turns to the absurd in "The Death of Mr. Baltisberger," where a crippled ex-motorcyclist and three people he meets at the track exchange wildly improbably reminiscences, while a fatal Grand Prix motorcycle race rages around them. Hrabal’s psychological insight into quotidian interactions saturates stories such as "A Dull Afternoon," where a mysterious, self-absorbed stranger disrupts the psychic calm of a neighborhood tavern and becomes the silent catalyst for an unwanted truth. Throughout the collection, noted translator Michael Henry Heim captures the quirky speech patterns and idiosyncratic takes on life that have made Hrabal’s characters an indispensable part of world literature.
Encyclopedia of the Dead
Danilo Kis Northwestern University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PG1419.21.I8E513 1997 | Dewey Decimal 891.82354
The most famous collection of short fiction by acclaimed Yugoslavian writer Danilo Kis. In these nine stories Kis depicts human relationships, encounters, landscapes—the multitude of details that make up a human life. Kis combines fiction and history in postmodern style, and in a postscript provides fascinating historical backgrounds and other notes for the reader that add interest and context. An enduring classic of Slavic literary fiction.
Novel with Cocaine
M. Ageyev Northwestern University Press, 1991 Library of Congress PG3476.A3164R613 1998 | Dewey Decimal 891.7344
A Dostoevskian psychological novel of ideas, Novel with Cocaine explores the interaction between psychology, philosophy, and ideology in its frank portrayal of an adolescent's cocaine addiction. The story relates the formative experiences of Vadim at school and with women before he turns to drug abuse and the philosophical reflections to which it gives rise. Although Ageyev makes little explicit reference to the Revolution, the novel's obsession with addictive forms of thinking finds resonance in the historical background, in which "our inborn feelings of humanity and justice" provoke "the cruelties and satanic transgressions committed in its name.