Pushkin press fortnight 2014


Now I now there has been a yearly event for Persephone books in the past .Now I want to start a yearly event for one of my favourite publisher Pushkin Press ,they are publisher of great translation and have just started doing a number of books from  English  as well .I am picking the middle  two weeks in February  2014  the 10th til the 23rd  , which ties up with the  anniversary of the death of Alexander Pushkin which of course whom the press was originally named after .I hope you can also tie these into my year-long Translation Bingo project .Recent highlights from Pushkin press  for me are –

The parrots by Flippo Bologna 

parrots Flippo Bologna


Jarmilla by Ernst Weiss

JarmillaTraveller of the century bY Andres Neuman

traveller of the centurySo what are you favourite books from Pushkin press ?




Bunker by Andrea Maria Schenkel

Bunker - Andrea Maria Schenkel cover

Bunker by Andrea Maria Schenkel

German Crime fiction

Original title – Bunker

Translator – Anthea Bell

Source – Personnel copy


Andrea Maria Schenkel is probably the best known German crime writer ,translated into English .her first novel murder farm was published in German in 2006 and has since been made into a radio drama ,she has used well-known German crime  case to base her books partly on but this book is a truly fictitious crime .she has won a number of prizes for her books .She currently lives in New York .

I still have to get the Keys .They’re in the bedroom , on the bed .Back into the bunker .Damn the paraffin lamps have burnt out ,even thou I had two for each room in it .Funny ,I thought those things lasted longer .What a waste ,six lamps in three rooms .

The opening lines and why the need for lamps and to be in the bunker ?

Bunker is the tale of a kidnapping the title refers to where the woman who has been kidnapped .Monica is  being held by a kidnapper  .The book unfolds in an unusual narrative style where as opposed to a beginning middle and end to the story we see all three of these parts happen at once so the event leading up to the kidnapping of Monica ,the time she spent with the kidnapper and the rescue of her are all told in changing chapters .Monica doesn’t initially know why she has been kidnap or who could have done this to her see gets small glimpse into what has happen who the kidnapper is and maybe even why she was taken .What has happened in her past  to cause this to happen ?

I lie there on my stomach , the cold cement floor under me .A musty cellar smell .I feel awful .My arms and legs are scratched .My grazes are burning .My head aches he dragged me down to the cellar by my hair .Every root of it hurts .My mouth is dry my tongue feels thick and swollen ,glutinous saliva sticking my mouth up .

Monica describing her situation just after the kidnapping .


I really fell for Schenkel unusual narrative style in the book it remind me of the way we sometimes see crimes unfold on Tv Crime dramas especially something like CSI were the crime is shown how the crime was done and how the victim and criminal were dealt with even why the crime was done and not always in the order they happened .The setting was caught so well the room Monica was held in and the conditions she found herself in ,made my skin creep at times .I will be going back to the other books schenkel have written to find if this style she writes in is carried on in her other books .As ever Bell has done a great job on the translation .I am actually not a huge crime fiction fan but this book has gone to the top of my list of all time favourites .

Have you a favourite translated crime novel ?


November 2013


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