review of The Last Book

The Last Book, DTVAnother excellent review of the German (DTV) edition of my novel The Last Book just appeared. Here is an excerpt for those of you who happen to be fluent in German.

Das Lesen von Romanen ist eine verdammt gefährliche Tätigkeit. Mal schweben die Figuren des Romans in Lebensgefahr und sind abhängig von der Geschicklichkeit des Lesers, wie etwa in Giwi Margwelaschwilis letztem Roman “Officer Pembry”. Mal ist es der Autor, der von seinen Figuren an den Abgrund des Todes geführt wird, wie im jüngsten Kriminalroman “Und dann gab’s keinen mehr” des Briten Gilbert Adair, der auf wunderbar versponnene Weise die Hassliebe zwischen Autor und Figur thematisiert. Dritter in diesem – sehr lockeren – postmodernen Bunde ist der Serbe Zoran Živković, der hierzulande ein ähnliches Geheimtipp-Schicksal führt wie die beiden anderen Autoren. “Das letzte Buch” ist sein kurzer Roman betitelt, der in diesem Herbst in deutscher Übersetzung erschienen ist und in dem es um die tödliche Macht des Lesens geht. Im Falle von Živković sind es die Leser selbst, die durch ihre Lektüre in Gefahr geraten, denn hier wird Lesen zu einer absolut todbringenden Angelegenheit.

Link to the full review here.

A voice from Japan

Edward Lipsett at Kurodahan Press on foreign authors being published in English:

Does anyone really know or care what the original language of a work was? There are actually quite a number of works translated from other languages into English, and in many cases (especially in the US) it doesn’t actually say anywhere whether it was translated or not. The translator’s name may be listed once inside, in small print, or not at all. As someone who has made a living out of translation for over 25 years, this is rather distressing, to say the least…


The problem persists, of course. Many American publishers (and possibly others; I mention American because that’s what I’m familiar with) believe that the buying public will be put off by books translated from other languages, and hide the translator’s name on the copyright page in the fine print. Kawabata Yasunari won the Nobel Prize in Literature, but I’m confident that a lot of the glory was earned by his translator, and if you don’t know who that was perhaps you’re reading the wrong blog.

I think the situation is changing slowly, though. Every so often an author comes along who combines excellent writing with an in-the-footlights homeland. One example is Zoran Zivkovic of Serbia. I happened to pick up a copy of his Seven Touches of Music, translated by Alice Copple-Tosic, and absolutely fell in love. The man is a genius, and apparently I am not the only one to notice, because a variety of his material is being published here and there in English. I was intrigued to note that the English translation mentions, for example “Mrs. Martha,” and wonder if Martha is her first name, last name, a name made up by the translator, or what… In Japan I am commonly called “Edward-san,” apparently because foreigners in Japan are always named in that fashion without regard for surnames or the fact that it seems to violate Japanese custom. Does the same custom exist in Serbia?

Link to the full entry.

The Amarcord Launch

Yesterday evening, the publication of my mosaic novel Amarcord was launched at the Film Archive Theater in Belgrade.

First, a short film, “The Confessional” (15 minutes), based on my story from Impossible Encounters, was screened. Then, Alexander Yerkov, a professor of contemporary Serbian literature, talked about Amarcord. After that, I read a story from the book (“Dead Souls”). Finally, another short film was screened, based on the ninth Amarcord story, “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.”

The Opening of Two

Last night was the opening of the movie Two, based on my stories “The Train” (which was broadcast as a reading by BBC Radio 4 in 2005) and “The Hotel Room” (both from Impossible Encounters) at the Belgrade International Film Festival FEST. It was glamorous as expected, with my humble self presented to the audience as well.

Two was very well received by the premiere audience and received massive applause at the end. I understand it is already invited to a number of European film festivals.

Here is an exclusive photo from the ceremony: the leading actors Ana Sofrenovic and Predrag Ejdus, director Purisa Djordjevic, and the general manager of FEST.

Two opening

And a still from the film:

Two still

Amarcord TV Series

Here is a photo taken last night in the Absinthe Bar in Belgrade (where, yes, absinthe and other exotic drinks are served). The bar was the setting of the first episode (“The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”) of the new Amarcord TV series (based on my new book of the same title), being produced by an independent producer for a Serbian TV company.