Books

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE / THE SPANISH PROJECT/ TRANSLATOR MARIO DOMINGUEZ PARRA

GREGORY PAPADOYIANNIS /EPHEMERA/ Life Is Short/COMIC BOOK
Is our life short, indeed? Or is it too long? Before you answer, it would be great if you asked a young ephemeron that has a whole day of life ahead of it and is already starting to feel bored. Maybe that would change your mind about life’s ephemeral nature. Ephemera is a genus of insects that belong to the Ephemeroptera order. They develop slowly into pronymphs in rivers and lakes and their adult life (if they are lucky) only lasts for one day.What kind of life is this? Who knows. If you ask a (still living) ephemeron, it would surely reply that there’s much worse… This comic album is here to answer to all of the big questions about life and its meaning. But no need to worry: the answers are so ephemeral, you will forget them in no time…  Pages: 40/ ISBN: 978-618-82165-6-3, translated by Mario Domínguez Parra

ANTONIS TSIRIKUDIS
When you least expect it

Stories always contain a grain of truth” could be the motto of this book, a compilation of thirty three short stories, most of them taking place in contemporary Greece, a country much more diverse than its portrayal by the mass media. Some others are set in Australia, the faraway continent representing a symbol for a better life. An everyday incident serves as the starting point for each story. The author then gives his own version, merging reality with fiction. Amongst other things you will read about an aspiring novelist who adopts the lifestyle of Bukowski in everything except for the one thing that made him famous, writing. An old Greek lady seeks protection from an advocate for the fascist Golden Dawn party. A middle-aged man deletes his father from his life through a letter. In other tales diet and sexual practices feature, the theme of fighting the system within the system, as does the connection between poetry and bullying in schools.

The twist that looms over the short stories works as a connecting thread, giving the book its title. Time, and our perception of it, is crucial to the narration, as well as the way we see so-called reality. The book will be released in Spain in 2021, translated by Mario Domínguez Parra/ Cover by Matthew Halpin/

ALOUTERRA by Andriana Minou (texts, images and QR code soundscapes )
translated by Mario Domínguez Parra
/ Pages 72

Allouterra (Teralla) is Andriana Minou’s third book, is a collection of dream-scapes. The book consists of texts, sketches and soundscapes by the author (accessible via qr code). The book is about to be released in Spanish (translated by Mario Dominquez Parra) with the support of Creative Europe’s literary translation program. Excerpts from the book in English have also been published in various literary journals in the U.S. and Canada. allouterra has been presented at Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival 2019 and Sand Festival 2020 as a performance and video installation (by Evi Minou) as well as a literary board game!

In my view, Minou is the most talented Greek writer of the new generation. She picks non-conformist writing motifs, powerfully structured yet made of fragile materials, which give readers the impression that they are about break and dissolve in the following line, but they endure only to create images but also music! Clearly, allouterra’s short stories compose small, complete music pieces, resounding in the reader’s ears, in a way you won’t come across in any other book. If you also use the QR codes provided in the book you may also actually listen to them precisely in the way the author dreamt and composed them”. (Review by Christos Litzerinos at Fractal Magazine)

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE 5 / RUDI EREBARA/ ALBANIA/ THE EPIC OF THE MORNING STARS

The fifth book of the series ‘’Strange Days in Europe’’, co-funded by Creative Europe’s translation project of the European Union. The novel Epika e yjeve të mëngjesit (The Epic of the Morning Stars) is a testimony to the destiny of Suleyman, an Albanian painter employed at the state decoration company in the capital of Albania. A technical issue occurring on 16 October 1978, the birthday of Albania’s dictator Enver Hoxha, is attributed to him by the State Security Services. Around this time, Albania is about to sever its relations with Mao’s communist China. Also on 16 October 1978, Józef Wojtyła, a priest from communist Poland, becomes Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. In the late evening of 16 October, a heavy shower washes away the letters of the slogans written by the state decoration company in deep red, the symbol of the blood spilled during the war for freedom by the communist fighters. Even though the festivities are over, the state security, under the direct orders of the communist dictator, starts the hunt for the perpetrators, even though no perpetrators could possibly exist..

«Epika e yjeve të mëngjesit» – The Epic of  the Morning Stars tells the story of Suleyman, an Albanian painter unjustly blamed for a technical issue occurring on the birthday of Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha, at a time when the country prepares to face big changes. Suleyman is a man singled out as standing on the other side of the trench of class warfare, conceived and fanatically carried out by the ruling communists. As he feels he is being singled out as a victim, Suleyman tries to change his name to Edmond. He also makes a painting showing some partisans around a fire. This is viewed as a good enough reason for Suleyman to be punished.  Τhe novel is a bittersweet satirical chronicle of a cruel period for Albania. It is a Kafkaesque narration situated in a Balkan scenery of Theatre of the Absurd.

This is a novel about the immorality of the dictatorship and the caste of people who imposed it An untold tragedy happened in a very small country, with a small  population, from Albanians against Albanians. It did not happen for religious reasons, nor for nationalistic, nor even for significant political reasons. It was just an army against civilians. An army that from the first day of the establishment of this tyranny, considered the country as a prize, as prey of war. The citizens were forced to choose a line up and it was  «either with us or against us». (…)  A new reality was created in the country, from which you could not escape, and if you tried, death awaited for you. People became slaves of the Labor Party, slaves in the service of the occupying army. Art was the only escape. The dream on the canvas…»   Rudi Erebara      

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE / BOOK 4/ VICENTE ALEIXANDRE/SPAIN/ LIGHT , LOVE, DEATH

The anthology «Light, Love, Death» with introduction and translation by Nancy Aggeli who has been involved for many years with the work of the poet. The book  includes 43 poems from collections that cover the entire range of his work. Of course, this edition, which belongs to the series Strange Days in Europe, would not have been possible without the co-funding of the European Union translation program through Creative Europe.

Strange Days Βooks present for the first time in Greece a collection of selected poems by the Nobel Prize-winning Spanish poet Vicente Aleixandre. Spanish Nobel-prize winning poet, Vicente Aleixandre is a poet whose sublime work has oddly enough never been translated in Greek in spite of its undisputed literary quality. We are proud to present his work for the first time ever to the greek readers.

Vicente Aleixandre was considered a master of free verse, the style that appears in his first major book, La destrucción o el amor (1935; “Destruction or Love”), which was awarded the National Prize for Literature. In this work the poet explored the theme of human identification with the physical cosmos. Similar themes appear in Sombra del paraíso (1944; “Shadow of Paradise”). A greater emphasis upon human life is found in Historia del corazón (1954; “History of the Heart”) and En un vasto dominio (1962; “In a Vast Domain”), works that deal with time, death, and human solidarity.

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE / BOOK 3/ ERIK SATIE / FRANCE/ A MAMMALS NOTEBOK

Strange Days present the third book in the Strange Days in Europe series, Les cahiers d’un mammifere / (A mammal’s notebook), with texts by pioneering composer and satirical writer Erik Satie. Satie, who was one of the most characteristic figures of French culture in the first decades of the 20th century, was recognized many years later as one of the most important and influential artists of his time that contributed to the birth of many  progressive artistic movements. The texts – published for the first time in Greek translation – are translated from the original French by Popi Kotsifi. Cover, illustrations, introduction and editing are by Andriana Minou.

The Strange Days in Europe book series is co-funded by the Creative Europe translation program. Thanks to this program of the European Union, Strange Days – the only publishing house from Greece whose proposal was approved by this program in 2019 – can offer you books that would be very hard – if not impossible – to have the opportunity to read in GREEK translation. This book is a special case.

Among the award-winning and (mostly) contemporary books presented in the series, we also chose to translate into Greek the texts of a genius who was not actually – strictly speaking – a writer. Satie was a composer, whose value was recognized many years after his time; precisely because his compositions, his ideas, his inspirations but also his texts were very much ahead of his time.

The writings of Erik Satie – accompanied with explanatory comments by the translator and editor – are timeless, as they often seem to echo future artistic movements that defined the 20th and even 21th century but, most importantly, they are funny, unpredictable, sarcastic and sometimes very touching. The same goes for the sketches inspired by his texts by Andriana Minou; a comic book that will complement this book and will be released very soon from Strange Days Books.

CREATIVE : strangeland / TRANSLATION: Popi Kotsifi / EDITOR: Andriana Minou

COVER and book illustrations: Andriana Minou / PAGES: 96 / PRICE: 10 euros / SERIES: Strange Days in Europe -3 / ISBN: 978-618-5278-42-7

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE / BOOK 2/ BJORN RASMUSSEN/ DENMARK/ THE SKIN IS THE ELASTIC COVERING THAT ENCASES THE ENTIRE BODY

Strange Days Books proudly present the second book of the series Strange Days in Europe a literary translation program that it co-funded by Creative Europe of European Union.

Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet, (The Skin Is the Elastic Covering that Encases the Entire body) is a multi-awarded book, among others with the Literary Book Award of European Union. This is a first time ever that a Bjorn Rasmussen’s book is translated in Greek. Bjorn Rasmussen’s book is a fine example of cutting-edge queer literature, written by a young author (this is his first book) whose work will appeal to the new but constantly growing Greek audience for queer literature, a rather underrepresented yet rapidly upcoming genre in Greece.  Translator, Sotirios Souliotis, is by far the best translator  from Danish language to Greek.

Huden er det elastiske hylster… is a coming-of-age novel about a young man looking back on life growing up in rural Denmark; not least his far-reaching encounter with a much older riding instructor, with whom he develops an attachment that becomes a romantic and erotic obsession. Any kind of conventional plot summary would do the book an injustice: bleak teenage years involving drugs and self-harm, identity crises, a dysfunctional family, a first big love, and fierce sexual longings, as well as trying to deal with all of these as extremely as possible. But it’s the novel’s exceptional language and voice that led the Danish EUPL jury, as well as Danish critics and readers of all ages, to be utterly captured by this debut. The idiosyncratic yet highly assured prose and poetry is wild, untrammelled and defies all taboos. And despite its reckless confrontation with despair, it manages to move, fascinate and shock the reader with its glittering, undeniable beauty. The author brings words and sentences from favourite writers to his tale, yet it remains entirely his own. A combination of prose, poetry, social realism and autobiography that’s unprecedented in Danish literature. We await future works from him with bated breath.

the skin that covers and defines us.―Entropy, Best Fiction of 2019

«A private and gem-like book . . . I was pulled by equal parts curiosity, repulsion, and empathy. Rasmussen has managed to stretch the soul in the way a butcher might stretch flesh, asking us to consider the roots of our desires and the depths of our longings.» ―Full Stop

«Darkly beautiful and fearless.» ―Book Riot

“Rasmussen’s little obliteration wastes no time in expounding on the pungent pleasures of an illicit tryst . . . fear, arousal, and desperation are a potent mix.” ―Three Percent

THE WRITER

 Bjørn Rasmussen was born in 1983 and graduated from the Danish Playwright School in 2007 and from the Danish Writers’ School in 2011. He received the Montana Literary Award in 2011 for Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet, was awarded a three year work grant from the Danish government in 2013 and received the Kultur Bornholms Literary Award in 2014.

THE TRANSLATOR

Sotirios Souliotis (born in 1971) is a Greek / Danish translator who lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. He studied Greek Philology, Nordic languages and translation in theory and praxis in Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, Greece and in the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He has also studied Lithuanian language and literature in the University of Vilnius, Lithuania. He was also nominated for the Translator‘s Prize 2014 in Athens, Greece, for Danish literature, among the last 3 candidates (short list). He is also a member of the Danish Writers & Translators Association (Denmark, http://www.danskforfatterforeningning.dk), as well as the Association of Selected Interpreter Translators (Greece).

VIDEO

Huden er det elastiske hylster der omgiver hele legemet/ Το δέρμα είναιη ελαστική θήκη που περιβάλλει το σώμα ολόκληρο

Translator/ Sotirios Souliotis/ Cover by / Andriana Minou / Writer’s photo: Frida Gregersen/ Pages 98/ Price: 10 euros / ISBN: 978-618-5278-40-3

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE – BOOK 2!

STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE/ BOOK 1/ THE SPINNING HEART/ DONAL RYAN/ IRELAND

 

This is the first book of the ‘’Strange Days in Europe’’ translation series that consists of a total of eight books; five of them are written by authors from five different European countries and three were originally published in Greek by “strange days books’’ and will be translated into Spanish. This book series is co-financed by the European Union’s “Creative Europe’’ platform. As a matter of fact, it would not have been possible without it, especially for a small cooperative publishing house in the region of Greece. When your ambition exceeds the reality of the publishing landscape in your country, you ought to seek a way to fulfill it outside its borders. And if you’re lucky, you may find it. So thanks to the Creative Europe translation program, which awarded a fund to the proposal of Strange Days Books in 2019 (the only publisher from Greece to receive such an honour), we can now offer to Greek readers some excellent books to which they wouldn’t have been introduced otherwise.

The first one to be published is «The Spinning Heart,» by Irish author Donal Ryan, a book that has won many awards including the European Union Literary Prize. All the books in this series were not chosen at random. We believe you will find a piece of your own «heart» in each of them. “The Spinning Heart” is one of those books that set their seal on their era. It was initially rejected by 47 publishers – who were reluctant to publish it (apparently because it was too realistic for their liking) – yet thankfully found its way to the public and swept awards and distinctions in Donal Ryan’s country and across Europe.

It is a devastating book, one of the most important literary works of our time and a book that is also “ours”. You will immediately realize this when you get engrossed in it and get to know its protagonists. You will recognize very familiar characters, very familiar voices, situations that are very close to us Greeks; not just because the plot unfolds in the years of the economic crisis of the past decade that hurt Ireland as bad as Greece. The similarities go much deeper and essentially extend to the roots of human tragicomedy; we are all the same when it comes to this. But we need a very special work like «The Spinning Heart» to feel it deep in our souls.

Coincidentally, the book was written during the time of a serious economic crisis that affected both Ireland and Greece (as well as many other countries, of course) and is to be released in our country amid a global crisis. It is, by analogy, the «Grapes of Wrath» of the 21st century. But that’s just one reason to read it; some of the rest are its unique literary value, the power of narration, the heartbreaking realism in the depiction of the lives of several human figures suffering the consequences of a world in crisis, the unique ingenuity of the way the author speaks through twenty one characters and his mastery of this technique reminiscent of theatrical monologues of different characters through whom he «speaks» to the reader.

The title’s “spinning heart”, as you will see while reading the book, is a rusty toy at the front door of a farmhouse that is blown away by the wind. Through this minimal symbol, Donal Ryan depicts the way our heart turns here and there, a prey to chance, the absurdities of fate and decisions that define our lives in absentia, only to let them drift in the winds of time. Our refuge, now and always, will be art, solidarity and love. The love that surrounds this book; thwarted love, desperate love, lost love and – against all odds – persistent love; love for what has been lost, love for what will never happen, love for what we hope will come. We invite you to this journey of self-knowledge, despair but also hope. “Spinning Heart” is one of those extraordinary books, which, as some reviews pointed out, “you remember forever”.

DONAL RYAN/ SPINNING HEART
GREEK EDITION/ Η ΚΑΡΔΙΑ ΠΟΥ ΓΥΡΝΑΕΙ
STRANGE DAYS IN EUROPE-1
TRANSLATION: Gregory Papadoyiannis
COVER BY: Andriana Minou
PAGES: 154
PRICE: 10 euros
ISBN:978-618-5278-37-3

Αυτή η εικόνα δεν έχει ιδιότητα alt. Το όνομα του αρχείου είναι when-you-are-strange.jpg

OTHER BOOKS

Strange Days Books/ ROUND MIDNIGHT

The short listed stories from Eyelands 9th  international short story contest
ROUND MIDNIGHT
Collection of short stories
Creative director: Costas Malousaris
Editor: Gregory Papadoyiannis
Cover by strangeland

 

Round Midnight front cover

CONTENTS

GRAND PRIZE /Marvin Baxter’s Background Music – Javi Reddy / South Africa                                               

PRIZES (by submission order)
Midnight shadows -David McVey /United Kingdom
At Last, Goodbye -Wendy Craig /New Zealand    
The Banshee’s Sister – E.F.S. Byrne / Spain                                                                                     Crying all the way to the bank – Karen Keeley /Canada          

 

SHORT LIST / (by submission order)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND PRIZE /Marvin Baxter’s Background Music

by Javi Reddy

The first time Marvin Baxter heard Nina Simone, his mother was in another room, with a man who had no biological connection to him. The first time Marvin heard Louis Armstrong, the same man sent his mother crashing through the dining room table. By the time he’d heard Ella Fitzgerald for the first time, his mother was humming, before letting her son know that this was the man she couldn’t wait to marry. As Marvin’s eyes tracked the uninterrupted swaying of his mother’s hips through the kitchen, he could not help but gaze upon the bruises on her arms. He gently laid down his fork andgrabbed a handful of saucy spaghetti, beforefiddling with it within his palm. As his mother continued to sing the praises of her new-found love, Marvin zoned out.His7 year oldneurons were on a mission. Whenever life’s noise became too heavy, Marvin Baxter had the background music. And he was grateful that it existed, only in his head.

Mother and son packed up their modest belongings and moved into their latest home, which Marvin soon realised was far less spacious than their former abode. Being crammed in that close, especially at the dinner table, meant he could almost stretch out his tongue to taste his mother’s tears. And if he swivelled his head the other way around, he could take a whiff of what a man should smell like once he’d self-destructed and let go of any remaining personal hygiene. That was Lloyd’s gift to him- being a worse father than an actual father who had abandoned him.

Marvin could not bring his vinyl player with him to the new flat, for there was no space to plug it in. Space was a curious matter in their new household. Marvin often wondered why their cupboards were so big, when there was hardly any food in them. With Lloyd’s mysterious ‘car tyre business’ threatening to turn matters around soon, the income was less than consistent. All Marvin could do was hope his next meal would extend beyond stale crackers and ripe fruit. He’d not had spaghetti in months which mainly upset him when he could not remember what the texture felt like on his tongue, as he played with it before swallowing it.