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
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.
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).
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 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
PRICE: 10 euros
Strange Days Books/ ROUND MIDNIGHT
The short listed stories from Eyelands 9th international short story contest
Collection of short stories
Creative director: Costas Malousaris
Editor: Gregory Papadoyiannis
Cover by strangeland
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.