“Pollak’s Arm is a poignant ode to storytelling, bearing witness to historical memory from the Trojan War to World War II … marvelous enough as a short story. Yet von Trotha masterfully weaves it into a much larger saga linking to an ancient Greek myth and a sculpture. It becomes a Haggadah in the sense of a Jewish Passover story to tell your children over and over.”
This rich medley of stories, poems, and essays features evocations of Chanukah by classic and contemporary authors including Sholom Aleichem, Nobel laureates S. Y. Agnon and Elie Wiesel, I. L. Peretz, Emma Lazarus, Theodor Herzl, Chaim Potok, Mark Strand, A. B. Yehoshua, Emma Green, Joanna Rakoff, and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. There are humorous as well as meditative tales from Israel, Central Europe, and the United States—works that capture the Festival of Lights as observed on Manhattan’s Upper West Side alongside accounts of celebrations in shtetls of the Old Country and far reaches of the Diaspora including Africa. The writings underscore what it means to be Jewish in a world that’s not always welcoming and include intriguing commentary about Chanukah’s origins and what it means now.
Beloved Parisian artist Pierre Le-Tan, known for designing New Yorker magazine covers and collaborations with fashion houses, summons up memories of inveterate art collectors in this utterly charming illustrated volume. He evokes fascinating, sometimes troubled figures through an array of intriguing and curious tales. With seventy of his distinctive pen and ink drawings—in vibrant color with meticulous cross-hatching—A Few Collectors opens a window onto the vast or minuscule world created by collectors out of a mix of extravagance and obstinacy. It recounts encounters in Paris, the Côte d’Azur, North Africa, London and New York, where Le-Tan’s subjects have amassed a range of treasures. Some involve famed figures like former Louvre Museum director Pierre Rosenberg. Others are insolvent aristocrats, princes of film and fashion, expatriate dandies, and flat-out obsessive eccentrics. Le-Tan devotes perhaps his finest chapter to himself.
The terrifying, lengthening list of Russia’s use of lethal poisons against its critics has inspired acclaimed author Sergei Lebedev’s latest novel. With uncanny timing, he examines how and why Russia and the Soviet Union have developed horrendous neurotoxins. At its center is a ruthless chemist named Professor Kalitin, obsessed with developing an absolutely deadly, undetectable and untraceable poison for which there is no antidote. But Kalitin becomes consumed by guilt over countless deaths from his Faustian pact to create the ultimate venom. When the Soviet Union collapses, the chemist defects and is given a new identity in Western Europe. In this fast-paced, genre-bending tale, Lebedev weaves suspenseful pages of stunningly beautiful prose exploring the historical trajectories of evil. From Nazi labs, Stalinist plots, and the Chechen Wars, to present-day Russia, Lebedev probes the ethical responsibilities of scientists supplying modern tyrants and autocrats with ever newer instruments of retribution, destruction, and control.
Sergei Lebedev discusses UNTRACEABLE with leading historian and expert in Russian spycraft Amy Knightand translator Antonina W. Bouis in an online event sponsored by 192 Books/PCG Studio in New York. Click here to watch a video recording of the program.
The sixth volume in our popular Very Christmas series, this collection transports readers to the Emerald Isle with stories and poems sure to bring holiday cheer. This anthology is packed with beloved classics, forgotten treasures, and modern masterpieces. You’ll find wondrous works by James Joyce, W. B. Yeats, Elizabeth Bowen, Anne Enright, William Trevor, Colm Tóibín, Bernard MacLaverty, and many more. See how Christmas is done in snowy Dublin and on the mean streets of Belfast, from west coast to east, and even across sea and ocean to Irish communities in London and New York City. Put a flickering candle in the window and a steaming dinner on the table, and celebrate the Irish way—Nollaig Shona Daoibh—and Merry Christmas!
A defiant memoir from contemporary Europe: In autumn 1942, Anna Goldenberg’s great-grandparents and one of their sons are deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Hans, their elder son, survives by hiding in an apartment in the middle of Nazi-controlled Vienna. But this is no Anne Frank-like existence; teenage Hans passes time in the municipal library and buys standing room tickets to the Vienna State Opera. He never sees his family again. Goldenberg reconstructs this unique story in magnificent reportage. She also portrays Vienna’s undying allure—although they tried living in the United States after World War Two, both grandparents eventually returned to the Austrian capital. The author, too, has returned to her native Vienna after living in New York herself, and her fierce attachment to her birthplace enlivens her engrossing biographical history. A probing tale of heroism, resilience, identity and belonging, marked by a surprising freshness as a new generation comes to terms with history’s darkest era.
Listen to author Anna Goldenberg and her award winning translator, Alta L. Price, discuss I Belong to Vienna. Click to hear this podcast from Trafika Europe Radio.
This revelatory novel shows why Karl Ove Knausgaard has likened its celebrated Russian author to an “indomitable … animal that won’t let go of something when it gets its teeth into it.” The book tells the story of a young Russian named Kirill, the sole survivor of a once numerous clan of German origin, who delves relentlessly into the unresolved past. His ancestor, Balthasar Schwerdt, migrated to the Russian Empire in the early 1800s, bringing with him the practice of alternative medicine and becoming captive to an erratic nobleman who had supplied dwarves, hunchbacks from Africa, and magicians to entertain Catherine the Great. Kirill’s investigation takes us through centuries of turmoil during which none of the German’s nine children or their descendants can escape their adoptive country’s cruel fate. Intent on uncovering buried mysteries, Kirill searches archives and cemeteries across Europe, while pressing witnesses for keys to understanding. The Goose Fritz illuminates both personal and political history in a passion-filled family saga about an often confounding country that has long fascinated the world.
The fifth volume in our popular Very Christmas series, this collection brings together traditional and contemporary holiday stories from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany. You’ll find classic works by the Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hermann Hesse, Joseph Roth, and Arthur Schnitzler, as well as more recent tales by writers like Heinrich Böll, Peter Stamm, and Martin Suter. Eine fröhliche Weihnachten—A Merry Christmas—made all the more festive with these literary treats redolent of candle-lit trees, St. Nikolaus, gingerbread, the Christkindl, roast goose and red cabbage, Gugelhopf, and stollen cakes, accompanied by plenty of schnapps.
Joseph Roth’s story “Christmas in Cochinchina,” published in English for the first time in this collection, appears in the December 2020 issue of Harper’s Magazine.
It’s a rare and secret profession, comprising a few dozen people around the world equipped with a mysterious mixture of knowledge and innate sensibility. Summoned to Swiss bank vaults, Fifth Avenue apartments, and Tokyo storerooms, they are entrusted by collectors, dealers, and museums to decide if a coveted picture is real or fake and to determine if it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci or Raphael. The Eye lifts the veil on the rarified world of connoisseurs devoted to the authentication and discovery of Old Master artworks. This is an art adventure story and a memoir all in one, written by a leading expert on the Renaissance whose métier is a high-stakes detective game involving massive amounts of money and frenetic activity in the service of the art market and scholarship alike. It’s also an eloquent argument for the enduring value of visual creativity, told with passion, brilliance, and surprising candor.
Our fourth book in the very popular Very Christmas series, this collection brings together the best Scandinavian holiday stories including classics by Hans Christian Andersen of Denmark; Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, August Strindberg, and Hjalmar Söderberg of Sweden; as well as the acclaimed contemporary Norwegian authors Karl Ove Knausgaard and National Book Award nominee Vigdis Hjorth. These Nordic tales—coming from the very region where so much of traditional Christmas imagery originates—convey a festive and contemplative spirit laden with lingonberries, elks, gnomes, Sami trolls, candles, gingerbread, and aquavit in abundance. A smorgasbord of unexpected literary gifts that make up a vibrant, elegant hardcover volume sure to provide plenty of pleasure and hygge, that specifically Scandinavian blend of coziness and contentment.
The third in the very popular Very Christmas series, this volume brings together the best Italian Christmas stories of all time in an elegant and vibrant collection featuring classic tales and contemporary works. With writing that dates from the Renaissance to the present day, from Boccaccio to Pirandello, as well as Anna Maria Ortese, Natalia Ginzburg, and Nobel laureate Grazia Deledda, this choice selection delights and intrigues. These literary gems are filled with ancient churches, trains whistling through the countryside, steaming tureens, plates piled high with pasta, High Mass, dashed hopes, golden crucifixes, flowing wine, shimmering gifts and plenty of style. Like everything the Italians do, this is Christmas with its very own verve and flair, the perfect literary complement to a Buon Natale italiano.
Crimson ribbons and troubled souls, landowners yearning for love, burning cheeks, salmon, and caviar. This is Russian Christmas celebrated in supreme pleasure and pain by the greatest of writers. Running the gamut from sweet and reverent to twisted and uproarious, and with many of the stories appearing in English for the first time, this collection will satisfy every reader. Dostoevsky brings stories of poverty and tragedy, Tolstoy inspires with his fable-like tales, Chekhov’s unmatchable skills are on full display in a chronicle of a female factory owner and her wretched workers, Klaudia Lukashevitch delights with a sweet and surprising tale of a childhood in White Russia, and Mikhail Zoshchenko recounts madcap anecdotes of Christmas trees and Christmas thieves. There is no shortage of vodka or wit in this volume packed with sentimental songs, footmen, whirling winds, solitary nights, snow drifts, and hopeful children. With its wonderful variety and remarkable human touch, this collection proves that Nobody Does Christmas Like the Russians.
A continuation of the very popular Very Christmas Series, this collection brings together the best French Christmas stories of all time in an elegant and vibrant volume featuring classics by Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet, plus stories by the esteemed twentieth century author Irène Némirovsky and contemporary writers Dominique Fabre and Jean-Philippe Blondel. With a holiday spirit conveyed through sparkling Paris streets, opulent feasts, wandering orphans, homesick soldiers, oysters, crayfish, ham, bonbons, flickering desire, and more than a little wine, this collection encapsulates Noël and proves that the French have mastered Christmas. This is Christmas à la française—delicious, intense and unexpected, proving that nobody does Christmas like the French.