Book Events

The publication date for my debut English-language book LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES is approaching on September 5. If you are in the Bay Area, please come to the book party on September 12, 7 pm at Studio 333, Sausalito, CA. We will be celebrating my book together with Anita Felicelli’s novel CHIMERICA. Peg Alford Pursell, our publisher and the author of A GIRL GOES INTO THE FOREST, will host the event that will include a reading, a conversation, wine and cake.

I’m particularly delighted that, as a part of my book tour, I’ll be able to return to Rochester, New York, where I first landed when I came to the US in 1996. I look forward to visiting RIT and catching up with old friends as a part of this adventure. My Rochester event is scheduled for November 9th, 7:30 pm at Java’s in downtown Rochester — more information about that soon.

Below are two more upcoming Bay Area readings. More events are in the works, and I will update you as the book tour comes together!

On October 5 at 7 pm, I will be in conversation with Nancy Au, author of SPIDER LOVE SONG AND OTHER STORIES, at E.M. Wolfman General Interest Small Bookstore, Oakland, CA

On October 7 at 7 pm, I will participate in Odd Mondays reading series at Folio Books, San Francisco, CA

Thank you for all of you who have pre-ordered my book — you should be receiving it soon. If you’d like to pre-order your copy of LIKE WATER AND OTHER STORIES, you can do it here.

My Review of Akram Aylisli’s Farewell, Aylis

Here’s a new review I wrote for The Common of a remarkable book that comes to us from Azerbaijan, published thanks to the advocacy of its translator, Katherine E. Young,

Contemporary books emerging from post-Soviet countries often deal with the dehumanizing effect of the region’s systems of government on its victims, seeking to trace and partially redeem the psychological and physical harm many have suffered. For understandable reasons, few authors care to look at the perpetrators, at the people who committed murders and mass murders, informed on and denounced their neighbors. Yet, in the post-Soviet reality, often it’s these people and their descendants who have risen to the top, taken charge of the new nation states, and written their laws.

It is in this context that Akram Aylisli, in post-Soviet Azerbaijan, gathers together the three novellas and closing essay that comprise his “non-traditional novel,” Farewell, Aylis. Born in 1937, Aylisli achieved fame in the Soviet Union for his earlier trilogy People and Trees. Though pieces of this new, remarkable book have appeared in Russia, the collected Farewell, Aylis, published as a result of the efforts of his American translator, Katherine E. Young, does not yet exist in any other language.

Click here to read the rest of the review.

“To Understand Russia’s Complexities, Turn to Its Contemporary Literature”

Epiphany published a blog post I wrote, highlighting three fascinating recent translations from Russian.

A FRIEND’S TEN-YEAR-OLD SON son recently came up to me at a party to ask, “You’re from Russia, right?” Sensing caution in my assent, the boy hesitated before asking the next question, clearly trying to phrase it in a way that wouldn’t cause offense but would express his curiosity. He finally came up with, “It’s a very violent place, isn’t it?”

Whenever I’m asked to summarize the entire country of Russia at a party, I invariably recall a scene from a popular Soviet movie…

Click here to read the piece.

Review of The Consequences by Niña Weijers, trans. by Hester Velmans

I’m delighted to have this review up on The Common. It took longer to write than I had anticipated, in part, because every time I returned to this book, there was more to say about it. So many fascinating layers!

Outstanding books often have a way of catching the reader by surprise, one insight, one unexpected narrative shift at a time. Niña Weijers, a debut novelist from the Netherlands, begins her book as a character study of her protagonist, Minnie Panis. Minnie is a conceptual artist of growing international reputation, whose career has been built on acts of public self-abnegation.  With each turn of the page, Weijers extends her subject and thematic reach, keeping her protagonist in focus while exploring contemporary art, mysticism, Mayan beliefs, and early childhood development (among other themes) to enrich our understanding of Minnie’s character and the forces that govern her life.

Minnie’s story is told by an omniscient narrator who documents Minnie’s history of “disappearances”: moments of near death and of extreme out of body experiences, all of which Hester Velmans, an NEA fellowship recipient for translation, has rendered to strong effect in plain and unpretentious language. The prologue introduces us to Minnie in February, 2012 when she falls through a frozen lake in Amsterdam. This is described as a deliberate gesture—not a suicide attempt, but rather a Houdini-like disappearing act, Minnie’s third. But why such a radical performance? The ensuing narrative leads us on an investigation. . . .

Read the rest of this review here.

 

Новая рецензия на Хлоп-страну

Московский автор и критик Данила Давыдов написал рецензию на мою книжку Хлоп-страна!

Говоря об этих рассказах как о психологической прозе мы не удаляемся от истины, но делаем ее более скудной, поскольку само вышеприведенное определение можно применить решительно к чему угодно. Важнее описать контуры того мира, который создает Гренец. Перед нами множество персонажей, женщин и мужчин, эмигрантов той или иной степени адаптированности к новым условиям, причем отнюдь не только (э)мигрантов из постсоветского пространства, – но и вполне местных, чаще молодых людей, но и зрелых, даже пожилых, и малых детей. Этот мультикультуральный и очень насыщенный гулом присутствующих «я» со всем разнообразием их опыта не производит впечатления ни утопии, ни антиутопии. Часто это пластмассовый мир, отчужденный от человека или, напротив, удобно-консьюмеристский, но бывает что и романтический, и насыщенный возвышенными смыслами, порой даже безбашенно-контркультурный.

Читать рецензию целиком тут.

А тут можно купить книжку.

Janine Kovac’s Spinning

Janine Kovac weaves the stories about premature birth of her twin boys with experiences from her professional ballet-dancing career with the difficult path of learning to write about these experiences — and the result is a very effective and moving narrative, and a kind of a writers’ guide that might do more good than lots of more technical craft manuals.

Leaning against the bathroom door, I’m trying to breathe and at the same time I’m trying not to breathe. I watch myself from above–a woman with dark hair in a light green hospital gown and an enormous belly stretched taut. I can’t see my face; I can only see my back. There’s a tug–as if gravity is pulling me to the ground, reaching inside, and sucking life out.

Everyone thinks that an out-of-body experience means watching yourself from the rafters. That’s just the visual perspective. There’s also the feeling of being deeply rooted inside your vital organs, as if your heart were the center of the universe. In the same breath you observe from the outside and feel from within.

Check out Janine’s website and buy the book.

Рецензия Елены Крюковой,”Главное — подлинность”

Поступила ещё одна рецензия на мою книгу Хлоп-страна. Автор Елена Крюкова:

Перед нами книга рассказов, которую можно было бы очертить одним широким штрихом, описать одной словесной формулой — если бы это было воистину возможно: улей бытия.
Рассказы эти, предельно живые, вылетают из улья, как пчелы.
И летят, куда хотят.
И собирают мед больших смыслов с цветов большой — глазом не охватить — одновременно и подвластной, и неподвластной анализу человека жизни.

Читать дальше на сайте Читальный зал.