Peirene Press

Cover image for History. A Mess. by Sigrún Pálsdóttir

History. A Mess. by Sigrún Pálsdóttir (transl. Lytton Smith) ‘This day, after I was redie, I did eate my breakfast’

Given that I live with an historian whose PhD we both suffered through, it was inevitable that I would read Icelandic writer Sigrún Pálsdóttir’s History. A Mess. That and it’s published by the excellent Peirene Press who have recently moved to my hometown. Pálsdóttir’s novella follows an unnamed narrator convinced that she’s discovered the identity […]

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Cover image for Body Kintsugi by Senka Maric

Body Kintsugi by Senka Marić (transl. Celia Hawkesworth): ‘You are life itself’

I’ve come to expect challenging books from Peirene Press although the last one I read, Marzhan, Mon Amour, turned out to be full of gentle humour and affection for the titular former East Berlin suburb. Senka Marić’s Body Kintsugi is a tough though ultimately optimistic read covering two years in which our unnamed protagonist undergoes

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Cover image for Marzhan, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp

Marzahn, Mon Amour by Katja Oskamp (transl. Jo Heinrich): An everyday gem

Peirene Press novellas are reliably excellent but rarely cheery reads. Katja Oskamp’s Marzhan, Mon Amour bucks that trend with its tender, affectionate portrait of a community told through a set of thumbnail sketches of her clients by an unnamed writer turned chiropodist. Regular readers might notice that this is the second visit to Berlin in

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Cover image for The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili

The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili (transl. Elizabeth Heighway): Not the best days of your life

I’ve learned not to expect a cheery read from Peirene Press. The closest I’ve got is Guđmundur Andri Thorsson’s And the Wind Sees All. I know that what I will get is an insight into a country and its culture, often one that I may never visit and even if I did, might see only

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Cover image for Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman

Ten Small But Perfectly Formed Publishers Who Will Post Books to Your Home

One of the very few silver linings to the coronavirus is a reported upsurge in book sales. We have booksellers, publishers, warehouse staff and posties to thank for getting hard copies to us, despite risks to themselves. You’re probably in the habit of browsing your local bookshop or maybe buying from online booksellers but small

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Faces on the Tip of My Tongue by Emmanuelle Pagano (transl. Jennifer Higgins and Sophie Lewis): Interconnected lives

I’m sure I’ve already made this observation here but I’ve yet to read a dud from Peirene Press. Their books are always thought-provoking and often beautifully expressed, a tribute to both writer and translator, or in this case translators. Clearly, Meike Ziervogel has a very discerning editorial eye and her own writing is quite remarkable,

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Children of the Cave by Virve Sammalkorpi (transl. Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah): What’s real and what’s not.

Peirene Press’s books are never anything but interesting. It’s founder and publisher, Meike Ziervogel, has a knack for seeking out unusual, thought-provoking fiction. For 2019 her theme is There Be Monsters. Virve Sammalkorpi’s Children of the Cave follows a nineteenth-century anthropological expedition which goes horribly wrong, posing the question who are the monsters? Iax Agolasky,

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And the Wind Sees All by by Guđmundur Andri Thorsson (transl. Björg Árnadóttir and Andrew Cauthery)

Guđmundur Andri Thorsson’s And the Wind Sees All is the third in Peirene’s ‘Home in Exile’ series. I reviewed Soviet Milk here earlier in the year but chickened out of Shadows on the Tundra, billed as Lithuanian survival literature. I’m sure it’s very good, I’ve yet to read anything published by Peirene that isn’t, but

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Dance by the Canal by Kerstin Hensel (transl. Jen Calleja): Down but not out

Peirene’s novellas come with a brief foreword from Meike Ziervogel, a short personal comment explaining why this particular book caught her eye. The one prefacing Kerstin Hensel’s Dance by the Canal ends ‘This book will make you think’. I’ve yet to read anything published by Peirene which hasn’t done that. Hensel’s book is the story

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The Empress and the Cake by Linda Stift (transl. Jamie Bulloch): Not as sweet as you might think

Given that two jaunts that have taken me to Vienna this year, Linda Stift’s The Empress and the Cake seemed an obvious choice. It’s also translated by Jamie Bulloch whose name I’ve come to associate with excellent fiction. Part of Peirene’s Fairy Tale series, Stift’s novella comes beautifully packaged in delicate pink and cream but

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