Peirene Press

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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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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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Six Degrees of Separation – from The Tiger in the Tiger Pit to And the Wind Sees All

Six Degrees of Separation is a meme hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best. It works like this: each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the others on the …

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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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breach by Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes: Nuanced, empathetic stories from the Calais Jungle

breach is based on Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes’ exchanges with refugees who have lived in the camp known as the Jungle and the people of Calais where it’s based. Meike Ziervogel of Peirene Press commissioned the book to, in her words, ‘distil [their] stories into a work of fiction about escape, hope and aspiration. …

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Her Father’s Daughter by Marie Sizun (transl. Adriana Hunter): A sharply poignant gem

Although I’ve read several books published by Peirene – including the dazzling poetic White Hunger, set in a savagely cold Finnish winter – this is the first I’ve reviewed. For readers who haven’t yet come across them, Peirene publish novellas in translation, dubbed by the Times Literary Supplement ‘Two-hour books to be devoured in a …

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