LA GIORNATA DI UN OPRIČNIK (Day of the Oprichnik) - Atmosphere Libri - Translation by Denise Silvestri
Vladimir Sorokin was born in Moscow in 1955. He has worked as a scriptwriter, playwright, painter, graphic designer and a librettist for the Bolshoi Theatre. Provocative and irreverent, he owes his international renown to his novel The Queue (NYRB 1985). Ice, which came out in Russia in 2002, was published by NYRB Classics in 2011. His books have been translated into 22 languages. He is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and a member of Russian PEN.
Vladimir Sorokin’s novel is set in an imaginary Russia in 2028. It narrates one day in the life of an oprichnik: a reference to a secret police force created by Ivan the Terrible in 1565 with the purpose of eliminating his enemies, often by brutal and bloody means.
In the world of the novel, the excesses of the empire under Ivan the Terrible, and of modern Russia under Putin, are amplified in ingenious and horrifying ways.
No detail is spared, from the gang rape of a noble’s wife who is found hiding in a giant oven, to the visit of the oprichniks to a steam-bath, where they enjoy a drug-enhanced orgy amid kvass vapor, then relax by listening to Rachmaninoff and sipping “Szechuan champagne.” The latter-day oprichniki ride, instead of black horses, red “Mercedovs,” with severed dog-heads on the hood.
One of the most special things about the book is the language Sorokin invents for his new Russia: a mash-up of business jargon, Russian imperial dictates, Soviet propaganda, and the language of folktales.
At a first glance, DAY OF THE OPRICHNIK seems like a book that landed on earth from another planet—but it has a clear place in the Russian tradition. We can see the heritage of the two great satirical novelists, Gogol and Bulgakov, in the baroque accumulation of details, the interweaving of fantasy and reality, the relentlessness of the action. Of course there are echoes of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. And the dizzying combination of linguistic registers makes us think of Dostoevsky.
But we love Sorokin, not just because he continues the tradition of the past, but because he makes it utterly new, funny, and terrifying. Edmund White called Sorokin a “black diamond,” and I can’t think of a better description.
2015 IX EDITION FINALISTS
DAŠA DRNDIĆ TRIESTE (Trieste) - Bompiani - Translation by Ljiljana Avirovic
Daša Drndić was born in Croatia. She graduated from the University of Belgrade – the Faculty of Philology, in the English Language and Literature department, with a Fullbright scholarship. She continued her studies in Theatre and Communications in the United States, finally earning her doctorate with research on The Left and Proto-Feminism at the University of Reika, Croatia. She has written 30 radio plays, prose and poems. As a novelist she has been translated into English, French, Polish, Slovenian, German and Slovakian.
ANDREW MILLER PURA (Pure) - Bompiani - Translation by Sergio Claudio Perroni
Andrew Miller was born in Bristol in 1960 He has lived in Spain, Japan, Ireland, France and now in Somerset. His debut novel, Ingenious Pain, was published in 1997 and won the James Tate Black Memorial Prize for fiction; the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize. This was followed by five subsequent novels, including Pure, which in 2011 won the Costa Book of the Year Prize. Hi novel Oxygen was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel Award in 2001. Pure was a finalist for the 2012 Walter Scott Prize at the Southbank Sky Arts Award and the Independent Booksellers Award.
GUADALUPE NETTEL IL CORPO IN CUI SONO NATA (The Body Where I Was Born) - Einaudi - Translation by Federica Niola
Guadalupe Nettel was born in Mexico City in 1973. She is the author of four short story collections, including Pétalos y otras historias incómodas (2008) and El matrimonio de los peces rojos (2013), as well as the novel, El huésped (2006). She has received various international awards including the Antonin Artaud prize in 2008, the Anna Seghers Award in 2009 and the Ribera del Duero Short Fiction Award in 2013. The Body Where I Was Born is her first book to be translated into Italian.
TOMMY WIERINGA QUESTI SONO I NOMI (These Are The Names) - Iperborea - Translation by Claudia Cozzi and Claudia Di Palermo
Tommy Wieringa was born in 1967 in the Netherlands, near the border with Germany. His debut novel was published in 1995, but he achieved international renown in 2002 with the novel Alles over Tristan, which won him the Halewijn prize and a nomination for the prestigious AKO Prize. With Joe Speedboat he won the Bordewijk prize in 2006 and with These are the Names he received critical acclaim, with comparisons to Salinger, John Irving and Paul Auster. He writes for a wide range of publications and is a columnist for De Volkskrant.
PREMIO GREGOR VON REZZORI FOR THE BEST TRANSLATION OF A WORK OF FOREIGN FICTION
End Zone, by Don DeLillo (Einaudi)
Federica Aceto graduated in modern languages and literature at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples. Afterwards she spent several years in Ireland where she completed a Masters in Anglo-Irish literature at University College Dublin and worked there as a language assistant in the department of Italian studies. She has been translating English-language fiction since 2004. Among the authors she has translated are Martin Amis, JG Ballard, Don DeLillo, Stanley Elkin, AL Kennedy and Ali Smith. In addition to her translating work, she teaches English language at Rebibbia prison.