Posts Tagged ‘Landscape with Dog’

“Even in Paradise, Someone Will Be Bluffing”: New Ersi Sotiropoulos

Friday, March 29th, 2013

There’s a fantastic new story by Ersi Sotiropoulos, translated by Chris Markham, up in the spring 2013 issue of Kenyon Review Online. Check out the audio feature to hear Ersi read some of the original Greek.

And if you enjoy that, of course we recommend Landscape with Dog, Ersi’s stunning collection of stories, translated by Karen Emmerich and published by us!

Keep an eye out this spring for the paperback release of the extraordinary Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees (trans. Peter Green), the first work of Ersi’s to appear in English, and truly a contemporary classic, a novel I’m still thinking about six, seven years after first reading it. It’s been our enormous honor to get to publish Ersi Sotiropoulos in English.

Ersi Sotiropoulous on literature and the crisis in Greece

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

At the PBS Newshour arts blog, Jeffrey Brown interviews Ersi Sotiropoulos, author of Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees and Landscape with Dog and Other Stories. An excerpt:

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: … What was astonishing for me was to see was a middle-aged woman like me, well dressed, with a certain dignity, with a small stick looking through the garbage. Also hiding, in a way. Feeling ashamed. Looking behind her back to make sure nobody was observing her.

JEFFREY BROWN: Because she was formerly well off, middle class?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Yes, yes of course.

JEFFREY BROWN: How is what’s happening come into your writing?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: First, it comes into my life because I have to move from this apartment.

JEFFREY BROWN: Move because of economic reasons?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Because we cannot afford the rent any more. To my writing, I think I am writing the way I was always writing throughout my life. But it’s more difficult to concentrate now.


ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Because I have this feeling of almost physical oppression, sometimes suddenly during the day, like an earthquake is approaching. When you go out, you see people begging. Now beggars usually don’t ask for money. They usually ask “Please can you buy me something to eat?” After awhile, I’ve found I’ve stopped giving things. I’ve become selfish. Sometimes I pretend I’m talking on the phone. It’s not that I don’t have the money. It is opening up the purse and knowing there will be another, and then another and another who approaches me.

JEFFREY BROWN: Do you see it having an effect on society, the cohesion?

ERSI SOTIROPOULOS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. At the beginning I thought the crisis could be beneficial, in a way. That it would get rid of many silly things. The idiotic consumerism, the fast lifestyles. I thought it would be a chance to rediscover things like friendship. But I was wrong. It was an illusion. I mean the crisis empties the wallets as well as the souls.

Read in full here.

Absinthe recommends Rien ne va plus

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Absinthe 13 showed up on my step last week, with not only what looks like an extremely tempting selection of Romanian literature, but a warm note on Rien ne va plus in the “Absinthe recommends” section.  I’ve been overdue to give Absinthe a well-deserved nod and thank you on this blog—for those of you who don’t yet know the magazine, it is a wonderful venue for translations from European literatures, and reviews thereof, and we at Clockroot were honored that it was one of the first places to welcome Ersi Sotiropoulos’s short stories in English, publishing the story “Stella,” which would later be collected into Landscape with Dog.  Check it out—

An interview with Ersi Sotiropoulos & Karen Emmerich

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Greek News Online offers an interview with Ersi Sotiropoulos and Karen Emmerich on the stories in Landscape with Dog (conducted while Ersi was a guest at the sixth International Poetry Festival in Granada, Nicaragua).

Greek News: What do you think is most significant about [the stories] as works of art? What is significant about Ersi as a Greek writer/international writer?

Karen Emmerich: It’s hard for me to think about Ersi’s work in those terms; I just think of her as a writer.  She cares so deeply about language –and not just the Greek language.  Yes, she can spend months writing and rewriting the same paragraph in Greek until it’s just right, just how she wants it.  But she also cares just as deeply about her works as they move into other languages, of which she happens to speak many.

For me it sometimes seems like this impulse to think of writers as representatives of their language or literary tradition — Ersi as a literary ambassador of Greece, in a way — confines them to too small and constricting a box.  For sure, Ersi’s writing is often wrapped up in the lived reality of Greece.  But she also reads widely in many languages, travels widely, and is part of literary conversations that are happening across languages as well.

Landscape with Dog: “Her deft sense of psychological insight and poetic language… give us portraits of the intimate and the abstract”

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Landscape with Dog and Other Stories is featured today at Three Percent, as one of the works of fiction longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award—here’s an excerpt:

From the very first story, there is a familiarity that draws the reader in, that reminds of something comforting. But Sotiropoulos layers on top of that security a sense of foreboding. There is an ambiguity to her scenes and to her characters so that we are left to question our own instincts. She infuses the narrative of each story with a controlled terror that makes characters’ relationships seem like they could snap at any moment. Yet, she never gives us that release or makes it that easy for the reader, that definitive. The beginnings, middles and ends are blurry and we are left to decide where the story began and ended. This is not to say that the stories in this collection are not definitive, they are. They present the moments in life that fall into the grey area, that at one point may look white and then years later, pitch black. This requires a very deliberate prose, a deep understanding of narrative tension and skilled working knowledge of human behavior. Even more impressive is that Karen Emmerich’s translation lets all of Sotiropoulos’ style and depth showcase itself in a sparse fluidity. …

Read the rest here

This week at Clockroot: Two readings by Ersi Sotiropoulos and Karen Emmerich, and one art opening

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Please join us!

On Tuesday, February 9th, Ersi Sotiropoulos will read from Landscape with Dog and Other Stories with translator Karen Emmerich, at the Gallatin School at NYU. The reading is at 6, reception and signing at 7. For more information and location, see here.

On Thursday, February 11th, Book Culture and Columbia University’s Hellenic studies program will host a reading and discussion with Karen, Ersi, and professor Karen Van Dyck, celebrating Clockroot’s three new translations from the Greek: Landscape with Dog, and Margarita Karapanou‘s Rien ne va plus and Kassandra and the Wolf. 6:30 pm, at 536 West 112th St (between Broadway & Amsterdam), NYC—see here.

And up in our neck of the woods, artist Ihrie Means—whose fantastic paintings are the cover art for Kassandra and the Wolf and Rien ne va plus—has an opening at the Cummington Community House, Saturday, February 13, 6 to 9 pm.

Landscape with Dog at the Quarterly Conversation

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

A wonderful review of Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by George Fragopoulos at the Quarterly Conversation.

I think this is the best part of being a publisher: reading these responses, magically getting to see works one had thought one knew inside out anew.

Reading Ersi Sotiropoulos’s collection of short stories, Landscape With Dog, brings to mind the Surrealist masterpiece by Giorgio de Chirico, “Melancholy and Mystery of a Street.” Much like Chirico’s painting, most of Sotiropoulos’s stories are textual cul-de-sacs, seemingly expansive but surprisingly claustrophobic, tinged with dark corners, a series of streets that lead nowhere, leaving readers to puzzle over wonderfully unrealized moments and conclusions. There are no easily recognizable beginnings, middles, or ends in these stories.

Read in full here.

2010 Best Translated Book Award: Fiction Longlist

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

landscapewebThis week the folks at Three Percent announced their top 25 translated books of the year. We’re so pleased that our most recent book, Ersi Sotiropoulos‘s Landscape with Dog, translated by Karen Emmerich, is among the books chosen. You can get it here, or get it from your favorite bookstore. I hope that’s not too old-fashioned to say. Three Percent is directing people to the wonderful Idlewild bookstore in New York, for any of the honored books.

Speaking of Landscape, stories from the collection are out recently in The Literary Review, an international journal of contemporary writing, and in the new issue of Two Lines, Wherever I Lie Is Your Bed, from the Center for the Art of Translation, both of which are making for great bedtime reading in our house. (By which I mean nothing other than reading. Ah, to be a student, or a ten-year-old, and read all day long.)


“The Pinball King” at the Brooklyn Rail

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

In other news from Brooklyn: Ersi Sotiropoulos’s short story “The Pinball King,” translated by Karen Emmerich, is up at the always fantastic Brooklyn Rail this month. Have a look—

Ersi Sotiropoulos at the Center for the Art of Translation

Friday, August 21st, 2009

The Center for the Art of Translation has started what promises to be a wonderful new blog on all things literary & international, “Two Words”. The CAT has been putting out its fantastic anthologies of works in translation, Two Lines, for some time—the newest, Wherever I Lie is Your Bed, edited by Margaret Jull Costa and Marilyn Hacker (and, which we’re really looking forward to, with a special section on Palestinian poetry!), will be out soon, ready now for preorder.

At Clockroot we’re very happy to note that Wherever I Lie is Your Bed will also include “Rain at the Construction Site,” a story from our forthcoming Landscape with Dog and Other Stories by Ersi Sotiropoulos, translated by Karen Emmerich. For this reason, the CAT blog  is doing a feature on Ersi’s work—I’ve written a little note myself, and there will be an interview with Karen about translating Ersi up next week. Many thanks to Scott Esposito, who has headed all this (and so much else, really, of all the great literary discussions that happen online) up.

In case you’re too lazy to click over (though do check out the new blog!), here are my own few thoughts about the great pleasure of working with Ersi’s writing, and we’ll repost Karen’s too once they’re up—

I fell into the extraordinary luck of editing the English translation of Ersi Sotiropoulos’s novel Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees at the age of 24. So really I came of age as an adult reader and as an editor with Ersi’s work, and I find I can’t pretend to write about her in any objective, academic manner. But I suspect Ersi’s writing would resist that approach from anyone. I imagine that if you started a proper paper about her—a paper with the beginning, middle, and end that Ersi dreads—you’d find yourself taking the dog for a walk, although he had been sleeping, or going out for cigarettes, although there were plenty in the drawer. Your night would end not having produced a well-thought-out analysis but having spent hours tending to some scarred-up but chafing memory, or looking vaguely for an old acquaintance better left alone.

This is how it is with Ersi’s writing: the stories in Landscape with Dog start something like stories you know, adept in a vivid, punchy realism, and end somewhere much more upsetting. To steal her words from “The Pinball King,” it’s like “when you think you recognize a silhouette on the street and follow it for a few blocks, then turn down some other street without finding out who it was.” This without-finding-out is a great summary of her work: it’s not that she leaves you hanging, but that she makes you see how in fact you leave yourself hanging. In Zigzag through the Bitter-Orange Trees you drift along in the four characters’ dark humor and lyrically rendered apathy, to realize later that you have been complicit in what could only properly be described as their amorality. Did there have to be quite so many spitting contests? one reviewer bemoaned of Zigzag. Yes, of course: Ersi’s writing makes one dwell in just these interludes, these drawn-out meeting points of pleasure and disregard. How we like to watch the spit roll down the television screen, how many hours we waste in ways we’d never say. Ersi draws her characters with empathy and an eye for vibrant, even harsh detail; then leaves just enough space within and among them to devastate us. In this way her work becomes its singular combination of tender and voyeuristic: No, really, look, she says, and thrusts before our noses some perfect, biting line of dialogue, some image of an Athens that, even if we’ve never been there, rings so true it sets our teeth on edge. It’s hard to write about Ersi’s work because it’s as hard and as easy as saying, we see ourselves in it. And, more frighteningly, we are seen.