Screen Capture of "Russian Roller-Coaster" at VICE.com

My translation of this wonderfully crazy short story by Andrei Krasnyashykh was just published at VICE magazine, as part of their ongoing VICE Reader series that features literary fiction and other literary snippets.

An excerpt of my translation:

It’s so simple, after all. God is everywhere. A shirt button fell off because God. They were showing a movie on TV because God. I got hungry because God. Women put on makeup because God. My neighbor’s dog got lost because God, because I poisoned it, because God wanted it this way, so I, so it wouldn’t bark at me.

God knows everything I don’t know. Like, I don’t know who lives in Brazil, but God knows. I don’t know why salt is white, like sugar, but not tasty, but God knows.

Sometimes I act like a mouse, because suddenly God thinks I’m a mouse. Then I think, and then suddenly God thinks I’m not a mouse, and I start to fly, because God suddenly thinks I’m a bird. And they say: you’re flying because you know how to fly, and maybe God doesn’t even know you know how to fly. I say: if God didn’t know that I know how to fly, then I’d be swimming, and God would have known I swim.

And they say: but we swim when God doesn’t know we swim. I say: And your tail and fins, where are they? Who swims without fins? Without fins shit swims. And when God knows I can swim, I swim with fins and a tail. Like you’re supposed to.

Read the whole story here. Read other entries in the VICE Reader series here.

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Photo og "Nancy" by Harry Gamboa; Cover of SUmmer 2012 issue of The MAssachusetts REviewMy translation of a personal essay by Andrei Krasnyashykh just came out in the Summer 2012 issue of The Massachusetts Review. The essay “On the Dream Within a Dream,” is about dreaming about dreaming, about not being able to wake up, about trying to escape from a dream trapped inside another dream. The essay is funny, fantastical, and strange. Typical Krasnyashykh. The cover (left) is a gorgeous photograph by Harry Gamboa. Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

In Kafka’s fantastical nighttime world, the everyday logic of daytime suddenly invaded. Nightmares became a combination of delusion and logic, or more accurately, the delusion, without rhyme or reason, suddenly stopped playing by its own rules and discovered an internal everyday logic. Reality within the unreal (by the way, in magic realism, though it often feels dissonant, it’s the other way around: the surreal is within the confines of reality, and the experience of reading Kafka is noticeably different from reading García Márquez. The latter isn’t scary, and, after all,—I keep getting further and further away from the subject of my piece, but there’s nothing I can do about it since it’s already happening—the first story of García Márquez, “The Third Resignation” (written in 1947), is considered Kafkaesque because he writes about the feelings of a dead person, not as the subject matter but rather as the atmosphere of reality within the unreal).

Read the full first page below the fold, or buy the issue for $10.00 to read the full text. This issue also includes fiction by Tabish Khair and poetry by Lawrence Raab, among others.
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Cover of the Spring 2012 Issue of The Literary Review

My translations of Russian/Ukrainian prose writer Andrei Krasnyashykh’s work appear in the latest issue of The Literary Review (an international journal of contemporary writing). I couldn’t be more thrilled to be published alongside Mary Jo Bang, a poet who is translating Dante’s Inferno, and others.

The pieces I’ve translated are from a series called “Machinations of the Genre.” Krasnyashykh invented a form he calls the intrigue, short little breaths all wrapped up in pun, wordplay, and confusion. They are something like a prose poem or flash fiction or just ruminations on a word that only lasts a sentence or two.

I am happy these translations have found a home in TLR, especially since the theme of this issue is “Encyclopedia Britannica.” These pieces are almost like short entries in a reference book, new definitions for words and thoughts.

Krasnyashykh lives and works in Ukraine but writes in Russian, a member of the Russian-speaking literary community in Kharkov. His book of short stories, The Park of Culture and Relaxation, was published in 2008 and short-listed for the prestigious Andrei Bely Prize. I am working on translating stories from that collection, after initially discovering him while studying under Idra Novey and Matvei Yankelevich at Columbia University’s literary translation program.

I will be doing a reading with TLR contributors Cindy Cruz, Martha Witt, and Geoffrey Nutter on August 2nd at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn. NY. More details forthcoming.

The full text of “Machinations of the Genre” is below the fold. His original Russian text can be read online here.

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