HTMLGIANT / Julian Berengaut

This Isn’t Easy for Me by Julian Berengaut

TIEFM 3DJulian Berengaut’s new novel, This Isn’t Easy for Me, a story told entirely in dialogue, is available today. Jen Michalski had some nice words for it:

“In Julian Berengaut’s This Isn’t Easy for Me, two strangers—Sabine, a German physicist, and Renata, an economist and philanthropist—meet for tea, one with a confession, the other a proposition. What follows is not a novel, but a conversation—a conversation that becomes more than a novel. It is a sweeping look at history, love and relationships, science, mathematics, and most importantly, women. Berengaut has written Sabine and Renata with as much tenderness, respect, and understanding as any woman writer.”
Jen Michalski, The Tide King and Could You Be With Her Now

So did Linda Franklin:

“… here’s a book for people who love language. Language of literature, but also of physics, history, and the tangles you make with the daily news and private memories. Inside here is sex and sin and religion and dietary restrictions. This Isn’t Easy for Me is also for people who wish they could let their minds go wild—because by the end of the book, they will. From Conan Doyle to Pushkin, from Diderot to Godel, from Jewish jokes to Dumas to the Bible to Babel, bring some sticky notes for this lively marathon conversation between two learned women, so you can jot all the words, books, and your own ideas that you’ll want to follow up on later. The only problem here is that, as much as wish you could be, you aren’t there to join in.”
Linda Franklin, Barkinglips

Author Spotlight / 5 Comments
October 14th, 2014 / 1:36 pm

It’s No Good

It’s No Good: poems / essays / actions
by Kirill Medvedev
Edited and introduced by Keith Gessen
Translated from the Russian by Keith Gessen with Mark Krotov, Cory Merill, and Bela Shayevich
ugly duckling presse/n+1, 2012 (Eastern European Poets Series #30)
280 pages / $16  Buy from UDP or SPD

 

 

 

 

 

Kirill Medvedev was born in Moscow in 1975.  In addition to writing, he has translated, written critical essays on contemporary Russian literature and politics and their “bloody crossroads”, run his own bare bone publishing house, and organized opposition against Putin.

His first book of poems, Vse Plokho (Everything’s Bad or It’s No Good) appeared in 2000; his second book Vtorzhenie (Incursion) combined poetry and essays on subjects ranging from 9/11 to the vocabulary of pornography.  Soon, thereafter, fed up with Moscow’s intellectuals acquiescence with Putin’s stabilization (or, as he might say, pacification), he went into “internal exile”—renouncing all contacts with literary life, whether publishing, readings, or roundtables or even claiming copyright for his writings.  While continuing to post his poems and essays on his website and Facebook page, he has channeled his considerable energy into publishing (mainly canonical leftist criticisms of capitalism, well known in the West but not in Russia), political activity as part of the small socialist movement Forwards (Vpered) and taking to the streets to challenge Putin’s regime together with a few supporters holding handmade signs.

In It’s No Good, Keith Gessen brings together a representative sample of Medvedev’s diverse ouvre. Selections of poems from his two collections and later works as well as of his essays are preceded by Gessen’s extensive introduction to Medvedev, the poet and, equally importantly, Medvedev the critic of literature, the literary establishment, and Russia’s stunted politics.  We learn how Gessen discovered Medvedev’s poetry and political writing and how it downed on him that Medvedev had very important things to say to him and to his New York friends who were trying to confront the inequities of capitalism in their own backyard.  The collection, an obvious labor of love, works effectively at many levels and will surely widen the circle of Medvedev’s admirers in this country.  Would it be wishful thinking that it will also, as if by ricochet, do it for Medvedev in Russia?

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Reviews / 3 Comments
January 18th, 2013 / 12:00 pm

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