Pen America has announced recipients of the 2018 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grants. Our own Michael Gluck was awarded a grant for "his agile and energetic translation from the Russian of Matisse by Alexander Ilichevsky":
Matisse hearkens back to the great 19th century Russian philosophical novels, with great yarns spun by unsavory characters that sparkle with the language of the heavens and the language of the streets (literally—the protagonist is a theoretical physicist who abandons his former life to be a bum). Ilichevsky masters various registers to show us the many sides of life in contemporary Russia.
One day at the end of the season they – the three young drifters – sat down to a full table after steaming in the banya earlier. Their host had had too much to drink and staked his wife. She wore a black bonnet, waited on them, thin, middle-aged. Her features suddenly froze, her gaze fixed on the unthinkable, not uttering a sound. When he’d finished drinking, Kolyanych, embarrassed, went after her, while the host went over to the other two. With a rifle. He dropped his pants and pointed the barrel. Staggering, he rested the butt of the gun against his head, his mouth open, a thick tongue tossing and turning inside, tormented. They barely had time to defend themselves. Luckily, hobbled by his pants, he shot and missed, putting a hole in the roof and blowing the shed door off its hinges. So they split, stumbling over ravines, avoiding dogs, in darkness, until, at dawn, they reached the sea and from there hitchhiked to Novoross. And that’s how Vadya ended up without a passport. One of the many woes of perestroika – fugitives from all over. It never occurred to him to get another ID. It was only when he was in danger of losing his life that he would bother to do something about it, to put up any kind of a struggle. And even then – not much.