A Biography of a Chance Miracle :: Tanja Maljartschuk

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A Biography of a Chance Miracle

by Tanja MALJARTSCHUK

Translated from Ukrainian by Zenia TOMPKINS


A Biography of a Chance Miracle explores the life of Lena, a young girl growing up in the somewhat vapid, bureaucracy-ridden and nationalistic Western Ukrainian city of San Francisco. Lena is a misfit from early childhood due to her unwillingness to scorn everything Russian, her propensity for befriending forlorn creatures, her aversion to the status quo, and her fear of living a stupid and meaningless life. As her friends enter college, Lena sets forth on a mission to defend the abused and downtrodden of San Francisco—be they canine or human—armed with nothing more than an arsenal of humor, stubbornness, chutzpah and no shortage of imagination. Her successes are minimal at best, but in the process of trying to save San Francisco’s collective humanity, she may end up saving her own. At first glance a crazy and combative girl, Lena just may be the salvation that the Ukrainians of San Francisco sorely need.

…a wonderful novel by one of the most talented and original contemporary Ukrainian literary voices — Tanja Maljartschuk. You will irresistibly fall in love with the young protagonist, Lena, with her courage to face the harsh realities of life in her country, her charmingly optimistic and occasionally witty stubbornness in opposing the social forces of dominance and governance, and her idealistic determination to create a better world…—Zoran Živković, World Fantasy Award winner

With haiku-like precision, Tanja’s deceptively simple writing style blends surrealism and magical realism with satirical wit, occasionally outlandish humor and poignant social commentary. The German literary media has described her depictions of contemporary Ukraine as full of humor and absurdity, but “more exact and harsher” than those of her peers, comparing her to the 19th-century Russian satirist Saltykov-Shchedrin and hailing her as “a name to be remembered.” This work, her most provocative to date, was a finalist for the 2012 BBC Book of the Year Award in Ukraine, and has been lauded as “simply ingenious” by fellow Ukrainian authors.


Reviews

  • …an appealing take on modern-day Ukraine, and a nice little life-of tale. … a vivid and entertaining story, with just enough poignancy to it.
    —M.A.Orthofer, The Complete Review
  • While A Biography of a Chance Miracle focuses very much on the young woman, the novel is really all about Ukraine in the post-Soviet era. Maljartschuk sets her character against a backdrop of a country where in order to survive, the people need to become resourceful and independent as quickly as possible. … One of the strengths of A Biography of a Chance Miracle is its light touch, with what could have been a grey tale enlivened by humorous touches.
    —Tony Malone, Tony’s Reading List
  • …it is this second part of the book that makes this book so worthwhile. Lena’s struggles against the system are very well told, not least because Lena stands up to the system but does not always succeed and does not always behave in an exemplary manner. The background to the whole novel – the corruption, greed, incompetence, indifference, bureaucracy, brutality – all the faults that Maljartschuk sees in contemporary Ukraine – help illustrate and justify Lena’s stance.
    The Modern Novel
  • …wise, loving and absurd.
    —Ericka Achermann, St. Galler Tagblatt, Switzerland
  • …Kafka and Thomas Bernhard send their regards…
    —Erich Klein, Falter Magazine, Austria
  • Here irony turns into sarcasm, the smile on your lips freezes… This is a wonderful and at once bitter book, a screaming indictment in prose…Lena rises above this tristesse, a female Don Quixote of the humiliated and affronted, like a hovering Chagallian angel…
    —Sabine Berking, Das Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin (FAZ), Germany
  • …a great talent has entered onto the stage of world literature here!”
    —Anne Hahn, Kiez-Ticker, Germany
  • With a surprisingly laconic wisdom, the young author manages to expose the entire absurdity of today’s Ukraine… A new strong voice—which, despite its youth, has already found its own style—has entered the literary scene here…
    —Andreas Pittler, Culturmag, Germany

Details

  • Pages: 234
  • Trim size: 5″ x 8″ (127mm x 203mm)
  • ISBN
    Softcover: 978-4-908793-41-7
    Ebook: 978-4-908793-42-4
  • List Price:
    Softcover US$20.00
    Ebook US$8.99
  • Cover: Joe Reimer
  • Download sellsheet (PDF)

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About the author
Tanja Maljartschuk is one of the most prolific and audacious young authors currently writing in Ukrainian, whose hallmark style blends searing social commentary with heartwarming humor and an appreciation for the human condition. The author of eight books of prose, her work has been translated into ten languages and is widely available in German. Tanja’s writing has been supported by various governmental and private fellowships from the Chancellery of Austria, the Academy of the Arts of Berlin, the Polish Ministry of Culture and KulturKontakt Austria, among others. She is a past winner of the Joseph Conrad Korzienowski Literary Prize (Poland-Ukraine) and the Kristal Vilencia Award (Slovenia). A Biography of a Chance Miracle, Tanja’s first novel and sixth book, was a finalist for the prestigious BBC Book of the Year Award in Ukraine, an award she subsequently won in 2016 for her novel Forgottenness. Individual stories of Tanja’s are available in English in the anthologies Best European Fiction, Herstories and Women in Times of Change, as well as in literary magazines such as World Literature Today (“The Demon of Hunger”), Words Without Borders, Belletrista (“Canis Lupus Famliaris”) and Apofenie (“Losers Want More”). A Biography of a Chance Miracle is Tanja’s first book to be made available in English; an English translation of her novel Forgottenness is in progress.


About the translator
Zenia Tompkins holds graduate degrees from Columbia University and the University of Virginia and began translating after fifteen years in the education and private sectors. She is the founder of The Tompkins Agency for Ukrainian Literature in Translation (TAULT), a nonprofit literary agency and translation house. This, her first translation, won the 2017 Kovaliv Fund Prize, a biennial American award for best translation of a Ukrainian work. Zenia is proficient in eight languages and translates exclusively from Ukrainian. She currently lives in Latin America as the spouse of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.

Image Interpreter :: Zoran Živković

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The Image Interpreter

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Randall A. Major
Part of The Zoran Živković Collection


In a carriage of the Paris metro, nine people cross paths one ordinary Friday morning: a retired office worker who comes there purely to read; a tourist revisiting the memories of sixty years ago; a funeral mourner who has discovered the beauty of cemeteries; an author in search of her characters; a young man with a reality problem; an elderly woman with memory issues; a military administrator with a secret hobby; a jilted woman who has the key to the perfect match; and a secret agent high on adrenaline. Each in turn encounters that ubiquitous and unavoidable gadget: the cell phone camera. Each comes to a realization that changes their life forever. But who is the tenth person in the carriage, and what do her photographs tell her about the other nine that they could not possibly know themselves?

 

The author’s latest masterpiece, finally available in English!


Reviews

  • One of the dangers of Živković’s fiction can be that one gets caught up in the clever construction, more concerned with how he’s going to pull it off than the actual substance, but there’s a lot of creativity and variety on display in these pieces, the stories, themselves. These are fun, unusual episodes, piece by piece, taking unusual turns and playing with a variety of interesting ideas, large and small. Meanwhile, the larger whole is satisfying too. Enjoyable entertainment, through and through.
    M.A.Orthofer, The Complete Review

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Zoran Zivkovic honored as European Grand Master in 2017 ESFS

Zivkovic

The genius of Cadmus Press author Zoran Živković of Serbia has been recognized with his selection as European Grand Master for 2017 by the European Science Fiction Society. The awards were announced on the 17th of June 2017 at the 39th Eurocon in Dortmund, Germany.
The ESFS presents awards to outstanding science fiction in several categories each year, and selects one European Grand Master to be added to their “Hall of Fame.”

Previous ESFS Grand Masters are:

  • 2016 Herbert W. Franke (Austria)
  • 2015 Eugene Lukin (Russia)
  • 2014 Jim Fitzpatrick (Ireland)
  • 2013 Terry Pratchett (UK) & Iain Banks (UK)
  • 2012 Brian Aldiss (UK)
  • 2011 Sam J. Lundwall (Sweden)
  • 2010 Andrzej Sapkowski (Poland)
  • 2009 Christopher Priest (UK)
  • 2008 (no award)
  • 2007 Johannes H. Berg (Norway)
  • 2006 Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (Russia) & Harry Harrison (Ireland)

Hidden Camera :: Zoran Živković

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Hidden Camera

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tošić
Part of The Zoran Živković Collection


A quiet, somewhat neurotic undertaker spends his days caring for his exotic fish, and of course his silent bodies as they arrive. One day, quite out of the ordinary, he receives a ticket to the movies. The movie, however, turns out to be of him, apparently filmed without his knowledge! Convinced that he is being targeted by a TV reality show, he plays along, only to be dragged from one adventure to the next, in a fantastic journey that evolves into a story of love, of death, and of ultimate creativity.
And through his travails we discover new perspectives on our own roles in an increasingly insensitive and scripted world.

Hidden Camera was nominated for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.


Reviews

  • Živković surveys the shifting line between paranoid fantasy and legitimate threat in his mystifying novel. When the unnamed narrator, an undertaker, is invited to a private film screening, he’s surprised to see that the movie is one sustained shot of himself sitting on a park bench.
    Publishers Weekly
  • A short, meaty book, this is an antimodernist parable heavy enough for you to know you’ve absorbed real substance, yet ironic enough to ensure you don’t want to kill yourself when it’s over. [A] wonderfully sardonic writer whose idiosyncratic vision so thoroughly serves his bleak, absurdist sense of fun.
    Michael Moorcock, The Guardian
  • …a work of unexpected beauty and surprise. Živković is seeking to communicate something about the nature of life and death, of existence and non-existence, which bends perception into new and challenging shapes.He marries the comic to the melancholic with an enviable balance and lightness of touch.
    Dan Hartland, Strange Horizons
  • Hidden Camera is a love story, a story of love and death; it is also a parable of creativity. Hidden Camera is typical of Živković’s circular narrative style: like a serpent swallowing its own tail, the last sentence of the story draws one straight back to the first. For Živković, the act of creation is an act of love.
    Tamar Yellin, Infinity Plus
  • An inherently compelling, exceptionally thought-provoking, and consistently entertaining read from beginning to end … unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections.
    Midwest Book Review

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First books in Zoran Živković Collection published!

We are delighted to announce the publication of the first two books in the Zoran Živković Collection:

Both feature stunning covers by Japanese artist Youchan Ito, and are available at Amazon and major booksellers worldwide. Refer to the individual book pages for more information!

The Zoran Živković Collection

The Zoran Živković Collection

Serbian author Zoran Živković has earned a devoted legion of readers around the world with his thought-provoking, surrealistic works, in a multitude of languages and editions.

Though it is too soon to crown Zoran Živković the new Borges, Seven Touches of Music makes him a leading candidate.—The New York Times Book Review

Too many of them are out of print in the English language today, and the Zoran Živković Collection will be available in hardcover, trade paperback, and electronic editions.

…unexpected beauty and surprise. […] Zivkovic is seeking to communicate something about the nature of life and death, of existence and non-existence, which bends perception into new and challenging shapes.—Strange Horizons

The first works to be published will be The Five Wonders of the Danube, only available in a limited multi-lingual edition from Zavod (Serbia), and The Papyrus Trilogy, bringing together the cases of Dejan Lukić, star of The Last Book and The Grand Manuscript, together for the first time the final volume of his metaphysical chronicles, The Compendium of the Dead.

…A curious liminality which seems inherent in his prose: there is always a sense of something else, and something other, at work in Živković’s worlds, albeit invisibly. He is a writer of subtlety, and of humanity.—Strange Horizons

Titles and formats

Shaded books are in production

Softcover Ebook Hardcover
The Fourth Circle The Fourth Circle The Fourth Circle
The Book The Book The Book
Time Gifts Impossible Stories I Impossible Stories I
Impossible Encounters
Seven Touches of Music
The Library
Steps through the Mist
Only available in softcover from Dalkey Archive Hidden Camera Hidden Camera
Compartments Compartments Compartments
Four Stories Till the End Impossible Stories II Impossible Stories II
Twelve Collections
The Bridge
Miss Tamara, the Reader
Amarcord
Escher’s Loops Escher’s Loops Escher’s Loops
The Writer & The Ghostwriter The Writer & The Ghostwriter The Writer & The Ghostwriter
The Five Wonders of the Danube The Five Wonders of the Danube The Five Wonders of the Danube
The Last Book The Papyrus Trilogy The Papyrus Trilogy
The Grand Manuscript
The Compendium of the Dead
The Image Interpreter The Image Interpreter The Image Interpreter

The Compendium of the Dead :: Zoran Živković

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The Compendium of the Dead

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Vuk Tošić
Part of The Zoran Živković Collection


THE FINAL PART OF THE PAPYRUS TRILOGY
When certain mysterious events involving books occur, it seems that Inspector Dejan Lukić is always the man for the job. This time, however, things are a little different. Inspector Lukić himself is at the heart of the mystery, lured by the appearance of a number of packages addressed to him in person and left at several highly unlikely locations. The contents of these packages – a set of books known as The Compendium of the Dead – a series of bizarre disappearances and a succession of strange encounters keep the baffled Inspector on his toes right up until the extraordinary dénouement, in which the finality of death itself is challenged. In this, the final part of the trilogy that began with The Last Book and The Grand Manuscript, Zoran Živković demonstrates beyond contradiction the magical and ultimately benevolent power of literature.

Included in The Papyrus Trilogy.


Reviews

  • This third variation on powerful books (and the power behind them) allows Živković to bring the trilogy almost full-circle, and tie up some loose ends in setting everything right — the havoc that a writer wreaks put back in order. It’s a decent, clever idea, and certainly makes for an agreeable conclusion. … The Papyrus Trilogy forms a nicely rounded whole.
    Michael Orthofer, The Complete Review
  • Zoran Živković is more interested in books and how they are made than in hard-boiled detectives and how they detect. Not for everyone perhaps, but good fun…
    —David Cozy, Only A Blockhead

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The Grand Manuscript :: Zoran Živković

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The Grand Manuscript

by Zoran Živković

Translated from Serbian by Alice Copple-Tošić
Part of The Zoran Živković Collection


THE SECOND PART OF THE PAPYRUS TRILOGY
An empty apartment, locked from the inside: this is the mystery that literature-loving police inspector Dejan Lukić, hero of Zoran Živković’s The Last Book, is called in to solve. What has become of the woman who lives there, bestselling detective fiction writer Jelena Jakovljević? And, perhaps more importantly still, what has happened to the manuscript of her newly-completed novel, Find Me? As Inspector Lukić becomes ever more entangled in the growing mystery, a highly-strung literary agent, a blind painter, a virtuoso lock-picker and various cutthroat publishers all have their part to play in an elaborate game of misdirection and pursuit. Not to mention the dark powers of the National Security Agency and a secret cult seeking the key to immortality. Once again, Inspector Lukić stands at the heart of a literary conundrum only he can solve and through which he stands to gain—or lose—everything.

Included in The Papyrus Trilogy.


Reviews

  • It begins with him being called to a writer’s apartment by her desperate literary agent, who fears the worst. At the writer’s apartment they find the door locked—from the inside—but no one answering. Lukić inexplicably finds no trace of the author—a classic locked-door mystery. … Appearances—and their absence (such the pseudonymous missing author)—are nicely constantly deceiving here, making for an enjoyable enough read.
    Michael Orthofer, The Complete Review
  • Once again Živković’s bookish world is fantastic. But then books can endow their characters with immortality, so maybe it’s not as fantastic as all that. Like the first book in the trilogy, this book can stand on its own, but it is inextricably connected to the first, and some of the philosophical fun will only be apparent to those who’ve read both.
    —David Cozy, Only A Blockhead

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