“Planet Tokyo,” a Novel by Claudia Golea Sumiya Translated from the Romanian by Ana Prundaru

Today, we’re delighted to present an excerpt from “Planet Tokyo” (Polirom, Romania, 1998), the debut novel of the Romanian-born writer Claudia Golea Sumiya who now lives in Japan, translated by another Romanian-born artist and writer who lives in Switzerland, Ana Prundaru. As Prundaru writes in her intro, the novel describes, “with radical honesty and deadpan humor, Golea Sumiya’s turbulent first year in Japan as a twenty-something-year-old student” and her struggle to build a new life first as a professional and then as a writer in a foreign country. We’re also excited to feature several of Ana Prundaru’s moody and intriguing collages on Japanese themes.

And remember, in September and beyond, take time to explore the world from your own living room through your favorite thought-provoking literary translations.

Let us know where they take you—we’d love to hear from you.

—Claudia Serea and Loren Kleinman

Click HERE to read Planet Tokyo, a Novel by Claudia Golea Sumiya Translated from the Romanian by Ana Prundaru

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Selections from The Journal of Joy by Nicolae Steinhardt Translated from the Romanian by Paul Boboc

Today we’re excited to share with you selections from the groundbreaking Romanian masterpiece The Journal of Joy by Nicolae Steinhardt, one of the most revered dissident names in Romanian literature and philosophy. Born from a Jewish father and a Romanian mother, Nicolae Steinhardt (July 12, 1912 – March 29, 1989) was a Romanian writer, Orthodox hermit and father confessor. He was subject to anti-semitic discrimination during the fascist governments of World War II Romania and, after the war, he was persecuted and imprisoned by the communist regime. He was sentenced to 13 years of forced labor at Jilava Prison for “the crime of conspiracy against the social order.” In prison, on March 15th, 1960, he converted to Christianity under the direction of Mina Dobzeu, a Bessarabian hieromonk. In 1980, Steinhardt became a monk and lived in the Rohia Monastery working as a librarian until his death in March 1989, without getting the chance to see his country free of communism. The Journal of Joy, his best known and most celebrated work, was confiscated by the Securitate (the Romanian secret police) in 1972, restituted in 1975, and confiscated again in 1984. In the end, Steinhardt edited several versions, one of which was broadcast in a series of episodes via Radio Free Europe. Due to political reasons, most of Steinhardt’s work has been published post-mortem in its uncensored version after the communist regime collapse in 1989.

—Claudia Serea and Loren Kleinman

Click HERE to read Selections from The Journal of Joy by Nicolae Steinhardt Translated from the Romanian by Paul Boboc

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California on the Someș: Ruxandra Cesereanu’s Epic Poem Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu

It’s a rare treat when two favorite writers work together on a spectacular translation project. Such is the case with the accomplished Romanian poet Ruxandra Cesereanu and the most well known Romanian author, translator, and witty radio commentator living in the United States, Andrei Codrescu. And we’re so happy that Cesereanu’s long poem California pe Someș found in Andrei Codrescu a remarkably skilled translator who preserved the live language and the wondrous music of the original. In the his own words, “The poem is a riverine bildungsroman that grows in intensity as the poet grows into a woman.” Here is a selection of this epic long poem accompanied by gorgeous photographs of the Someș river by Yoshiro Sakamoto.

—Claudia Serea and Loren Kleinman

Click HERE to read California on the Someș: Ruxandra Cesereanu’s Epic Poem Translated from the Romanian by Andrei Codrescu

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