Interpretations is a club where we dive into fresh English translations of stand-out fiction from around the world.
This month the club will be discussing History of a Disappearance by Filip Springer, translated by Sean Bye.
** We will be gathering virtually on Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86066716342?pwd=bGlydVNxbzBQejM1ZUFtTytIbytDdz09
If you'd like to join and haven't used Zoom-- sign up for a free account and download Zoom prior to the meeting. It's pretty easy to get set up, but here's a linked video describing the process. **
Lying at the crucible of Central Europe, the Silesian village of Kupferberg suffered the violence of the Thirty Years War, the Napoleonic Wars, the World War I. After Stalin's post-World War II redrawing of Poland's borders, Kupferberg became Miedzianka, a town settled by displaced people from all over Poland and a new center of the Eastern Bloc's uranium-mining industry. Decades of neglect and environmental degradation led to the town being declared uninhabitable, and the population was evacuated. Today, it exists only in ruins, with barely a hundred people living on the unstable ground above its collapsing mines. Springer catalogs the lost human elements: the long-departed tailor and deceased shopkeeper; the parties, now silenced, that used to fill the streets with shouts and laughter, and the once-beautiful cemetery, with gravestones upended by tractors and human bones scattered by dogs. In Miedzianka, Springer sees a microcosm of European history, and a powerful narrative of how the ghosts of the past continue to haunt us in the present.
Filip Springer (born 1982) is a self-taught journalist who has been working as a reporter and photographer since 2006. His journalistic debut--History of a Disappearance: The Story of a Forgotten Polish Town--was shortlisted for the Ryszard Kapuscinski Literary Reportage Prize in 2011 and was nominated for the Gdynia Literary Prize in 2012. He was also shortlisted for the Nike Literary Prize in 2012 and winner of the third annual Ryszard Kapuscinski fellows contest for young journalists.
Sean Gasper Bye is a translator of Polish, French, and Russian literature. He has translated work by some of Poland's leading nonfiction writers, including Malgorzata Szejnert, Pawel Smolenski, and Lidia Ostalowska. An excerpt from his translation of History of a Disappearance won the Asymptote Close Approximations Prize in 2016. He lives in New York.
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