I am actively seeking a publisher for my English translation of Andrey’s novel World Creation Recipes. Andrey himself holds the foreign rights.
Poet and fiction writer Andrey Filimonov (b. 1969) is a native of Tomsk, the 400-year-old “Athens of Siberia” and centre of White Russian resistance during the Russian Civil War. Andrey studied philosophy before training as a journalist. His poetry and stories have appeared in Nestolichnaya literatura, Antologiya russkogo verlibra, Sibirskiye ogni, Vavilon, and elsewhere.
World Creation Recipes uses archive material and the author’s conversations with his grandmother Galina to take us twisting and turning from Ivanovo to Odessa to Kiev to the closed city of Tomsk and on through Europe and the whole 20th century. Demonstrating a sure sense of character, place, and time, Andrey takes us on a journey at the centre of which is the love story of the author’s grandparents Galina and Dima (clearly much loved, and vividly realised), with the narrative radiating forwards, backwards and out to the disappearance in WWII of Galina’s brother Vitya and Dima’s mother and sister, the arrest and disappearance of Dima’s father,
the trouble brought on Dima and Galina by the emigration to England of Dima’s half brother, the birth of Galina and Dima’s son Victor (the author’s father) during a fight to save Galina’s life from dysentery, and on to Galina’s and Dima’s own eventual deaths at venerable ages, and a hallucinatory coda in which the author takes a trip in which we learn how he found the strength (and love) to write the book.
World Creation Recipes is Andrey’s second novel. Both this and his debut novel Manikin And The Saints were nominated for the Big Book and National Bestseller awards. Andrey was also nominated for the NOS prize, and World Creation Recipes won a Reader’s Favourite award in the Big Book prize competition.
On translating Andrey
Andrey writes like a man sprinting through a massive supermarket with a huge trolley, his eyes and hands darting left, right, up, down, forward and back, sweeping items off the shelves at lightning speed and in what order you’re not at first sure, and suddenly, bam! How did that happen? A full trolley containing meat & veg, fruit & fibre, sweet & sour – a rich, varied, satisfying and rounded diet for a nice long time. Before I’d finished the first page of World Creation Recipes I was off my feet (I stand to work so I can’t say ‘out of my seat’) shouting yes! I have to translate this man. Within a page or two I was ‘inside’ the book; it was not merely a ‘good book with great characters and a compelling storyline’, though it was all those things. I mean, Andrey’s confidence at every level from word to sentence to section to overall frame is admirable. As my friend and fellow Andrey-translator Anne Fisher says, ‘Andrey’s award-winning writing is harsh and playful, mined with puns and loamy with earthy language. He is often hilarious, sometimes coldly detached, and occasionally shocking, making his work an exquisite challenge for the translator.’ But there was something more at work here. Galina, Dima, the redoubtable Maria Vasilyevna … they were in the room with me; I saw them, heard them, felt them. It still seems inconceivable that they are no longer alive. Of course they are alive. Literary translators have to love anything they are translating, and I love what I translate. But this type of connection with a work is something to be prized; it does not happen in quite this way every time.
Sample translations from World Creation Recipes are available on request.