An Ermine of Czernopol

An Ermine of Czernopol

Paperback New York Review Books Classics

By (author) Gregor von Rezzori, Translated by Philip Boehm, Introduction by Zadie Smith, Introduction by Daniel Kehlmann

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  • Publisher: NYRB Classics
  • Format: Paperback | 376 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 202mm x 22mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 8 March 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1590173414
  • ISBN 13: 9781590173411
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 238,003

Product description

"The city lies somewhere in the godforsaken southeastern part of Europe and is named Czernopol," Gregor von Rezzori writes in the prelude to this major early novel, the first part of a trilogy based on the author's childhood that would grow to include some of his finest work: the scintillating memoir The Snows of Yesteryear and the trickily titled novel Memoirs of an Anti-Semite. In The Ermine of Czernopol, Rezzori summons the disorderly and unpredictable energies of a town where everything in the world is seemingly mixed up together, a multicultural society that existed long before the idea of multiculturalism. The novel, ostensibly centered on the curious tragicomic fate of an Austrian officer of supreme ineffectuality, gathers a host of unlikely characters and their unlikelier stories by way of engaging the reader in a kaleidoscopic experience of a city where nothing is as it appears-a city of discordant voices, of wild ugliness and sometimes heartbreaking disappointment, but in which, for all that, "laughter was everywhere, part of the air we breathed, a crackling tension in the atmosphere, always ready to erupt in showers of sparks or discharge itself in thunderous peals."

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Author information

Gregor von Rezzori (1914-1998) studied at the University of Vienna and for a time lived in Bucharest. Von Rezzori's books include Tales from Maghrebinia, Oedipus Triumphs at Stalingrad, The Hussar, The Death of My Brother Abel, and Anecdotage. He lived with his wife in a village near Florence, Italy, until his death. His Memoirs of an Anti-Semite was reissued by NYRB Classics in 2007. Philip Boehm is the author of numerous translations from Polish and German, including works by Franz Kafka, Ida Fink, and Christoph Hein. Daniel Kehlmann's Measuring the World was translated into more than forty languages. Awards his work has received include the Candide Prize, the Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heimito von Doderer Literature Award, the Kleist Prize, the WELT Literature Prize, and the Thomas Mann Prize. Kehlmann divides his time between Vienna and Berlin. His most recent book to be translated into English is Fame.

Review quote

Any reader of European literature who has not read Gregor von Rezzori has commited the unthinkable. This is the rare writer who writes with unmatched beauty and skill while celebrating the joys of life. Gary Shteyngart This wonderful book--literally, a book full of wonders--which lived for too long in shadow, has been brought fully to light by Philip Boehm's lustrous new translation. An Ermine of Czernopol may at last take its place on the shelf alongside The Tin Drum and One Hundred Years of Solitude. John Banville It is time that it now took its rightful place among the classics of 20th-century literature. Spectator Rezzori has a distinctively individual voice, and readers fascinated by Eastern Europe between Habsburg and Hitler will be well served by Philip Boehm's spirited translation of his rich, often lush prose. TLS Demonstrates how great writing can emerge from a mishmash of nationalities, relitions, cultures, political philosophies and sexual habits Jewish Chronicle