As noted earlier in the year, 2009 always looked as if it would be a good one for contemporary European literature. At least half a dozen of the authors who featured on my 2005 list promised us new titles, from Hamish Wishart (whose short story collection, Sore Chasm, was published at the beginning of April) to Dinos Tierotis (whose second novel, The Golden Bomber Jacket, hit the bookshelves, albeit lightly, in May). If I have failed to mention these two works before now, it is not because I haven’t given them any attention; merely that other books (Turgidovsky’s Delicious Air, for instance) have taken precedence. What is more, as you will know, I am not one to be rushed into thrusting forth my critical opinion. One takes the cake out of the oven only when it is cooked. Then one consumes the cake. Thus is one becrumbed (which is an entirely different matter, to be considered on another day).
The summer, meanwhile, was set to provide a fitting climax to the literary riches of the spring, symbolised by the possible appearance of the long-awaited Poppies: Book Two, by Jaymer Veers. Ah, what more could a fan of obscure European literature ask for than the sequel to Poppies: Book One? Does not the very thought of it make your earlobes tingle and small toes twitch?
Forgive me, then, for dumping on your eager shoulders the dank and despondent news that Poppies: Book Two will not, in fact, be published this summer – nor, indeed, this year. Why? It’s a mystery. Some argue that there are ‘small teething problems’, whilst others claim that there is ‘no book at all’. Veers himself has been conspicuously quiet.
More on this later, perhaps.
In the meantime I am pleased, nay relieved, to be able to counter this saddening announcement with the information that Boris Yashmilye’s new novel is due at the end of July. There is a tendency amongst many of the writers I admire, as you may have noticed, to toss out books at the rate of one or two a decade, if that. Yashmilye is a blessed exception. His last novel, Out, Damned, was only published a couple of years ago (though it never found an English publisher, translations are readily available – or you may choose to read it in the original Bulgarian if you so desire). Hot on the heels of this, now, comes The Bastard, which, if the the frantic wasp of rumour is to be believed, is set to confirm Yashmilye’s triumphant return to form (his second and third novels, you may recall, were largely disappointing).
More on this when more there is.