Monday, May 30, 2011

Istrati, on the Docks

The latest piece by Panait Istrati to appear on the usual bookselling sites is "On the Docks in Brăila," a translation of Istrati's 1929 novella "Dans les docks de Braïla." The novella, whose young hero is an apprentice in a metalworking workshop on the Danube, is thematically similar to The Thüringer House.

In the interests of transparency, it is perhaps necessary for us to acknowledge that the cover image is not entirely authentic. It does not show the grain-shipping port of Brăila at the dawn of the twentieth century, when the young hero of Istrati's novella was taking up his apprenticeship on the docks. It shows, rather, another grain-shipping port, it too on a great river, an estuary, but in another hemisphere and nearly one hundred years later.

It will of course be our pleasure to identify the port in question--if we haven't already given it away--to anyone whose curiosity prompts him or her to ask us.