Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has generously offered to send ten galley (pre-publication) copies of Filip Florian's Little Fingers to readers of Literary License. Little Fingers, Florian's first novel, was published in Romania in 2005 to wide acclaim and was awarded Best Debut Novel Award of the Romanian Writers Union, Best First Novel Award of Romania Literara, and Best Debut Novel Award of the National Union of Romanian Employers. Romania Literara calls Little Fingers the "strongest debut novel in Romanian literature of the past decade." On July 23rd, this remarkable novel will be available in English for the first time in a translation by Alistair Ian Blyth.
Book description: In a small mountain town in Romania, a mass grave is discovered in the vicinity of a Roman fort. Are the dead the victims of a medieval plague or, perhaps, of a communist firing squad? Why are there no bullets among the remains? And why are little fingerbones disappearing from the pit each night? Petrus, a young archaeologist, decides to do some investigating of his own.
Meanwhile, the Orthodox monk Onufrie stumbles from religious seclusion into history. A hermit in the mountains, he becomes the father-confessor of a partisan who is trying to bring down Ceausescu’s regime, one handmade grenade and one de-railed train at a time. Not to mention a team of Argentinean forensic anthropologists who arrive in town in a cloud of rock music, shredded jeans, and tequila.
Part García Márquez, part Eugène Ionesco, Little Fingers is a hilarious and moving debut novel about a little town and a big discovery.
If this sounds interesting to you, please e-mail me (litlicense AT gmail DOT com) with your name and address (no PO boxes) and the answer to the question (in no more than 200 words, please): "Which work in translation has had the most effect on you and why?" Undoubtedly, many of you will recognize this question as a slight modification of the question asked by the National Book Critics Circle recently and resulting in some interesting answers. Now's your chance to weigh in.
I'll select the ten winners at random from the qualifying entrants, and I'll also publish the most interesting answers in a future post. Sorry, but the quagmire that is international publishing rights limits this giveaway to those living in the U.S. or Canada.
(I'm about half-way through this slim novel and am enjoying it very much. It's quite unlike anything I've read before. Look for my review here at Literary License sometime later this month.)
Edited to note this giveaway has concluded. Thanks to everyone who participated!