Powered by Three Percent
for the week of
July 05, 2011

This week’s book, In Red by Magdalena Tulli takes place in the town of Stitchings in a fictional, and somewhat magical, fourth partition of Poland. With an ever-shifting yet reliable ensemble cast of its citizens and its objects, the book reveals through multiple interwoven narratives the unceasing and unrelenting life of a town in its entirety. War rages, bombs fall, people die, but Stitchings must go on.

Miniature in size, and coming in at less than 160 half-sized pages, In Red should not be overlooked. We chose this book precisely for the compact strength Tulli employs in activating language and her enthralling power to quickly induce a vision of a truly fantastic world. This translation by Bill Johnston showcases Tulli’s mastery of metaphor and the measured control of her prose.

This book marks the beginning of Tulli’s transition into a more narrative style of writing. Her first book Dreams and Stones, which won Poland’s Koscielski award for promising writers under forty, has been described by Johnston, her primary translator, as more of a prose poem than a novel. Her latest work, Flaw, already shows her developing a more linear narrative. In Red strikes somewhere in between the two, making for a delightfully surprising read throughout.

In the advanced preview of the book in which you will be brought into Stitchings (via sled) and shown around, and meet the first few characters, the handsome heir to a porcelain factory, a lovesick insomniac, and a girl who does not stop even when her heart does. But don’t get too attached.

In Red
Magdalena Tulli
On Sale: September 13, 2011
Translated by Bill Johnston
Archipelago Bookos

Past Read This Next Features
Every week, Read This Next previews a forthcoming work of literature, offering interested readers an opportunity to check out great new books before they're available anywhere else.

Read This Next is powered by Three Percent, a literary weblog from the University of Rochester dedicated to the promotion of international literature.