Dry Season
2017 Longlist

Dry Season

Translated from the original Slovene by Rawley Grau
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Dry Season breaks the mould of what we usually expect from a writer from a small, Central European nation. With a global perspective, Babnik takes on the themes of racism, the role of women in modern society and the loneliness of the human condition.

Dry Season is a record of an unusual love affair. Anna is a 62-year-old designer from Slovenia and Ismael is a 27-year-old from Burkino Faso who was brought up on the street, where he was often the victim of abuse. What unites them is the loneliness of their bodies, a tragic childhood and the dry hamartan season, during which neither nature nor love is able to flourish. She soon realizes that the emptiness between them is not really caused by their skin colour and age difference, but predominantly by her belonging to the Western culture in which she has lost or abandoned all the preordained roles of daughter, wife and mother. Sex does not outstrip the loneliness and repressed secrets from the past surface into a world she sees as much crueller and, at the same time, more innocent than her own.

Cleverly written as an alternating narrative of both sides in the relationship, the novel is interlaced with magic realism.

 

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Gabriela
Babnik

Gabriela Babnik was born in 1979 in Germany. She regularly contributes articles to all the major daily and weekly publications in Slovenia. In 2005, Babnik graduated in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Ljubljana. Her first novel Koža iz bombaža (Cotton Skin) was published in 2007 and was awarded the Best Debut Novel by the Union of Slovenian Publishers at the Slovenian Book Fair. In 2009, her second novel V visoki travi (In the Tall Grass) was published and shortlisted for the Kresnik Award. Babnik lives with her family in Ljubljana.

Gabriela Babnik was born in 1979 in Germany. She regularly contributes articles to all the major daily and weekly publications in Slovenia. In 2005, Babnik graduated in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Ljubljana. Her first novel Koža iz bombaža (Cotton Skin) was published in 2007 and was awarded the Best Debut Novel by the Union of Slovenian Publishers at the Slovenian Book Fair. In 2009, her second novel V visoki travi (In the Tall Grass) was published and shortlisted for the Kresnik Award. Babnik lives with her family in Ljubljana.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Rawley
Grau

Rawley Grau is originally from Baltimore, USA and has lived in Ljubljana since 2001. His translations from Slovene include the novels Biljard v Dobrayu (Billiards at the Hotel Dobray) and Panorama, both by Dušan Šarotar; the novel Kronosova žetev (The Harvest of Chronos) and the short-prose collection Fragma, both by Mojca Kumerdej; the novels Sušna doba (Dry Season) by Gabriela Babnik and Sukub (The Succubus) by Vlado Žabot (the latter co-translated with Nikolai Jeffs); the short fiction collection Družinske parabole (Family Parables), by Boris Pintar; and the essay collection The Hidden Handshake by Aleš Debeljak. He has also translated two plays – Ivan Cankar’s Pohujšanje v dolini šentflorjanski (Scandal in St. Florian’s Valley) and Slavko Grum’s Dogodek v mestu Gogi (An Event in the Town of Goga, co-translated with Nikolai Jeffs) – as well as poetry by Tomaž Šalamun, Miljana Cunta, Miklavž Komelj, Janez Ramoveš, Andrej Rozman Roza, and others. From Russian, he has translated a collection of poems and letters by Yevgeny Baratynsky, A Science Not for the Earth, for which he was awarded the 2016 prize for Best Scholarly Translation from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages (AATSEEL). In 2017, his translation of Dušan Šarotar’s Panorama was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.

Rawley Grau is originally from Baltimore, USA and has lived in Ljubljana since 2001. His translations from Slovene include the novels Biljard v Dobrayu (Billiards at the Hotel Dobray) and Panorama, both by Dušan Šarotar; the novel Kronosova žetev (The Harvest of Chronos) and the short-prose collection Fragma, both by Mojca Kumerdej; the novels Sušna doba (Dry Season) by Gabriela Babnik and Sukub (The Succubus) by Vlado Žabot (the latter co-translated with Nikolai Jeffs); the short fiction collection Družinske parabole (Family Parables), by Boris Pintar; and the essay collection The Hidden Handshake by Aleš Debeljak. He has also translated two plays – Ivan Cankar’s Pohujšanje v dolini šentflorjanski (Scandal in St. Florian’s Valley) and Slavko Grum’s Dogodek v mestu Gogi (An Event in the Town of Goga, co-translated with Nikolai Jeffs) – as well as poetry by Tomaž Šalamun, Miljana Cunta, Miklavž Komelj, Janez Ramoveš, Andrej Rozman Roza, and others. From Russian, he has translated a collection of poems and letters by Yevgeny Baratynsky, A Science Not for the Earth, for which he was awarded the 2016 prize for Best Scholarly Translation from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages (AATSEEL). In 2017, his translation of Dušan Šarotar’s Panorama was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Dry Season is a colourful tapestry, interwoven with elements of two different worlds, two completely different lives. It is much more than just a story of an unusual relationship between an older white women and a young African man, both burdened with post traumatic experiences. It is a mature, critical and inimitable writing with a global insight into the African society of today. Dry Seaason was the winner of the European Union Prize for Literature.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/01/2015
Country
Slovenia
Original Language
Slovenian
Publisher
Istros Books
Translator
Rawley Grau
Translation
Translated from the original Slovene by Rawley Grau

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