Splithead
2013 Longlist

Splithead

Translated from the original German by Tess Lewis
artwork-image

ABOUT
THE BOOK

‘My father and I head towards a nervous breakdown as he attempts to erase three years of Communist indoctrination in the course of a single evening. I simply cannot comprehend that Lenin, the friend of all children, is now allegedly an arsehole.’

When seven-year-old Mischka and her family flee the oppressive USSR for the freedom of Vienna, her world seems to divide neatly in two: there’s life as she knew it before, and life as she must relearn it now. But even as she’s busy dressing her new Barbie, perfecting her German and gorging on fresh fruit, Mischka is aware that there’s part of her that can never escape her homeland, with its terrifying folktales, its insidious anti-Semitism and its old family secrets. As her parents’ marriage splinters and her sister retreats into silence, Mischka has to find her own way of living when her head and her heart are in two places at once.

There is darkness galore in this novel. But there is also much comedy to be had in its twisted enchanted tales. It is as seductive and unsettling as similar work by Angela Carter or Margaret Atwood, while it shares a geography with Everything Is Illuminated and If I Told You Once.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Julya
Rabinowich

Born in St Petersburg in the early 1970s, Julya Rabinowich moved to Vienna with her parents in 1977 and has lived there ever since. She is a critically acclaimed playwright and Splithead is her first novel.

Born in St Petersburg in the early 1970s, Julya Rabinowich moved to Vienna with her parents in 1977 and has lived there ever since. She is a critically acclaimed playwright and Splithead is her first novel.

ABOUT
THE TRANSLATOR Tess
Lewis

Tess Lewis is a writer and translator from French and German. Her translations include works by Christine Angot, Philippe Jaccottet, and Peter Handke. Her recent awards include the 2017 PEN Translation Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee and an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review.

Tess Lewis is a writer and translator from French and German. Her translations include works by Christine Angot, Philippe Jaccottet, and Peter Handke. Her recent awards include the 2017 PEN Translation Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She is co-chair of the PEN America Translation Committee and an Advisory Editor for The Hudson Review.

NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS

Julya Rabinowich’s debut novel Splithead, won the prestigious Rauriser Literature Prize. Mischka, born in St. Petersburg in 1970, emigrated at the age of seven with her parents to Vienna, impressed by the myths of her childhood and the promises of the west she has to find her own way.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
01/01/2011
Country
Austria
Original Language
German
Publisher
Portobello Books Ltd.
Translator
Tess Lewis
Translation
Translated from the original German by Tess Lewis

RELATED FEATURES

Video May 8 2024

Alexis Wright – Praiseworthy Q&A

Q&A with Alexis Wright, one of the six shortlisted authors for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award in which she discusses her passion for libraries and explores the influences behind her novel Praiseworthy
Video May 8 2024

Mircea Cărtărescu – Solenoid Q&A

Q&A with Mircea Cărtărescu, one of the six shortlisted authors for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award for his novel Solenoid
Video May 8 2024

Emma Donoghue – Haven Q&A

Q&A with Emma Donoghue, one of the six shortlisted authors for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award for her novel Haven
Video May 8 2024

Suzette Mayr – The Sleeping Car Porter Q&A

Q&A with Suzette Mayr, one of the six shortlisted authors for the 2024 Dublin Literary Award for her novel The Sleeping Car Porter

STAY CONNECTED

Stay in touch and sign up to our newsletter to receive all the latest news and updates on the Dublin Literary Award.