Great Reviews for Grigory Kanovich's 'Devilspel'

It has been great to see the reviews coming in for Grigory Kanovich’s remarkable novel Devilspel which explores the Shoah through the eyes of the inhabitants of a small Lithuanian village.

The Irish Times commented that Devilspel was ‘Powerful, demanding and at times transcendent, the novel asks the reader to not only engage with the concept and experience of suffering, but to embrace it, and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome it. ‘

The Jerusalem Post called the novel ‘dramatic and heartbreaking’. Neville Teller went on to write that the novel was, ‘a remarkable literary work, [that] appeals to both heart and mind. For anyone who wants to understand how past generations of millions of today’s Jews spent their lives, it is required reading. ‘

‘Devilspel is horror with a light touch’ the Jewish Chronicle noted, while Dr Paul Socken wrote in the Jewish Telegraph that ‘If Shtetl Love Song is a paean to a lost world, Devilspel is, as the title suggests, a darker vision of that same world. It is as if the loss and the pain had been internalised.’ He added, ‘Shtetl Love Song and Devilspel will no doubt constitute an important part of the literary canon of eastern European and world literature and stand as a lasting legacy that readers everywhere will reflect on for generations.’

In Riveting Reads, the European Literature Network’s journal, Max Easterman wrote, ‘Devilspel is a vital and damning contribution to the understanding of what happened. Kanovich’s unfussy, matter-of-fact prose, interspersed with passages of great lyricism – all beautifully translated by Yisrael Cohen – only heightens the sense of fear and foreboding that fills the pages of this masterpiece.’

An Evening of Celebration of Grigory Kanovich

Noir Press, Spiro Ark and the Lithuanian Jewish Community warmly invite you to a wonderful night of celebration in London.

Musical & Literary Extravaganza * Wed 12 June * New London Synagogue * Celebration of GRIGORY KANOVICH * Performance by Rafailas Karpis & Darius Mazintas * Panel with Antony Polonsky, Faina Kukliansky & Kristina Sabaliauskaite Chair: Max Easterman Tickets

To book for this event:

https://www.spiroark.org/events/a-celebration-of-the-life-and-work-of-grigory-kanovich-in-his-90th-year-and-upon-the-uk-publication-of-devilspel/

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'Powerful, demanding and at times transcendent' - Irish Times Review for Devilspel

Its great to see the reviews coming in for Grigory Kanovich’s novel Devilspel. Becky Long in the Irish Times wrote that the novel was ‘powerful, demanding and at times transcendent’.

‘In the context of Kanovich’s wider works, Devilspel evokes and memorialises a community and a world that no longer exists. Powerful, demanding and at times transcendent, the novel asks the reader to not only engage with the concept and experience of suffering, but to embrace it, and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome it.’

Elsewhere, Max Easterman wrote for the European Literature Network, that Devilspel ‘is a chilling and devastating reminder of the destruction Nazi Germany wrought on the Litvaks,… Kanovich’s unfussy, matter-of-fact prose, interspersed with passages of great lyricism – all beautifully translated by Yisrael Cohen – only heightens the sense of fear and foreboding that fills the pages of this masterpiece.’

‘Devilspel is horror with a light touch’, Daniel Snowman write in The Jewish Chronicle, while Dr Paul Socken wrote in the Jewish Telegraph, ‘Shtetl Love Song and Devilspel will no doubt constitute an important part of the literary canon of eastern European and world literature and stand as a lasting legacy that readers everywhere will reflect on for generations.’

Bloggers have been praising the book too.

Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone felt, ‘there is a sense in which Devilspel feels very traditional in its telling – multiple characters with a narrator whose third person moves between them with ease; a kind of benign distance in the unfolding of tragedy – but there is a beauty in this delivery, an echo of stories already told, portents unheeded that need to be reiterated and strengthened so that we hear them clearly and hopefully don’t repeat them. ‘

Litvak Fiction – Jewish fiction from Lithuania

Launch party for Grigory Kanovich’s ‘Davilspel’ at Five Leaves book shop, Nottingham.

Tuesday 12th March at 7pm

Tomas Venclova called Grigory Kanovich, ‘the last link in the chain of Litvak fiction’. But what is Litvak fiction? And who is Tomas Venclova? The talk will be a brief survey of the eclectic treasure chest that characterises Jewish fiction from Lithuania – from one of the first novels written in Hebrew, to the twentieth century classics written in French, Yiddish, Russian and Lithuanian. And has Litvak fiction really hung up its boots and gone into retirement?

Devilspel - New Novel from Grigory Kanovich

We are delighted to announce that Gigory Knaovich’s novel ‘Devilspel’ will be published on the 12th March 2019.

Devilspel by Grigory Kanovich, the second of the leading Lithuanian author’s books to be published by independent press Noir and into English for the very first time, focuses in on the lives of the inhabitants of Mishkine from the point of view of multiple narrators. According to Mikhail Krutikov, Professor at the University of Michigan, Grigory Kanovich “is the only writer in the entire world capable of depicting the life of the pre-war Jewish shtetl [a small Jewish town or village] with the documentary precision of an immediate witness and the deep emotional passion of a lover mourning his loss. He survived the Holocaust almost by a miracle, and made it his mission to serve, against all odds, as a custodian of the collective memory of generations of Litvaks, Lithuanian Jews.”

The author, who turns 90 this year, is one of the most prominent living Jewish writers and winner of the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts for 2014. Kanovich’s works, translated into 14 languages, with over 1.5 million copies sold, form an epic Litvak Saga – a memorial and a requiem to a community now vanished. Since 1993, the writer, who is a member of PEN Club, has lived in Israel. Shtetl Love Song was published by Noir Press in 2017 and the play Smile Upon Us, Lord based on two of Kanovich’s novels, and which has been adapted by Rimas Tuminas for the stage will be screened across the UK in cinemas this month. “A comic, epic ‘Waiting for Jehovah’” – Guardian

Noir Press on Notts TV

Noir Press were delighted to have the opportunity to go on Notts TV to talk about our wonderful new book, 'The Last Day' by Lithuanian-Ukrainian writer Jaroslavas Melnikas.

Notts TV has a large local reach, and the 'Ey Up Notts' is one of their most popular features, airing in the prime 5:30 - 6:30 slot.

Devilspel by Grigory Kanovich

After the successful launch of 'Shtetl Love Song', rightly celebrated as a beautiful novelistic memoir of Grigory Kanovich's childhood in the Lithuanian shtetl of Jonava, Noir Press are delighted to be publishing another of Kanovich's novels.

Set in 1941, on the outbreak of war on the Eastern Front, 'Devilspel' is Grigory Kanovich's novel about tragic fate of Lithuania' Jewish community.

Devilspel will be published in Spring 2019.

'The Last Day' Launch at the Ukrainian Institute

The Ukrainian Institute in Holland Park, London, was the prestigious venue for the UK launch of the Ukrainian-Lithuanian writer Jaroslavas Melnikas' first book in English, 'The Last Day'.

After a short introduction from the Lithuanian Cultural Attached, Juste Kostikovaite, the evening was kicked off by director of the Ukrainian Institute, Marina Pesanti.

Jaroslavas Melnikas was in conversation with ex-BBC Ukraine journalist and writer Svitlana Pyrkalo.

Jaroslavas Melnikas at the Lowdham Book Festival

Jaroslavas Melnikas, award winning author of 'The Last Day' launched the collection of stories at this year's Lowdham Book Festival.

To a large audience, Melnikas spoke about the genesis of his stories and particularly how he came to write in Lithuanian, having gone to live in Lithuania when he met his wife.

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Melnikas told of how one critic called him ironically, 'The Son of Stalin'. In some ways, he explained, that was true. His parents were both exiled to Siberia during the repressive Soviet crack down on nationalists in the Ukraine after the Second World War. It was in the gulag that his parents met. Fatefully, if Stalin had not exiled them, Melnikas may not have come into the world. Fate places an important role in his writing.

Jam Cafe Launch of 'Shtetl Love Song'

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It was nice to get some more photos of the Jam Cafe launch from Nottingham photographer Kevin Davis. You can view his blog by clicking here.

It was also lovely to get a write up about the event from ace Nottingham book blogger Jade Moore.

So what the book Shtetl Love Song does is conserve the memory of the Jewish towns and of the world that existed before the war. It’s certainly opened my eyes, as before I read it I didn’t know what a ‘Shtetl’ was or that such a thing ever existed.
— Hey What's on Notts!