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The Extinction of Irena Rey

Jennifer Croft

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English
Scribe Publications
01 March 2024
From the International Booker Prize-winning translator and Women's Prize finalist, a propulsive, beguiling novel about eight translators and their search for a world-renowned author who goes missing in a primeval Polish forest.

Eight translators arrive at a house in a forest on the border of Belarus. It belongs to the world-renowned author Irena Rey, and they are there to translate her magnum opus, Gray Eminence. But within days of their arrival, Irena disappears without a trace.

The translators, who hail from eight different countries but share the same reverence for their beloved author, begin to investigate where she may have gone while proceeding with work on her masterpiece. They explore this ancient wooded refuge with its intoxicating slime molds and lichens, and study her exotic belongings and layered texts for clues. But doing so reveals secrets - and deceptions - of Irena Rey's that they are utterly unprepared for. Forced to face their differences as they grow increasingly paranoid in this fever dream of isolation and obsession, soon the translators are tangled up in a web of rivalries and desire, threatening not only their work but the fate of their beloved author herself.

This hilarious, thought-provoking second outing by award-winning translator and author Jennifer Croft is a brilliant examination of art, celebrity, the natural world, and the power of language. It is an unforgettable, unputdownable adventure with a small but global cast of characters shaken by the shocks of love, destruction, and creation in one of Europe's last great wildernesses.

'A clever literary mystery unfolding within a labyrinth of unreliable narration and translation, it explores with wit and intricacy the ambiguities and contradictions of the translator's art. The author knows whereof she writes - Jennifer Croft is an award-winning translator - and her involuted literary quest should appeal to fans of Nabokov's Pale Fire or Bolano's The Savage Detectives.' -The Sydney Morning Herald, Fiction pick of the week

'It's to Croft's credit that she sustains her claustrophobic narrative so deftly, with plenty of plot twists. What ultimately makes this book such a pleasure, though, is the uniqueness of its perspective. Reading a translator translating a translator is a brain-twister like no other, and it can't fail to change the way you think about language.' -Carrie O'Grady, The Guardian

'The Extinction of Irena Rey playfully dismantles long-standing conceptions of literary translation ... Croft holds everything together with the aplomb of a more seasoned novelist.' -Alice Whitmore, Sydney Review of Books

By:  
Imprint:   Scribe Publications
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 233mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   400g
ISBN:   9781761380211
ISBN 10:   1761380214
Pages:   288
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jennifer Croft won a Guggenheim Fellowship for The Extinction of Irena Rey, and her memoir Homesick won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and was longlisted for the Women's Prize, while for her translation of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk's Flights won the International Booker Prize. She is the translator of Federico Falco's A Perfect Cemetery, Romina Paula's August, Pedro Mairal's The Woman from Uruguay, and Olga Tokarczuk's The Books of Jacob. She has also received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. She lives in Los Angeles.

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