Spring 2024: Recrudescence

Essential New Literature of Lesser-Known Languages of Europe

Recrudescence may strike you as an odd term to choose for a literary journal. A quick search can provide you with the following definition: “the recurrence of an undesirable condition.” While this might add to your confusion, what I love about this term is the echo that it makes with its original meaning: “becoming raw again.” What emerges between this dynamic of “undesirability” and “rawness” is the feeling that anyone has when starting afresh. As exciting and thrilling as newness can be, it places you in a position of vulnerability that no one truly seeks to be in. Pushing beyond this unsettling moment is what helps us grow; however, while in the midst of that growth, we choose how to react, adapt, and move forward.

There was no theme more fitting for Trafika Europe’s Spring 2024 issue as we continue to shed our former carapace to emerge into the future. Through looking at the project in this light, what has become clearer is that this concept resonates harmoniously with literature. Traditions are constantly being made, questioned, reformed, and replaced. Literature goes through phases, it grows, and it adapts. More importantly, authors and translators become raw again with every new work, replacing a former self with a new one despite any discomfort along the way.

We are excited to provide another amazing set of literature all fitting the concept of “Recrudescence” in different forms. We begin with two excerpts of children’s literature translated from Faroese. In the literal sense, children’s literature forms young minds and introduces new concepts. Author Dánial Hoydal and illustrator Annika Øyrabo present Strikurnar / The Lines, which depicts grieving a loss and how to move forward. Hilbert by Bárður Oskarsson, translated by Marita Thomsen, helps us learn to ask for help, particularly in uncomfortable situations with which we are unfamiliar.

Ukrainian author Halyna Petrosanyak’s “Mrs. Vogel Doesn’t Need a Visa”, translated by Jeff Kochan, tells of a couple divided by a border. As Zoriana attempts to move to Germany with her partner, she must take on a new identity to cross the border, reflecting the transformations that occur when traversing boundaries. Things to Do After My Death by Miklós Vámos, translated from the Hungarian by Ági Bori, follows Sanyi who spent time in jail after killing his father. Upon his release, he starts over with a new foundation that he built off of his past and experience in prison.

Catherine Hoffman in “Little Fluff” shows how sometimes the future relies on the past. She returns to her roots in Hungary and attempts to reconnect with a past that is physically far from Australia. The question of returning to our past—whether our own or our family’s—also arises in Rimas Uzgiri’s poems. He is a Lithuanian-American who now calls Vilnius his home. His poetry explores the impact of place and ideas of movement that can cause us to rethink our ways of life and our relationships with places over time.

Galician author Eva Moreda’s “Stitches”, translated by Lindsay Semel, transports us to Spain just prior to Franco’s seizing of power. It follows a group of girls at a religious boarding school who navigate coming to age in the midst of a drastic transition in their country’s government. Bulgarian author Yordan Yovkov also supplies us with a story about a society in flux. “Through the Plague”, translated by Teodora Gandeva, narrates how a small village gossips and then reacts to a new malady that suddenly shows up on their doorsteps in the midst of festivity.

We end this collection with our final use of the term “Recrudescence.” The Red Handler by Norwegian author Johan Harstad, translated by David Smith, completely puts into question the popular detective fiction genre as well as the writing process. As exemplified in the excerpt, Harstad creates boiled-down detective fiction accompanied by lengthy endnotes explaining authorial choice and interpretation. This work redefines a genre and shows how becoming raw, while uncomfortable, can produce greatness.

Accompanying these wonderful literary selections are photographs by the amazing Mark Chester. Each photo connects to the story and, thus, the theme. A special thanks goes to veteran Trafika Europe editor, Joe Williams, for his assistance on this issue. Check out www.trafikaeurope.org/trafika-europe-radio for a selection of amazing interviews with the authors and translators of this issue that will be released over the following weeks.

With that, I leave you to sit back and enjoy these works that will surely make you think in new, innovative ways.

Clayton McKee
Director
Trafika Europe

Acknowledgments

We’ve got a lot of people to thank for their help in this issue. Click here for a full list of collaborators and our gratitude.

Strikurnar / The Lines

Faroese and English by Dánial Hoydal, illustrated by Annika Øyrabo

ПАНІ ФОҐЕЛЬ ВІЗА НЕ ПОТРІБНА  / “Mrs. Vogel Doesn’t Need a Visa”

by Halyna Petrosanyak, translated from the Ukrainian by Jeff Kochan

Kurt probably did have a point, Ernst thought, as his BMW lost speed on the poorly lit Polish roadway that led to the Ukrainian border.

“Little Fluff”

by Catherine Hoffman

So, out the window, I now see, I must have come for this, the arms-open oak tree waiting golden outside the window of this 3rd-floor room. It stands aureate, a grand gold a-glimmer and mute, a botanic quirk.

“As Costuras” / “Stitches”

by Eva Moreda, translated from Galician by Lindsay Semel

We were all watching Sister Elvira Lecumberri on tiptoe from the window as she climbed up the steep path that led from Agromos, the village, to Polar, the school.

The Red Handler

by Johan Harstad, translated from the Norwegian by David Smith

Rain-soaked streets. One of the town’s lost souls flew past like a leaf in the wind.1 In the old Opel with Haugesund plates sat the Red Handler, private detective. He took a gulp from a flask etched with the words, To my dear husband.2

Hilbert

by Bárður Oskarsson, translated from the Faroese by Marita Thomsen

Teendők halálom után / Things To Do After My Death

by Miklós Vámos, translated from Hungarian by Ági Bori

His house was the last one on the street near the Csikós ploughland. He shoed horses in a small shed, tucked away in the corner of the backyard. He was Slovak, but people assumed he was a Gypsy, though the last name of his grandfather—Sanyi’s great-grandfather—was Kožicky.

Poems

by Rimas Uzgiris

The view
from the uppermost
castle-hill
breaks

onto a river valley,
and when the sun
is just right
there’s nothing like it

ПРЕЗ ЧУМАВОТО / “Through the Plague”

by Yordan Yovkov, translated from Bulgarian by Teodora Gandeva

But up front, by the church altar, there was an empty space. And there, in that place, a man appeared, young but blackened and dusty. His eyes, fixed on the bride, burned like coals, and he was swaying.

 

Meet the Photographer

https://www.markchesterphotography.com/

Mark Chester is a photographer based in Cape Cod Massachusetts. He has been a professional photographer since 1972. His photos are displayed in museums and galleries across the nation, including OK Harris and SoHo Photo in NYC, Camera Obscura, and the San Francisco Airport. At times, Chester publishes travel articles accompanied by his photographs. These works have been published in newspapers such as the LA Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and many more. Additionally, Chester has published various collections of essays and photography, one no less substantial than the other.

 

Roadshow Anthropology is Mark Chester’s most recent work published by the University of Massachusetts Press. In this book, Chester explores America from the driver’s seat. With over 251 stunning black-and-white photographs, he documents America’s spirit from its low to high cultures, commerce, style, architecture, and life. To check out his book, please go to https://www.umasspress.com/9781625347404/roadshow-anthropology/.

Trafika Europe