I’m a big fan of Russian, Eastern and Central European literature (put those borders wherever you like) and it bothers me that in order to read as much as I would like of them I’d pretty much have to learn Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and all, as they’re not widely translated. Although, having said that, my joint-favourite publishers Pushkin and Hesperus Presses do a fine line in cross-curtain literature. But I am particularly gratified to see Central European writing published by Penguin, as it seems to signal a move towards the U.K. mainstream for these books.
Plus the covers are by gray318, who’s Jonathan Lethem covers are really nice, though I’m not 100% sure about these ones. It may be a bit too intentionally ‘quirky’, following along with the commonplace of Central/Eastern Europeans as the writers of almost self-consciously odd works.
You see how maltreated Capek has been in the past. I don’t know why publishers of books they deem to be obscure usually condemn them under such covers as these. As if to say, ‘no, I don’t know why anyone would read this’. And yet once you get past the covers the books are a revelation.
Anyway, to veer back towards the original subject, I want to read all of the Penguins, and more of the same.