Monday, October 19, 2009

One Book You Must Read Before You Die

Welcome to the blog for the English-language translation of Czech author Jáchym Topol's unparalleled debut novel, City Sister Silver. For the moment, as you can see, the blog exists mainly to serve as a place for me to post links having to do with the book. In time that may change; it may also not.


  1. One of my all-time favorite novels.

  2. Reading this is going to be very fun.

    Alex - you said something in the otherwise brilliant interview with Radio Prague that made me choke on my Cheerios. You said, in essence, "I chose the new title (and Topol likes it) because in English, the word 'sister' doesn't also mean 'nurse' and 'nun', like it does in Czech."

    Huh? I don't know where you growed up, but the word 'sister' was pretty universal for nuns in the Catholic schools in the northeast of the U.S., where I am from. And 'sister' was a little affected - maybe kind of trans-Atlantic - for nurse, but it was certainly familiar.

    That said, your new title is assonantly lovely. I'm glad that Mr Topol likes it.

    - David S., Menlo Park, Calif.

  3. Dear David: I was speaking in shorthand. Of course "sister" does mean those things in English too, but the association is much less immediate than in Czech. *Most* English speakers do not think of "nurse" right away when they read the word "sister." I for one certainly don't. More important than either of those, ultimately, was the strong association "sister" has, especially in the United States, with African-American culture. Both the publisher and I wanted to make sure Topol's novel wasn't mistakenly filed by unknowing booksellers in the wrong section.