Miljenko Jergović, "Kin" (Translated by R. S. Valentino; Archipelago Books, 2021)


Kin by Miljenko Jergović (Archipelago Books, 2021) is a family story that covers more than a century; it takes readers to various geographical places and introduces them to a kaleidoscope of historical perturbations. The narrator seems to sincerely try to tell a truthful story, but acknowledges from the very beginning that it would probably be impossible to provide only true facts. Thus, the reader has no other choice than to rely on the narrator’s sincerity and make their way through the labyrinthine narrative in which everything seems to have its own story: places, objects, names, food, houses, etc. Gradually, the novel turns into an attempt to provide evidence for everything that the narrator seems to know and remember: family members and friends, wars and conflicts, marriages and adulteries, devotion and betrayal, happiness and despondency. The novel chapters resemble vignettes which lure the reader into a magical world in which nothing can be lost. In this interview, Russell Scott Valentino, translator of the novel, shares his insights about the novel and the translation journey through Miljenko Jergović’s family saga.

Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD student in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.

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Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed

Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a Preceptor in Ukrainian at the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University. She has a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures (Indiana University, 2022). She also holds a Ph.D. in American literature (Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2007). Her research interests include contested memory, with a focus on Ukraine and Russia. She is a review editor of H-Ukraine. Since 2016, she has been a host on the New Books Network (Ukrainian Studies, East European Studies, and Literary Studies channels).
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