Seeing People Off
a novel by
PRINT ISBN: 978-1-937512-59-0
RELEASE DATE: 5/9/2017
"Beňová is at her best when she's funny, and her sense of humor tends toward the dry and the dark. Seeing People Off is a fascinating novel. Fans of inward-looking postmodernists like Clarice Lispector will find much to admire here."
There is a liveliness and effervescence to Jana Beňová’s prose that is magnetic. Whether addressing the loneliness of relationships or the effectiveness of rat poison, her voice and observations call to mind the verve and sophistication of Renata Adler or Rosalyn Drexler, while remaining utterly singular.
Seeing People Off follows Elza and Ian, a young couple living in a humongous apartment complex outside Bratislava where the walls play music and talk, and time is immaterial.
Drawing on her memories, everyday interactions, observations of post-socialist realities, and Elza’s attraction to actor, Kalisto Tanzi, Seeing People Off is a kaleidoscopic, poetic, and deeply funny portrait of a relationship.
Seeing People Off by Jana Beňová (approximately) =
* In most cases, none of these writers endorse this book. Our math formulas are supposed to be amusing anecdotes, similar to shelf-talkers in bookstores that say "If you like X, you might enjoy Y," or "This Book is like Cormac McCarthy writing an episode of Saved by the Bell with a soundtrack by Philip Glass."
"Beňová’s short, fast novels are a revolution against normality. Unlike so many others, her novels not only claim to be a revolution but actually achieve this feat through their minimalist narratives that go against all conventions; in fact, Beňová manages to subtly and intelligently poke fun at conventional categorizations."
—Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF
"[Seeing People Off] must be read for a long time. It will be receiving awards, translated and made into a film, it will be put into anthologies. They will declare it as one of the most important works of new Slovak prose."
Jana Beňová is one of the most acclaimed Slovak authors, winner of the European Union Prize for Literature. She is a poet and novelist, author of the novels Seeing People Off, Get Off! Get Off!, Parker, and Honeymoon (forthcoming from Two Dollar Radio), as well as three collections of poems. Though her work has been widely translated throughout Europe, Seeing People Off is her first novel translated into English.
About the Translator
Janet Livingstone was born in Boston, Massachusetts and ventured to Czechoslovakia just after the 1989 Velvet Revolution. In total, she spent 15 years in Bratislava in Slovakia. In 2003, she began translating films and plays from Slovak to English and hasn’t looked back since. Among her full-length book translations are Master your Stage Fright by Slovak master violinist, Bohdan Warchal and Piata loď (working title: Boat Number Five) by novelist Monika Kompaníková. In addition to Jana Beňová, her current translation projects include the novels The Best of All Worlds by Slovak-Swiss author Irena Brežná and The Arab World—Another Planet? by Emire Khidayer. Janet lives in Seattle with her two children and also speaks French, Italian, Russian, Spanish and elementary Japanese to anyone who will listen.