Pica Pica Press and Frank Kruk Make Their Debut Together

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Pica Pica Press announces the release of the first English translation of a classic of Lithuanian literature, Petras Cvrika's satrical novel Frank Kruk. In the novel, Cvirka takes aim at the immigrant experience and the American quest for power and money; this book also marks the debut of Pica Pica Press, devoted to bringing Lithuanian books to an English-speaking audience.

From Pica Pica Press: First published in 1934, Petras Cvirka’s merry tale Frank Kruk presents the story of an American immigrant from Lithuania, Pranas Krukelis, and his transformation into Frank Kruk, the proprietor of a Brooklyn funeral parlor. Although Cvirka had never been to America, his novel is remarkably perspicacious despite its minor accuracies, and many of the issues it touches on, including mortgage and insurance fraud, collusion, income inequality, and the pursuit of the almighty dollar, remain relevant yet today. Thirty years before Jessica Mitford, Cvirka’s book raised a firestorm among Lithuanian-American undertakers, prompting Cvirka to write, “Many undertakers completely misunderstand my good intentions. It seems I composed a kind of advertisement for them, the best I could. I praised the coffins, their business abilities, and described them as patriots, too.”

Petras Cvirka (1909-1947) is a Lithuanian writer whose tangled legacy forms a metaphor for all the paradoxes and complexities of the Soviet era in Eastern Europe. He falls into the category of writers whose talents and idealism you can't deny, but whose active involvement in supporting the Bolsheviks mars his current reputation. He was widely lionized during the Soviet era: there was the postage stamp issued in his honor, a documentary film, several monographs, a 10-volume collection of his works, and numerous translations into languages all over the Soviet Union. This is his first major work to be translated into English.

A biography of the translator, Elizabeth Novickas, and a short excerpt from the work can be found at https://www.arts.gov/writers-corner/bio/elizabeth-novickas

The translation of this work, which was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, marks the debut of a new publisher, Pica Pica Press, devoted to bringing the literatures of Lithuania to an English-speaking audience. Find out more about it at http://www.picapica.press.

ISBN 978-0-9966304-0-5

For interviews or signings, contact Elizabeth Novickas
Telephone: (708) 957-7488
email: enovickas(at)gmail(dot)com

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Dalia Cidzikaite

Elizabeth Novickas
Pica Pica Press
since: 08/2015
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