Virtual Event: Serge Pey's "Treasure of the Spanish Civil War," with Donald Nicholson-Smith and Caleb Crain

June 23, 2020, 7:30 PM

Join us for a virtual conversation around Serge Pey's Treasure of the Spanish Civil War, with translator Donald Nicholson-Smith and Caleb Crain. This program will take place on Zoom. Register here:

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Serge Pey’s stories take the form of vignettes from the lives of Spanish Civil War refugees and their children, who fled on foot from Catalonia to Southern France through the Pyrenees, only to be interned in French prison camps upon their arrival. The collection is made up by a series of surreal glimpses from the perspective of political refugees, many of them children. Through their eyes, we see the secret language of resistance: codes in clothes lines, hidden libraries of banned books, cherry trees named for assassinated comrades.

Pey ignites a brutal landscape with rare, rapt attention, the kind of engrossment that can deliver us to a new comprehension. Myth and superstition take hold in stories that range from a boy’s conspiratorial relationship with his grandmother and remembrances of outdoor movie watching to terrifying accounts of violence, confinement, and escape. In The Treasure of the Spanish Civil War, immigrants reclaim their silenced histories, which read as disturbing precursors to the oppressive borders of today.

DONALD NICHOLSON-SMITH was born in Manchester, England and is a longtime resident of New York City. His translations, ranging from psychoanalysis and social criticism to crime fiction, include works by Thierry Jonquet, Guy Debord, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Henri Lefebvre, Raoul Vaneigem, Antonin Artaud, Jean Laplanche, and J.B. Pontalis. His translation of Apollinaire's Letters to Madeleine was shortlisted for the 2012 French-American Foundation Prize for Nonfiction and in 2014 he won the Foundation's Fiction Prize for his translation of Jean-Patrick Manchette's The Mad and the Bad. His translation of In Praise of Defeat by Abdellatif Laâbi was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2017.

CALEB CRAIN has written for The New YorkerHarper'sthe Paris ReviewThe AtlanticThe New York Review of Booksn+1, and The New York Times Book Review. He is the author of the novels Overthrow and Necessary Errors and the critical work American Sympathy. He was born in Texas, raised in Massachusetts, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.