Rūdolfs Blaumanis’s short story masterpiece, based on a contemporary newspaper account, tells of several fishermen lost at sea after the ice floe on which they work calves off and drifts away rapidly. One by one, the thirteen men and a boy must deal with the creeping reality that they may not see the mainland – or their loved ones – again. There is fish to eat, and two horses if necessary, but the very surface of the floe is eroding steadily … and the nights are cold and terrible. Without ever moralising or over-elaborating, Blaumanis coolly and efficiently observes the state of each of the main characters in turn, whether natural leaders, optimists, craven opportunists, terrified, stoic, compassionate or alienated. In the shadow of encroaching death, each must come to some kind of reckoning.
Rūdolfs Karlis Leonids Blaumanis one of Latvia’s greatest writers, is noted especially for his numerous short stories and plays, and for his command of literary realism. He began writing in his twenties. Energised by the social issues of the day, he honed a deep sympathy for the lives of ordinary Latvians. A newspaper editor as well as a celebrated author, he helped raise the standards of written Latvian and inspired a new generation of Latvian writers.
Uldis Balodis was born in Sweden but grew up in Arizona, a descendant of the World War Two Latvian refugee community in the United States, and is a native speaker of Latvian and English. He has studied over thirty languages, including Navajo, Sanskrit and S mi, and holds a PhD in Linguistics with a special interest in endangered and less-spoken languages. His forthcoming translations include Zigmunds Skujins’s novel Nakedness and Trillium, the first-ever anthology of poetry in English and Livonian, for which he was a contributing translator.
ISBN 9781911475361 – Paperback – 110mm x 140 mm – 64 pages – £2.99