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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for Too Great A Sky
Book cover for Too Great A Sky

The story of the deportation of Romanians from Bucovina, an exercise in historical memory which demonstrates how to maintain humanity in impossible conditions. A new novel from Liliana Corobca and her award-winning translator Monica Cure.

Ana is eleven when the Soviet soldiers send her from Bucovina, Romania, to Kazakhstan. She is just one of many forced to leave behind her home and make the three week long journey via train. The trip is a harsh, humiliating one, but in spite of the cold and the closeness of death, life persists in the boxcar in the form of story-telling, riddles, and ritual. Years later, Ana recalls her childhood for her great grand-daughter, who is considering moving her to a nursing home. Her story, told with unflinching candor, is a chronicle of a life lived during a time of great political and national change, a story of an existence defined and curtailed by lines drawn on a map.

The narration is interspersed with songs that transform into poems, and prayers spoken in the past that become prayers in the present. What links the narration is not so much a plot as it is the reader’s astonishment. How can Ana could survive such a series of experiences, and do so with her mind and heart intact? A history of cruelty and trauma lies behind the banal markers of contemporary life. These realizations combine in the central theme of the book, one which the narrator states as, “Stories bring you youth.”

Book cover for Too Great A Sky
Book cover for Too Great A Sky

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Liliana Corobca

LILIANA COROBCA was born in the Republic of Moldova. She made her debut with the novel Negrissimo (2003), winner of the ‘Prometheus’ Prize for debut awarded by the România literară magazine; the Prize for Prose Debut of the Republic of Moldova Writers’ Union and The Character in Inter‑war Romanian Novels (2003, translated into Italian and German). She is also the author of the novels A Year in Paradise (2005), Kinderland (2013, translated into German and Slovenian), which was a bestseller of Cartea Românească Publishing House at the Bookfest Book Fair 2013, a recipient of the Prize for Prose awarded by Radio România Cultural, and winner of the Crystal Prize at the International Festival in Vilenica, Slovenia, in 2014; and The Old Maids’ Empire (2015). She has also written a three-act monologue, Censorship for Beginners, published in 2014 in Austria. She has received grants and artists’residencies in Germany, Austria, France, and Poland.
 

Monica Cure

MONICA CURE is a Romanian-American writer, translator, and dialogue specialist, as well as a two-time Fulbright grant award winner. Her poetry and translations have been published in journals internationally, and she’s the author of the book Picturing the Postcard: A New Media Crisis at the Turn of the Century (University of Minnesota Press). Her translation of The Censor's Notebook was awarded with the 2023 Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. She is currently based in Bucharest.