From the International Booker Prize-winning translator and Women's Prize finalist, an utterly beguiling novel about eight translators and their search for a world-renowned author who goes missing in a primeval Polish forest.
Eight translators arrive at a house in a primeval Polish forest on the border of Belarus. It belongs to the world-renowned author Irena Rey, and they are there to translate her magnum opus, Gray Eminence. But within days of their arrival, Irena disappears without a trace.
The translators, who hail from eight different countries but share the same reverence for their beloved author, begin to investigate where she may have gone while proceeding with work on her masterpiece. They explore this ancient wooded refuge with its intoxicating slime molds and lichens and study her exotic belongings and layered texts for clues. But doing so reveals secrets-and deceptions-of Irena Rey's that they are utterly unprepared for. Forced to face their differences as they grow increasingly paranoid in this fever dream of isolation and obsession, soon the translators are tangled up in a web of rivalries and desire, threatening not only their work but the fate of their beloved author herself.
This hilarious, thought-provoking debut novel is a brilliant examination of art, celebrity, the natural world, and the power of language. It is an unforgettable, unputdownable adventure with a small but global cast of characters shaken by the shocks of love, destruction, and creation in one of Europe's last great wildernesses.
“Croft serves up a wickedly funny mystery involving an internationally famous author and her translators . . . .This is a blast.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Croft . . . makes for a wickedly funny satirist when it comes to some of the more obsequious behaviors involved in the translator-author relationship. At the same time-even in the midst of a joke-she writes profoundly about the philosophical stakes of translation.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A wild and wonderfully unruly novel about translation and transmission, The Extinction of Irena Rey is a showcase for Jennifer Croft's acrobatic intellect, delicious humor and voluptuous prose.” —Katie Kitamura, author of INTIMACIES
“The Extinction of Irena Rey could only be written by master of language, a tamer of different tongues. It is brilliant, fun and absolutely alive.” —Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of CHAIN GANG ALL STARS
“Mischievous and intellectually provocative, The Extinction of Irena Rey asks thrilling questions about the wilderness of language, the life of the forest, and the feral ambitions and failings of artists.” —Megha Majumdar, author of A BURNING
“Generous and strange, funny and disconcerting, The Extinction of Irena Rey is a playground for the mind and an entrancing celebration of the sociality of reading, writing, and translation written by a master practitioner of all three.
” —Alexandra Kleeman, author of SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
“In The Extinction of Irena Rey, Jennifer Croft mines the complexity of translation, adoration, and symbiosis. At once a meditation on the networks required to bring literature to worldwide readers and a page-turner about the inevitable fallibilities of those systems, Extinction's push and pull is both thought-provoking and thrilling. I was rapt.” —Emily Nemens, author of THE CACTUS LEAGUE
“Croft writes with an extraordinary intensity.” —Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel Prize-winning author of FLIGHTS and DRIVE YOUR PLOW OVER THE BONES OF THE DEAD
“An exquisite pleasure. Croft unearths the interconnection between land and communities, revealing the collaborative networks of forests as clearly and incisively as she does that of the literary world. In this exquisite pleasure of a novel, in which I luxuriated on every page, Croft mines the vicissitudes of the translation world to reveal quite plainly that everything is connected, and translators deserve more.” —Chelsea T. Hicks, author of A CALM & NORMAL HEART
“Homesick, is . . . boundary-pushing, or boundary-expanding . . . a translator's Bildungsroman, one in which art is first a beacon, then a home.” —NPR on HOMESICK
“Every page of this stunning and surprising book turns words around and around.” —The New York Times on HOMESICK
“Croft moves quickly between powerful scenes that made me think about my own sisters. I love how the language displays a child's consciousness. A haunting accomplishment.” —Kali Fajardo-Anstine, author of SABRINA & CORINA and WOMAN OF LIGHT on HOMESICK