The Extinction of Irena Rey (Hardcover)

The Extinction of Irena Rey By Jennifer Croft Cover Image
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National Bestseller
Named a must read by NPR, People, Vanity Fair, Electric Literature, Nylon, Alta Journal, CrimeReads and Debutiful
Named a most anticipated book by Elle, The Millions, Bustle, Lit Hub, Dandelion Chandelier, Zibby Mag, Bookpage, and The Rumpus

“Oh my mushrooms, The Extinction of Irena Rey is incredibly strange, savvy, sly and hard to classify. I also couldn't put it down.” -The New York Times, Editors' Choice

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.

About the Author

Jennifer Croft won the Man Booker International Prize for her translation from Polish of Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk's Flights. She is the author of Homesick, a Saroyan Prize winner, and numerous pieces in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Paris Review Daily, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literary Studies from Northwestern University and an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa.

Praise For…

“Oh my mushrooms, The Extinction of Irena Rey is incredibly strange, savvy, sly and hard to classify. I also couldn't put it down . . . mad with plot and language and gorgeous prose, and the result is a bacchanal.” —The New York Times

The Extinction of Irena Rey surprised me at every turn, moving between profound observations about nature, art, and communication . . . and surreal and baffling happenings that push the characters into a kind of fever-dream reality. Croft has certainly added 'novelist' to the list of writing-related skills she excels at, and what a joy that is to witness.” —

“Croft subverts expectations with a blackly comic, fiercely inventive drama that explores the cult of celebrity and the art of translation (an art this critically acclaimed, award-winning translator has mastered).” —Washington Post

“As bewildering and beckoning as its cover, Jennifer Croft's locked-room mystery is something like Agatha Christie or Knives Out on mushrooms-ones not unlike those in the book itself.” —Elle

“Bizarre and brilliant . . . above all tremendous fun . . . The Extinction of Irena Rey teems with rabbit-hole delights at every turn right up to the delicious final twist.” —Wall Street Journal

“Absolutely bizarre in the best way, it's a fever dream of deception and desire.” —People Magazine

“Wild . . . joyous.” —Lauren Groff, Bustle

“Croft has constructed a canny exploration of how even English, despite its unique dominance, might be influenced by its brushes with the mysterious process that is translation.” —The Atlantic

“Translator Jennifer Croft sends up her vocation in this waggish literary mystery.” —Vanity Fair

“Deliciously twisty . . . I find it fascinating how Croft depicts the author-translator relationship as a kind of adversarial dialogue, with two people tussling to control the meaning of a text.” —Electric Lit

“Wrought in lively prose and complemented by a dazzling suite of meta-textual hijinks set to the beat of a mystery novel, The Extinction of Irena Rey is an empathetic and comic investigation of the role of the translator within the literary project.” —The Rumpus

“Croft spins such a seductive tale, it's impossible not to get sucked in.” —Bustle

“[A] fun house of a debut novel . . . [The Extinction of Irena Rey] becomes not just a literary thriller but an examination of the delicate mix of desire, impersonation, ambition, and selfishness that the art of literary translation requires.” —The New Republic

“Croft never misses a beat, drawing upon her translation background to deliver a juicy, bordering on absurd, intricate mediation on celebrity, communication, nature and the art of language.” —The Seattle Times

“Croft has reinvented ecofiction with this seductive, erudite, and terribly funny tale about 'book people.'” —World Literature Today

The Extinction of Irena Rey is bursting with energy and cleverness, Croft's abundant linguistic gifts and stimulating ideas on display” —New York Review of Books

The Extinction of Irena Rey complects and complicates the relationships between translation and border politics, art and nature, image and text, truth and myth. It is about not just the extinction of its demigod-like author, but, perhaps, all of us.” —Document Journal

“An interpersonal cacophony that crackles outward. . . a cleverly layered, multivocal novel that plays with our expectations of who is speaking and how meaning gets made in between authors, translators, and readers.” —Chicago Review of Books

“A great homage to the art of translation and the circulatory system of language.” —Charlottesville Daily Progress

“A fascinating exploration of art, celebrity, jealousy, and the wonders of nature.” —AudioFile Magazine

“An astute take on human communication and the perils of the planet, embedded in a crafty detective mystery.” —On the Seawall

“A dizzying novel . . . Croft's sense of humor and her finely drawn characters combine with her gift for depicting the beautiful but forbidding Bialowieza Forest to make The Extinction of Irena Rey a grand entertainment. This is a serious novel, but at the same time, one that doesn't take itself too seriously.” —Alta Journal

The Extinction puts translators first, and with humor and grace explores art, celebrity, and the power of language.” —Lit Hub

“Jennifer Croft is the renowned translator of Olga Tokarczuk and this debut takes full advantage of her background in the best way possible.” —CrimeReads

“Croft serves up a wickedly funny mystery involving an internationally famous author and her translators . . . This is a blast.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“[The Extinction of Irena Rey] is a metatextual feast that will keep readers wondering even after the book concludes.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Delightfully wry.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“Croft's exquisite facility with language is on full display throughout, both in wordplay and in evocative descriptions, particularly of place.” —

“An incisive literary novel that troubles the divide between art, its interpretation, and real life.” —Foreword Reviews, 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 remarkable 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

Product Details
ISBN: 9781639731701
ISBN-10: 1639731709
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English