Seeing Further

Esther Kinsky

Translated by Caroline Schmidt

French paperback with flaps, 224 pages
Published 29 August 2024

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While travelling through the Great Alföld, the vast plain in south-eastern Hungary, Esther Kinsky stops in a small town near the Romanian border. Like many other things, the cinema, ‘mozi’ in Hungarian, has long since closed. Entranced by the decaying mozi, she soon embarks on the colossal task of reviving it, compelled by the irresistible magic of the cinema, a site rooted in ritual that is steadily disappearing. Beautifully translated by Caroline Schmidt, Seeing Further is a powerfully eloquent declaration of love to the cinema and the collective experience of watching by Esther Kinsky, one of Germany’s most important contemporary writers.

‘Esther Kinsky has created a literary oeuvre of impressive stylistic brilliance, thematic diversity and stubborn originality.’
— Kleist Prize jury

Praise for Rombo

‘Esther Kinsky has more eyes than most; in her novel Rombo she evokes the entire life of an Italian village before, during, and after the two devastating earthquakes of 1976, but each plant and animal central to the village is also a character, and the most important character of all is the landscape itself. The book becomes as much about the futures as the past, for our natural disasters are increasingly man-made, and we need more than ever this reminder of universal impermanence and the marks of memory we leave in its wake.’
— Mary Ruefle, author of Madness, Rack, and Honey

‘A tragic travelogue to the underworld-turned-world that recasts a newly lost Italian past with a climate-wise chorus straight out of the most harrowing Greek drama.’
— Joshua Cohen, author of The Netanyahus

‘In Esther Kinsky’s new novel, language becomes the highest form of compassion and solidarity – not only with us human beings, but with the whole world, organic, non-organic, speaking out with many mouths and living voices. A miracle of a book; should be shining when it gets dark.’
— Maria Stepanova, author of In Memory of Memory

Praise for Grove

‘What makes Grove so noteworthy is the keening, perfectly weighted clarity of Esther Kinsky’s prose; Caroline Schmidt’s elegantly considered translation is meticulous but never overstated.’
— Lucy Scholes, Financial Times

‘This is a sublime book, born of profound, empathetic understanding.’
— Declan O’Driscoll, Irish Times

Praise for River

River is an unusual and stealthy sort of book in that it’s the opposite of what it appears to be – which is a rather apt dissimulation, as it turns out. Yes, it rifles through both the rich and rank materials of the world, turning over its trinkets and its tat, in a manner that is initially quite familiar – however, this curious inventory demonstrates an eye for the grotesque and does not hold the world aloft, or in place. Here, details blur boundaries rather than reaffirming them, positing a worldview that is haunted and uncanny. Shifting through unremarkable terrain we encounter the departed, the exiled, the underneath, the other side. We are on firm ground, always; yet whether that ground is here or there, now or then, is, increasingly, a distinction that is difficult and perhaps irrelevant to make. Sea or sky, boy or girl, east or west, king or vagrant, silt or gold; by turns grubby, theatrical, and exquisite, we are closer to the realm of Bakhtin’s carnival than we are to the well-trod paths of psychogeography. Kinsky’s River does indeed force us to stop in our tracks and take in the opposite side.’
— Claire-Louise Bennett, author of Pond

‘Our narrator is an ambulant consciousness open to stimulus, like a video recorder left running. She’s not searching for anything. She’s just there, enduring in the company of rust, moss, dirt, cracks, puddles, half-dead grass, rubbish, wire, random bricks, concrete without purpose, the blackened ground from past bonfires, holes, fragments of fabric, plastic toys, weeds, saplings and dead animals…. [River’s] main subject is the sense of materiality, and its complement, light, that accompanies the narrator from her childhood on the Rhine through sojourns in other riparians homes-from-home, on the St Lawrence in Canada, on the Vistula in Poland…. The form of River mirrors its content; its consciousness flows with a sense that, like water to the sea, it will one day lose itself. It is appropriately, seamlessly translated by Iain Galbraith.’
— Lesley Chamberlain, Times Literary Supplement

‘Rich in atmosphere, River meanders like its liquid locales … Iain Galbraith, who has also translated Sebald, gives River, and all its “lumber of cumbersome jetsam”, a special English poetry of grunge and grime.’

‘A magnificent novel.’
New Yorker

‘Esther Kinsky’s unnamed narrator observes and remembers, piling up beautiful, silt-like layers of description and memory until it becomes difficult to know which is which…. This is a book to relish for its precise descriptions of landscape and weather, for its interest in the detritus of other people’s lives that we routinely overlook, and for its international reach as well as its localized intensities, all wonderfully evoked in Iain Galbraith’s translation.’
— Jonathan Gibbs, Guardian

‘A minor-key masterpiece. Iain Galbraith’s English translation is note-perfect.’
— Jacob Silkstone, Asymptote

Esther Kinsky grew up by the river Rhine and lived in London for twelve years. She is the author of six volumes of poetry, five novels (Summer ResortBanatskoRiverGroveRombo), numerous essays on language, poetry and translation and three children’s books. She has translated many notable English (John Clare, Henry David Thoreau, Iain Sinclair) and Polish (Joanna Bator, Miron Białoszewski, Magdalena Tulli) authors into German. Both River and Grove won numerous literary prizes in Germany. Seeing Further is her fourth book published by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Caroline Schmidt was born in Princeton. She translated Esther Kinsky’s novels Rombo and Grove, which was shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize, and has translated poetry by Friederike Mayröcker, and art historical essays, museum catalogues and exhibition texts for Albertina in Vienna and Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, among others. She lives in Berlin.