Focus on the indies – Peirene Press


Since I started reading book blogs more regularly I have been introduced to a number of interesting independent publishers. I now thought I should do my part and spread the word further, starting with my new favourite, Peirene Press.

Peirene Press focuses on short-format, maximum 200 pages, translated novels and memoirs by mostly European authors. As I prefer shorter novels and aim to read from as many countries as possible, they have been a perfect match. It doesn’t hurt that they are producing reasonably well-made and attractive soft-covers either.

Books I recommend from Peirene Press

I have enjoyed and would recommend all four books I have read from Peirene. However, I will focus on two of them, both dealing with life in the Soviet Union. The fact that I have a more relevant photo to illustrate these books than I do for the other two may or may not have influenced my choice…

Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena (translation by Margita Gailitis)

Soviet Milk is a Latvian novel following a mother and daughter whose relationship has been stunted by the mother’s depression. The novel is a beautiful portrait of their fragile relationship but also a broader commentary about the influence of oppressive regimes on ordinary lives.

Shadows on the Tundra by Dalia Grinkevičiūtė (translation by Delija Valiukenas)

If the previous novel didn’t sound bleak enough I can instead recommend the Lithuanian novel Shadows on the Tundra. It is a well-written memoir which follows then 14-year old Dalia Grinkevičiūtė and her mother and brother during their deportation to the Lena delta in north Siberia. It is a truly horrifying account of the complete disregard for human lives that these deportations involved, but it also a survival story and as such not entirely without hope.

Other books from Peirene Press

From Peirene I have also read and very much enjoyed Under the Tripoli Sky by Kamal Ben Hameda and Chasing the King of Hearts by Hanna Krall. Under the Tripoli Sky, describes a childhood in Tripoli during the 1960s and would be my recommendation if you want to try Peirene Press but want to avoid the heavier themes in some of their other novels.

Have you read any of these books, did you like them? Do you have any recommendations of other books I should read from Peirene Press or suggestions on other indie publishers I should try?

As usual this post has not been sponsored in any way.


13 thoughts on “Focus on the indies – Peirene Press

  1. one of the pleasure of blogging world is that you discover many new publishing houses and peirene is one of the best new publishing houses
    i read two books for peirene and would recommend it to you
    Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi which tells the story of disturbed single mother and her children ( French novel )
    and the other one
    White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen which tells the story of being poor and homeless in modern Europe ( Finnish novel )
    if i would recommend another publishing house for you

    and sorry for my long message and recommendations

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been planning to read White hunger but I prefer to read Nordic books in a Scandinavian language so I’m looking for a Swedish edition of that one. Beside the Sea is new to me, I’ll look into it, thank you for the recommendation.

      Great list of publishers, I’ll look into all of them! I have my first Pushkin Press volume in my TBR pile but the rest are new to me, thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Looking forward to read your reviews my friend and I hope you discover Archipelago books and Europa Editions first they both are close to my heart and you are welcome


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.