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Eugene Ostashevsky


Eugene Ostashevsky has lately been the author of The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi and the translator of The Fire Horse Horse : Children’s Poems by Mayakovsky, Mandelstam and Kharms, both out from NYRB. The Pirate is a poem-novel about the relationship between a pirate and a parrot who, after capturing a certain quantity of prizes, are shipwrecked on a deserted island, where they proceed to discuss whether they would have been able to communicate with people indigenous to the island, had there been any. Characterized by multilingual punning, humor puerile and set-theoretical, philosophical irony and narrative handicaps, Eugene Ostashevsky’s new large-scale project draws on sources as various as early modern texts about pirates and animal intelligence, old-school hip-hop, and game theory to pursue the themes of emigration, incomprehension, untranslatability, and the otherness of others.