Travel publisher Blue Guides is launching a new imprint called Blue Danube, releasing central European literature in translation.
Launching in May, Blue Danube will cover travelogues, history, memoirs and fiction.
The imprint launches with two volumes from Miklós Bánffy (1873-1950), the aristocratic novelist from one of Hungary’s most noble families, best known for his Transylvanian Trilogy and sometimes referred to as the “Tolstoy of Transylvania”. The Remarkable Mrs Anderson is a fast-paced crime story and light-hearted romantic comedy, set against a backdrop of Mediterranean scenery and fascist menace in Italy and Hungary between the wars. It follows reporter Milla Anderson as she investigates the theft of a priceless Leonardo artwork from the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts. Second on the list is The Monkey and Other Stories, which includes a tale of an idle young man dawdling pleasantly in Venice and the story of a Romanian villager meditating revenge on his tormentor.
The translations, by Thomas Sneddon, have been given the seal of approval from Thomas Barcsay, a Canadian history professor and great-nephew of Bánffy. Barcsay has also contributed a biographical afterword about the life and times of his great-uncle, for The Remarkable Mrs Anderson.
Annabel Barber, series editor, commented: “We know from the success of the Blue Guides over the decades that there is a big readership for whom central Europe holds a special place in their heart. I speak from experience, as I myself fell in love with Budapest when I arrived here 20 years ago, and never left! The literature from the region is incredibly rich and surrounded in an aura of mystique. So, I’m really delighted to be sharing with a wider audience some of the fantastic writers from the region. I’m really looking forward to bringing more undiscovered gems to an English-speaking audience, and I can’t think of a better way to kick off than with Miklós Bánffy.”
Blue Guides have been in existence since 1918, and its books include in-depth background on culture, history, art, architecture and even archaeology, with bestselling titles including Blue Guide Rome and Blue Guide Sicily. Lifetime sales for the guides have exceeded two million copies, according to the publisher.