The European Review of Books arrives in May, in print and online.
Carry it.
A book-length print magazine, with a novel design we can only describe as four-dimensional.
Get lost in it.
A joy to read online, ​both ​in ​English ​and ​in ​a ​writer's ​mother ​tongue.
Read it twice.
Great essays can resonate in more than one voice.
Books? Review? Europe?
A European Review of Books would sound thrice-doomed. And yet here we are.
Books. And art, poetry, music, film, theater, architecture, politics, ideas, jokes (The European Review of Untranslatable Jokes), come what may. We hold books aloft as a capsule, a human record, a sustained endeavor aimed at both the present and the future. Crises come and go but you can always throw a book at someone.
Review. The review is all too often reduced to decoration, entertainment, tip – a sad miniature of the humanities in public life. How dreadful are “3 stars”, or 4, or even 5! The scale itself is a mediocrity. We want the brilliant essay: enemy of the platitude, antidote to the measly opinion, avenue to the arcane, the profane, the grand.
Europe. For there are a thousand Europes, and we are already living in them: the common Europe, the migrant’s Europe, the tourist’s Europe, the refugee’s Europe, the postcolonial Europe, the denizen’s Europe, the Europe with euros and the Europe without euros, the Europe of Eurovision, the pre-national Europe, the post-national Europe, perhaps the post-European Europe.
And the Europe of many languages. The ERB seizes a linguistic paradox: the ubiquity of English—a post-American English, a low common denominator—lets a magazine reach beyond, al di là di, ötesinde, jenseits. Pieces written in Greek or Arabic or Italian or Polish or Dutch—or, or, or—will be available in English translation and in the original.
A year ago the European Review of Books existed only as a conspiracy.
Last May we launched a crowdfunding campaign, to raise funds for contributors. Our backers received maps of Europe drawn by Rem Koolhaas and ERB tote bags emblazoned with Francisco Goya’s reading donkey. We published new fiction from Ali Smith and David Mitchell, written especially for the ERB; excerpts from the rediscovered Latvian-Italian memoir of Marina Jarre; new essays on the myth of Europa, on transatlantic crossings before 1492, and more. It was an auspicious opuscule.
We were covered in Italy (Il Foglio, Corriere della Sera), in Belgium (De Standaard), in Spain (El Confidencial), in the Netherlands (NRC, Trouw), in Ireland (Irish Times), in England (Financial Times), in Germany (Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine, Die Welt), in France (Le Grand Continent), in Austria (Die Presse), in the US (n+1) and beyond.
We’ve since been at work building the ERB as an institution and creating Issue One.