A new series from Europa Editions and Iperborea, The Passenger collects the best new writing, photography, art, and reportage from around the world. Featuring long-form essays, investigative journalism, literary reportage, and visual narratives by innovative thinkers, The Passenger is an eclectic anthology for readers who want to understand the contemporary realities of a given country or city.
Tsunami defence walls along the coast of Tōhoku, Miyagi Prefecture; when the project is completed, these concrete seawalls, standing up to fourteen metres high, will extend along roughly four hundred kilometres of coastline.
(Photo by Laura Liverani)
Going beyond familiar stereotypes, each volume portrays the shifting culture and identity of a place, the sensibilities of its people, its burning issues, conflicts, and open wounds.
In The Passenger, original pieces and essential previously published essays are combined with inventive infographics, illustrations, book and film recommendations, a section of “false myths debunked,” a country-specific Spotify playlist, and—thanks to a collaboration with Prospekt—original photo essays by internationally renowned photographers.
(Photo by Pietro Masturzo)
Printed on optimum quality paper and beautifully designed by TomoTomo in Milan, The Passenger is a pleasure to hold and to read.
The Passenger’s logo depicts Huginn (“thought”) e Muninn (“memory”), two ravens from Norse mythology whose story perfectly symbolises the spirit of the series. Sent off by Odin at dawn, the crows would return each night to sit on the god’s shoulders, whispering into his ears whatever knowledge and wisdom they had gathered from the far corners of the world.
The Passenger will be available in English everywhere books are sold in May, 2020.
“A constant habit of reading international literature—be it in the form of journalism, literary nonfiction, or fiction—can give us a better appreciation of foreign cultures, and the tools to combat stereotypes and clichés.”
—Tomaso Biancardi, co-editor of The Passenger
“Represents a rare foray into non-fiction for Europa Editions.”
Translated by Meredith McKinney
I’ve had reason to move house again, this time to a place one station on from Shimokitazawa.
So my nearest city— if you could call it a city— is still Shimokitazawa.
This feels like the last move I’ll make before I die, and it was particularly poignant in all sorts of ways.
The haunting sense that this just might be the place where I die.
The wrenching thought that the animals who live with me will no doubt die here, too.
It’s the first time I’ve had feelings like this about where I live, and for this very reason I have a presentiment that these things will indeed come to pass.
This house will be my base from which I’ll set off hither and yon and to which I’ll return.
The first time I entered this house, I had the conviction that this was the place I’d seen for so long in dreams. That conviction stayed with me while I moved in. All flowed smoothly, and questions of money, of time and all the other various difficulties somehow turned out just fine. The child me who lives inside myself sat for a while hugging her knees miserably, unable at first to really adjust to the change. But my animals, who’d protested hugely at the last move, quickly settled in this time, and things all slid nicely along according to schedule. The move was tough, yes, but this time round I wasn’t struggling against the flow, so the damage was minimal.
Translated by Alan Thawley
Rebetiko is rebel music by definition (challenging power, war and conformism), part of the cultural baggage of those displaced from Asia Minor. In recent years it has been reborn and is once again releasing its revolutionary potential.
I was initiated into rebetiko by a Russian. His name is Yanni, a skinny guy with a glassy look in his eyes softened by a glint of non-conformity. He carries himself with respect and delicacy, and sooner or later you will come across him if you have fallen in love with this unique music and start frequenting the right places in Athens, the old-time venues that cannot be named because they have to stay on the margins of the law. You will see him bent over his tsipouro, the Greek version of grappa, and his cigarettes rolled from the best tobacco. A blond dandy, a peaceful rebel. Yanni Litovchenko smokes like a rebetis, a rebetiko musician, but he does not play and does not sing. He sits on the margins of these rooms full of music and ashtrays. And he listens. He dreams. Sometimes he will let out a yell or sing a verse under his breath. He has a passion for this music, and if you fall under its spell, succumb to the tales that he tells and his amazing night-time pilgrimages, perhaps you might have the same experience as me. At the beginning I thought he was just an unusual character. I had found out that he was born in Moscow but had been taken to America by his parents after just a few days, in one of those Cold War escapes that made the news but had condemned him to be forever stateless. His life before Athens was like some- thing in a film. He had travelled the world for the whole of his teenage years, constantly on the move. Vising Greece, he had felt the spirit of certain ancestors on his mother’s side still flowing through his veins and had decided to come back as soon as possible. Perhaps he had realised all this listening to rebetiko. Perhaps. Yanni says he is not sure, and it is true that when rebetiko is getting under your skin, you never notice it. Only later do you realise you have caught the fever and you will never shake it off. I caught the rebetiko fever with him but have no idea how long it has been in Yanni’s blood.
A temporary installation on the statue of the Mother of Asia Minor, Mytilene, Lesbos, during a demonstration against the 2016 agreement between Turkey and the European Union that prevents thousands of migrants from leaving the island.
(Photo by Pietro Masturzo)