A disarmingly genuine and funny coming-of-age story of a fourteen-year-old youngster who is trying to find himself by exploring the rebellious subculture of metal, but also a witty, almost documentary-like portrait of the 90s life in Latvia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Upon its publication, “Jelgava 94” became an immediate national bestseller, warmly endorsed by the current fourteen-year-olds of Gen Z as well as earning praise from their parents and teachers alike.
Born in 1980 in Jelgava, Latvia, Jānis Joņevs was educated at the Jelgava State Gymnasium and the Latvian Academy of Culture where he was awarded a Master’s Degree. Joņevs works as a copywriter and, since 2002, he has also worked as a reviewer and translator from French.
More about the book:
Even though "Doom94" (Jelgava '94) is Joņev's debut novel, the book quickly proved to be a big hit and bestseller in 2013. The story is set in the 1990s in the Latvian city of Jelgava and looks at the craze during this period for the alternative culture of heavy metal music. Joņevs takes the reader deep inside the world described in the novel: combining the intimate diary of a youngster trying to find himself by joining a subculture, as well as a skilful, detailed and almost documentary-like depiction of the beginnings of the second independence of Latvia. This is a story that is even more captivating for the generation that lived through the events described in the book – Joņevs is the first writer to stir up memories of this period through a fully-fledged literary depiction.
"Doom 94" is a portrait of a generation in the 1990s who are searching for their own identity and are fans of alternative culture. This is a touching story about us as youngsters, when everybody is against the whole world and tries not to become ‘one of them’. But is it for real? Can one keep the promise?
Translated from latvian
by Kaija Straumanis
Kaija Straumanis, born in 1985, is a second-generation Latvian-American, born and raised in the state of Minnesota, USA. She is a graduate of the MA program in Literary Translation at the University of Rochester, and is the editorial director of Open Letter Books. She translates from both German and Latvian.
Published translations from Latvian into English:
Inga Ābele "High Tide" ("Paisums"), Rochester: Open Letter Books, 2013,
Zigmunds Skujiņš "Flesh-Coloured Dominoes" ("Miesas krāsas domino"), London: Arcadia Books, 2014.
In 2015 she has won the 2015 AATSEEL award for the Best Translation into English for her translation from the Latvian of "High Tide" by Inga Ābele, and the Latvian Annual Literature Award (special award for translation into foreign languages) for her translations from Latvian into English.
Book translation co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia