Hi Everyone! I hope you are enjoying your 4th of July if you’re in the US, and staying cool if you’re anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. If you’re Down Under, I hope the winter is being reasonably mild and pleasant. Speaking of cooler climes, Facebook is reminding me that ten years ago I traveled by […]Read more "Running down Memory Lane to Russia, Plus Hot Reads and Cool Freebies"
I picked up “Vita Nostra” largely out of curiosity. I’d never heard of the authors before, but I’m always up for some Russian literature in translation, and the fact that it was contemporary fantasy made it even more intriguing. But when diving into these things, you never know what you’re going to get. And indeed, […]Read more "“Vita Nostra” by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, Translated by Julia Meitov Hersey"
“Day of the Oprichnik” has been hailed as one of the classics of post-Soviet fiction, and for good reason. It’s a brilliant satire of Russian society past and present. It’s also deeply disturbing and difficult to read for that reason. But first, the title. Since Russian doesn’t have articles, the literal translation of the original […]Read more "#TranslationThursday: “Day of the Oprichnik” by Vladimir Sorokin, Translated by Jamey Gambrell"
In “The Dead Wander in the Desert,” we see the final, painful days of the Soviet Union, juxtaposed with the final, painful days of the Aral Sea, as a once-bountiful land dries up and turns to a poisonous, salt-filled desert. The characters in the book fight to preserve the sea, but in vain: the central […]Read more "#TranslationThursday: “The Dead Wander in the Desert” by Rollan Seisenbayev"
Hi Everyone! I’ve been busy–and exhausted and sore–from the beginning of the semester and returning to teaching, so I don’t have a lot of news to share right now. So I thought I’d do another reading roundup. A number of you wrote back to me the last time I asked for reading recommendations, and now […]Read more "What Are We All Reading?"
“The Slynx” is one of those works that kept circulating on the edge of my reading consciousness. People were always bringing it up in conversation as something that, of course, we’d all read. Except that I hadn’t. So I finally decided to rectify this error and fill this lacuna in my reading knowledge. Let’s get […]Read more "#TranslationThursday “The Slynx” by Tatyana Tolstaya"
Probably the Russian literature event of the year in the English-speaking world has been the publication of the English translation of Vasily Grossman’s “Stalingrad,” the first part of his two-part series about the battle of Stalingrad that concludes with “Life and Fate.” Me reading “Life and Fate” for my PhD comps while camping out on […]Read more "“Stalingrad” by Vasily Grossman, Translated by Robert Chandler"
Fasten your seatbelts, Russianists: it’s about to get weird. Well, maybe no weirder than usual for literature of this period. Russian literature of the early 20th century was gloriously, insanely bizarre. Writers were flying their freak flag high, and reveling in it. “Beyond Tula” is a case in point. Although in fact, it’s no weirder […]Read more "“Beyond Tula: A Soviet Pastoral” by Andrei Egunov-Nikolev"
Hi All! The insistent barking coming in through my windows suggests that we are, in fact, in the dog days of summer. So if you’re caught up in one of the record-breaking heat waves washing over the planet right now and looking for some cool indoor reading, I’ve got a list of what I’ve read […]Read more "Who Are You Reading? Plus My Own Reading Recommendations and This Week’s Giveaways"
In “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” we meet a new Russia: one that stands with one foot in the recent Soviet past, one foot in the more distant past of Pushkin and Lermontov, and, well, a third foot in the Millennial post-Soviet present. And maybe a fourth foot in the West. Like Chekhov (and Bulgakov), Maxim Osipov […]Read more "“Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Other Stories” by Maxim Osipov"