The Monastery Zakhar Prilepin “Humanity is dark and terrifying, but the world is human and warm.” So ends Zakhar Prilepin’s massive historical novel “The Monastery” (Обитель), about the Solovki monastery-turned-prison-camp, the seed of the GULAG system. Following the fortunes of Artyom Goryainov, a prisoner in the camp, the novel charts all the aspects of prison […]Read more "“The Monastery” (Обитель) by Zakhar Prilepin"
The Dreaming Land III is almost here! I’m planning to do the last formatting and prep this weekend, and it should be ready for launch by December. Meanwhile, if you’re thirsting for more fantasy, why not check out the Magic and Fantasy Giveaway, with over 100 free fantasy stories available, including, if you don’t have a […]Read more "What to read, what to read… Recommendations, giveaways, and excerpts."
As I posted yesterday, I’ve been caught up in the crazy, crazy, crazy story surrounding Russian writer Arkady Babchenko’s alleged murder and subsequent “resurrection,” , with the dramatic revelation at a press conference that the whole thing had been a sting operation and that Babchenko was still very much alive. Although I had not guessed in […]Read more "“Whatever I say is a half-truth”: Arkady #Babchenko and the Hybrid Truth of War Writing #BabchenkoAlive"
Asan Vladimir Makanin “Asan wants money. Asan wants blood.” Within the emerging genre of “Chechen,” as in referring to the recent Chechen wars, prose, Vladimir Makanin’s “Asan” has engendered controversy. To a field zealously guarded by its veterans, the non-veteran Makanin has contributed two works: the novella “Caucasian Captive” (Кавказский пленный) and now the novel […]Read more "“Asan” by Vladimir Makanin"
A Hero of Our Time Mikhail Lermontov The first thing I ever read in Russian that was an actual piece of text and not an example sentence was a story about a young Russian officer who ends up amongst a household of smugglers and gets tricked by a pretty girl who, it turns out, is […]Read more "“A Hero of Our Time” by Mikhail Lermontov"
Cross of Iron Willi Heinrich I have to admit that I read this book a long time ago, so perhaps it isn’t as good as I remember. But as I remember, it is incredible, a true classic of combat writing, so I thought I’d write a review of it for German Literature Month 2017. […]Read more "“Cross of Iron” by Willi Heinrich for #GermanLiteratureMonth"
The New Literary War Hero in the Age of the Global War on Terror (Image from the film “Captive,” dir. Aleksey Uchitel) While this blog was originally focused mainly on my side hustle job of writing and reviewing fantasy, readers may have noticed a certain focus on matters military in recent posts, as in my […]Read more "My Chat with Andy Owen About War, Literature, and PTSD, Part I"
“People like you save yourselves by devouring Russia, and people like me–by devouring our own souls. Russia is nourished on the souls of her sons–she thrives on them. Not by the righteous ones, but by the cursed.” So says Sasha (“Sankya”) Tishin, the protagonist of “Sankya,” Zakhar Prilepin’s novel about “communofascist” Russian opposition group the […]Read more "“Sankya” by Zakhar Prilepin"
What do you do when you’re an idealistic young journalist whose hometown suddenly turns into a war zone? Obviously, you grab your camera and your notepad and you start gathering stories. Only it turns out that a brutal civil war in your own country is more than just another story. There have been many appalling […]Read more "“The Sky Wept Fire” by Mikail Eldin"
In “A Small Corner of Hell,” Anna Politkovskaya continues her reportage of the Second Chechen War. While “A Dirty War,” the first collection of her articles, conveys them in more or less their original form, “A Small Corner of Hell,” while still divided into individual reports, is a more coherent, book-like narrative, with large sections […]Read more "“A Small Corner of Hell” by Anna Politkovskaya"