Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Translations Published in 2023

Another year, another list of new translations! Though I haven’t been writing regular posts this year about my recent reading, I faithfully started compiling this list in late 2022. Despite this year’s challenges – thinking globally, there are wars and their ramifications and, thinking locally, there’ve been epic quantities of water flowing into my street and yard – I’m doing fine and reading a fair bit in Russian, often to determine if I’m interested in translating a book or story. Of course I continue to translate: I even (finally!) have a book on the list again and there’s another coming next year.

This year’s list has some interesting surprises. First off, if I counted correctly (something that is never a given), there are 323 books. That’s considerably fewer than last year’s 48.5 but not far behind 2021’s 39. And 32 is particularly good given the (non-)situation with translation grants from Russia as well as some publishers’ hesitance about translations from the Russian because of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The best surprise is that this year’s list includes 15 books written by women; several more books include women authors. Last year’s list had only six books written solely by woman. I’d love to think and hope the parity will last. Of course I’m not sure how this suddenly happened but it’s certainly not because this year’s one repeat listing (for Yana Vagner) is skewing the statistics! It’s great to see more women’s books on the list, particularly since they cover so many genres: novels as well as books of poetry, war notes, tales for children, and story collections.

Moving right along, here are my usual cautions for this post:

As for disclaimers, caveats, and other details, I’m sure I missed some books, perhaps even a lot of books. As in years past, I’ve included books of all genres and ages. Please add a comment or e-mail me with changes/errors or additions; my address is on the sidebar. NB: Though I generally list only new translations (including retranslations), I do occasionally allow a few reprints and reissues. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy future reference. I’m already taking names and titles for 2024, so please start sending them in. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation post, here: If you have a book to include, please add it in a comment on that page and I’ll be happy to approve it.

This year I want to add a couple special notes to everyone who’s read the blog over the years. First off, I may yet start posting regularly again (likely with a more comp lit approach); we’ll see. I’ve never monitored subscription lists or closely watched blog traffic and have no idea who will read this post but I want to thank all of you for reading my Lizok posts, whether this is your first visit or your hundredth (ha!). Meetings with many of you, be they in person, in Zoom meetings, or over email, are part of the pleasure of being a translator.

As last year, I’m not feeling especially festive this year – though I’m grateful to the town for installing a drain across the street to capture most of that water I mentioned above! – so will again skip the fireworks. Here’s wishing all of you good health, good reading, and a more peaceful world in 2024.

On that note, I’m off to read! Here’s the 2023 list:

Bulay, Elena: How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend, translated by Lena Traer; Thames & Hudson USA.

Chekhov, Anton: The Beauties: Essential Stories, translated by Nicholas Pasternak Slater; Pushkin Press.

Desnitskaya, Anna: On the Edge of the World, translated by Lena Traer; Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Dolgopyat, Elena: Someone Else’s Life, translated Richard Coombes; Glagoslav.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: The Village of Stepanchikovo and Its Inhabitants, translated by Roger Cockrell; Alma Classics.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov, translated by Michael R. Katz; W.W. Norton.

Dyachenko, Marina and Sergey: Assassin of Reality, translated by Julia Meitov Hersey; Harper Voyager, 2023. I read and enjoyed this sequel in Russian!

Fadeeva, Olga: Wind: Discovering Air in Motion, translated by Lena Traer; Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Galina, Maria: Communiques, translated by Ainsley Morse and Anna Halberstadt; Cicada Press.

Genis, Alexander: Dovlatov and Surroundings: A Philological Novel, translated by Alexander Rojavin; Cherry Orchard Books/Academic Studies Press, March 2023.

Gorbunova, Alla: It’s the End of the World, My Love, translated by Elina Alter; Deep Vellum. 

Kalaus, Lilya, and Nauryzbai, Zira: Batu and the Search for the Golden Cup, translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega; Amazon Crossing Kids.

Kostyuchenko, Elena: I Love Russia, translated by Bela Shayevich and Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse; Penguin Press.

Kurkov, Andrey: Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv, translated by Reuben Woolley; MacLehose Press.

Mandelstam, Osip: Tristia, translated by Thomas de Waal; Arc Publications.

Osorgin, Mikhail: The Riven Heart of Moscow, translated by Svetlana Payne; Glagoslav, August 2023.

Pantsov, Alexander V.: Victorious in Defeat, translated by Steven I. Levine; Yale University Press.

Parshchikov, Alexei: I Lived on the Battlefield of Poltava, translated by Donald Wesling; Academic Studies Press/Cherry Orchard Books.

Platonov, Andrey: Chevengur, translated by Elizabeth Chandler and Robert Chandler; Harvill Secker in the UK, with a US edition from New York Review Books on the way in very early 2024. (One of these days/years, I need to finally get to Chevengur…)

Petrushevskaya, Ludmilla: Kidnapped: A Story in Crimes, translated by Marian Schwartz; Deep Vellum. I enjoyed this one when I read it back in 2019!

Skorobogatov, Aleksandr: Russian Gothic, translated by Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse; Old Street Publishing, May 2023.

The Strugatsky Brothers, Arkady & Boris: The Waves Extinguish the Wind, translated by Daniels Umanoskis; Chicago Review Press.

Tsvetaeva, Marina: Bride of Ice: Selected Poems, translated by Elaine Feinstein; Carcanet, January 2023.

Ulitskaya, Liudmila: The Body of the Soul, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; Yale University Press. Short stories.

Vagner, Yana: To the Lake, translated by Maria Wiltshire; Deep Vellum. I loved this book when I read it and am glad to finally see it available in the United States! (I wouldn’t normally include this book on the list since the translation came out in English in 2016, from now-defunct Skyscraper Publications. Of course, yes, I’m biased because I love the book! And it’s perfect for winter.) 

Various: The Crooked Mirror: Plays from a Modernist Russian Cabaret, translated by Laurence Senelick; Northwestern University Press.  

Various (70 Poets): Disbelief: 100 Russian Anti-War Poems, collected and edited by Julia Nemirovskaya and translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya, Maria Bloshteyn, Andrei Burago, Richard Coombes, and Dmitry Manin. With cover art by Maria Kazanskaya. Smokestack Books, early 2023.

Vasyakina, Oksana: Wound, translated by Elina Alter; Catapult (US), September 2023, and MacLehose Press (UK), August 2023. I read Wound a couple years ago (previous post) and thought it was very good, though I think Vasyakina’s The Steppe, about her father, is even better.

Vodolazkin, Eugene: A History of the Island, translated by Lisa C. Hayden; Plough, May 2023. Back when I read Island for the first time, I wrote this post (here!) that includes it.

Yakhina, Guzel: A Volga Tale, translated by Polly Gannon; Europa Editions.

Yakovleva, Yulia: Death of the Red Rider, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp; Pushkin Press, July 2023. Death of the Red Rider is my favorite of Yakovleva’s Zaitsev books (previous post).

Zabolotsky, Nikolai: Columns, translated by Dmitri Manin, with introduction by Darra Goldstein; Arc Publications.

Zorin, Andrei: The Emergence of a Hero: A Tale of Romantic Love in Russia around 1800, translated by Leo Shtutin; Oxford University Press.


And there’s also this: Mikhail Shishkin’s My Russia: War or Peace?, translated from the German by Gesche Ipsen; Quercus.

And then there’s this collection of short stories written by Ukrainian authors: Embroidered Worlds: Fantastic Fiction from Ukraine and the Diaspora, edited by Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Olha Brylova, and Iryna Pasko, published by Atthis Arts. Please click through to see the list of authors and translators, one of whom, Anatoly Belilovsky, brought the book to my attention. Several stories were translated from the Russian.


Disclaimers and Disclosures. The usual. I know some of the translators, authors, and publishers whose work is on this list. Some of these books were provided to me by publishers, authors, literary agents.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Potpourri 1: Andrew D. Kaufman on Dostoevsky & Mariengof on Cynics

Now that tax season and a multitude of other annoyances are out of the way, it’s time to get to that book backlog I mentioned in my last post. I’m not quite sure how to start clearing it away, though I suspect words like “messily” and/or “inelegantly” might be appropriate, particularly since I finished these two books many months ago. I think I’ve written before, though, that I enjoy writing about books long after reading them because it’s always interesting to find out  to see what stays with me. And so…

Andrew D. Kaufman’s The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoevsky, a book where the subtitle is so descriptive that this post almost feels superfluous, was part of my evening reading last autumn. Odd though it may sound, Kaufman’s writing about Dostoevsky’s gambling probably made the strongest, most harrowing, impression on me. After The Gambler Wife, fictional accounts of gambling (most notably in Balzac’s Lost Illusions) that might otherwise have seemed over-the-top felt utterly believable. I even wrote “Awful!!” at the start of a section that begins a month after the newlywed Dostoevskys arrive in Baden-Baden: Fyodor Mikhailovich (FMD) gambles (Kaufman mentions his “destructive mania”), and Anna Grigoryevna (AGD) hikes as an escape, since she’s also faced with, in her (translated) words, “grizzling heat, squalling children all around us, the smithy’s unbrearable hammering.”

Though I certainly wouldn’t say I think Kaufman’s book is mistitled, of course it’s as much about FMD as AGD, offering a historical, literary, and psychological introduction to FMD’s life and work, and showing AGD’s very crucial role in supporting FMD’s life and work. AGD eventually even published his books. The once-upon-a-time beginning to their marriage came when FMD was seeking a stenographer. AGD’s work began, appropriately, with The Gambler, which is, by the way, one of my favorite Dostoevsky novel(la)s. FMD’s ongoing relevance and reputation are topics of discussion as well, with Kaufman mentioning sensitive subjects, including that “Dostoevsky was deeply influenced by Slavophile ideas.” In a later chapter Kaufman notes “contradictions of Dostoevsky’s art and thought,” including xenophobia as well as, to use Gary Saul Morson’s term, “’morally reprehensible’ anti-Semitic motifs” in FMD’s work.

Kaufman’s primary focus, however, is AGD’s many roles as FMD’s partner, and he provides lots of telling primary-source information. AGD, for example, told her sister that FMD always seemed to be “sucking me into himself,” adding that he required a wife willing to “devote herself entirely, entirely to him.” (I’ll now never stop thinking of FMD as an energy vampire…) Later in the book, Kaufman writes that “…there were others [writers] who considered Anna an enabler, a woman who failed to set boundaries for her husband and gave up her own identity in service of his needs.” Given what I read, the concept feels completely correct here even if the word “enabler” feels like presentism to me. (Thank you to Languagehat for telling me the word “presentism” exists!) Nits of that sort certainly didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of The Gambler Wife, which is a compact and very readable work of narrative nonfiction, ideal for someone like me, who is emphatically not a Dostoevsky specialist but wants to read a basic account of his life, books, and marriage. The words Kaufman uses for his title, by the way, were uttered by FMD after what Kaufman calls AGD’s “flirtation with roulette” in Baden-Baden.

On a completely different note, Anatoly Mariengof’s Циники (Cynics) is one the most stylistically and thematically interesting books I’ve read in the last couple years. It’s also not an easy book to write about or even describe. Set in 1918-1924 Moscow, during the Civil War and the New Economic Policy, it’s very much a book of its time, with references to hunger, cannibalism, war, sleazy NEPmen, hunger again, war again, and cocaine use. Thinking more generally, it’s also both a novel of a fractured country and culture, and a novel about romantic entanglements with geometry larger than triangles. It’s a book about very physiological things, too: I had not been expecting early enema references (in one case, connected with love) that felt both very mundane in terms of content but, well, rather unusual for literature.

Languagehat and I corresponded about Cynics, too, so I sought out his blog post, which sums up my favorite aspect of the novel beautifully:

The genius of the book is that all this is laid out not in sweeping Tolstoyan exposition or anguished Dostoevskian self-revelation but in short bursts of dialogue or event, interspersed with even briefer accounts of what’s going on in the country at large, usually snippets from newspapers about battles, decrees, or starvation.

One of my favorite examples of this – I began thinking of those snippets as “the crawl” – comes in 1922, where section 33 (the crawl) mentions the arrest of two cannibalistic women and their victims, and then section 34 (the main story) returns to our characters in a luxe setting with music, tuxedoes, blini (food!)… Mariengof’s juxtapositions are wonderfully evocative and jarring, perfect for the time.

Cynics is one of those wondrous books (most of which, come to think of it, seem to be “about everything”) that I seem to soak up rather simply reading, making my reading more emotional than analytical. I’ll end on that note, with a link to Languagheat’s post about Cynics, which includes a plot summary far better than I could have come up with.

Disclaimers & Disclosures: The usual. I received a copy of The Gambler Wife from Riverhead Books, thank you very much!

Up Next: More backlog.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Favorite Russian Writers A to Я: Shalamov and Shklovsky

I wrote my last alphabet post (it’s here!) a little over two years ago, covering the letter Ч (Ch), which was productive but not rich with writers I considered real, true favorites. Today I present to you the letter Ш (Sh), which is highly productive in terms of the sheer number of writers whose surnames begin in Sh… though there aren’t many I yet consider serious favorites.

I’ll start with Varlam Shalamov since he’s probably the Sh writer I (hm, what word to choose?) revere the most, thanks to the beautiful and spare prose of his Колымские рассказы (Kolyma Tales), which document experiences in Soviet-era prison camp. Some years ago I took some good advice and read one Shalamov story each evening. I read him that way for several weeks; dozens of short stories in my nine-hundred-page book await me. Here’s a previous post (about cold and snow) where I mentioned that reading. I highly recommend Shalamov to all readers.

Things start to get much foggier after Shalamov so I’ll start with Viktor Shklovsky, whom I read in grad school, but have (unjustly) pretty much ignored for decades. I think I (probably?) read him first for literary theory – most likely “Искусство как приём” (here it is in English! “Art as Technique”) – and, since I enjoy literary theory, I’ve pecked away at his theoretical writings over the years. I even have a nice edition of Energy of Delusion: A Book on Plot, translated by Shushan Avagyan for Dalkey Archive Press, who gave me a copy of the book at BookExpo America. I should read it in full one of these days/years. I read Shklovsky’s Сентиментальное путешествие (Sentimental Journey) in full decades ago, though I’d be lying if I said I remember much beyond a quick summary: it contains his recollections about the Russian Revolution and Civil War. I’ve recently had thoughts of rereading it. I have much more work to do on Shklovsky! Particularly since I have yet to read Зоо, или Письма не о любви (Zoo, or Letters Not About Love, which Jennifer Wilson discusses here, in The New York Times), an embarrassing gap in my reading since I vowed to read it after finishing Alisa Ganieva’s dishy (as I put it) page-turner of a biography of Lily Brik… I wrote of the Shklovsky connection here. I’ll end by adding that I nearly forgot to mention that Shklovsky coined the term остранение,” a word usually translated as “defamiliarization.” I love the word and what it describes.

And now to start on my stack of contemporary Sh writers’ books… Mikhail Shishkin has impressed me most in recent years with essays, both about Russia’s politics and invasion of Ukraine, and about writers. His lengthy piece called Бегун и корабль (The Runner and the Ship), about Vladimir Sharov, is particularly good – written about a beloved friend and his books – but I also loved reading his essay about Robert Walser, who is somehow terra incognita for me. As yet. Sharov is, of course, a Sh writer as well… and, as I’ve mentioned many times, he’s difficult for me to read, in large part because, sadly, I’m so biblically illiterate. (Foisting Sunday school on me was utterly counterproductive because I don’t like singing or memorizing. Reading the Bible itself during sermons on weeks when there was no Sunday school, however, was fun because I could read freely.) I’m still committed to putting lots more time into Sharov because I so enjoyed knowing him and still, despite not having known him very well, mourn his death because (as I’ve also written many times, including here) he was so otherworldly. Odd though it sounds, I still feel as if he simply couldn’t die, even physically. My strategy is still to restart my Sharov reading with his Будьте как дети (Be As Children), which I read and enjoyed nearly half of before I had to sample his other books to prepare for moderating an event… This article – “How Sharov’s Novels Are Made: The Rehearsals and Before & During – written by my friend and colleague Oliver Ready, who has translated several of Sharov’s novels, looks like it will provide some of the hints (and pushing) that I need. Perhaps it will help others, too. Before & During, by the way, is the only Sharov novel I’ve finished as yet. I wrote about it here after Sharov won the Russian Booker in 2014 for Возвращение в Египет (Return to Egypt). I read the novel in Oliver’s translation, which Dedalus Books kindly sent to me; Dedalus has also sent copies of Oliver’s translations of Be As Children and The Rehearsals.

Vasily Shukshin, one of the most prominent (and, best, to my taste) “Village Prose” writers, is also in the Sh pile. I read his long and short stories every now and then and always seem to enjoy them, even when they’re sad as hell, like his Калина красная (The Red Snowball Tree), a novella that Shukshin didn’t just write. He also directed a film adaptation… and starred as the main character, a thief who’s been released from jail. On another note, yes, there are also a few women writers with Sh surnames. One of them, Ekaterina Sherga, wrote Подземный корабль (The Underground Ship), which I praised highly in 2013 (previous post). I believe Ship is Sherga’s only novel. There’s also Marietta Shaginyan, whose Месс-Менд (Mess-Mend) I read in 2005, finding it especially interesting as a 1920s period piece but a bit messy as a detective novel with nasty capitalists.

So! I still have plenty of reading ahead from letter-Ш writers like Shklovsky, Sharov, Shukshin, and Shalamov. I’d love to hope for more Sherga, too… I also have some unread Sh authors on the shelves: Ivan Shmelev, whose Солнце мертвых (The Sun of the Dead) Languagehat read last year (and called “grimly powerful”). It’s set in Crimea during wartime, in 1921. There’s also Roman Shmarakov’s Алкиной (Alcinous), which was a 2021 NOSE finalist – why not try a Russian novel set in the Roman Empire during the fourth century? And then there’s Vyacheslav Shishkov’s Угрюм-река, which Victor Terras, in A History of Russian Literature, calls Grim River, writing that it’s “about the colonization of Siberia.” The index of Terras’s book lists other Sh writers, including (of course) Mikhail Sholokhov, who didn’t endear himself to me much with Quiet Flows the Don decades ago… I’ll stop there and watch for thoughts on other letter-Ш writers!

Up Next: I have lots of catching up! Some of you have written to me in recent months, asking when/if I’ll ever post regularly again. I think (hope?) this is my start. I’m very grateful for readers’ kind notes, gentle questions, and tact. I’m especially grateful to one of you for writing to me last week, asking just the right questions at just the right time. Edit, March 13: After receiving a note from a worried friend, I want to add that I am fine. Blogging takes a fair bit of time; more than anything, I needed to spend more time on other things (particularly reading since I’ve had a lot of “required reading” of late) in recent months.

Disclaimers and Disclosures: The usual for knowing some of the contemporary writers (and their translators and publishers!) whom I’ve mentioned above. Thank you again to Dedalus for sending Oliver’s meticulous translations of Sharov’s novels, which I like reading along with the Russian originals.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Closing Out 2022 With a New Translation List

I’m going to end this year on the blog the way I ended 2020 and 2021: with a list of the past year’s new translations. Rather than focus on why I’ve been reading a lot but, well, underachieving on the blogging side, I thought it best to look at something positive. It’s particularly heartening that, despite all sorts of difficulties, this year’s list of new translations is longer than last year’s list. How did we get to 48 47 46 47 48.5 49.5 over last year’s 39?

I guess my easy answer is classics: Chekhov and Mandelstam each have three titles on the list, and Tolstoy, Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, and Sorokin (yes, Sorokin, a living classic) each have two. I’m disappointed yet again to see so few books by women on the list: there are only six written entirely by women and three written partially by women. All that said, even if – as always – I would have loved to have seen more women and more contemporary authors on the list, I’m very happily surprised to see that this many translations come out this year. I’ve heard so many stories about books with delayed publication dates as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine that I thought this year’s list would shrink far more. Another factor, one that may have worked both ways and may continue to work both ways: some books were already late because of production delays. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, when the effect of reduced Russian grants may hit harder. Then again, I already have fifteen books on the 2023 list, a pretty good start.

As for disclaimers, caveats, and other details, I’m sure I missed some books, perhaps even a lot of books. As in years past, I’ve included books of all genres and ages. Please add a comment or e-mail me with changes/errors or additions; my address is on the sidebar. NB: Though I generally list only new translations (including retranslations), I do occasionally allow a few reprints and reissues. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy reference to the list. As I mentioned, I’m already taking names and titles for 2023, so please start sending them in. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation post, here: If you have a book to include, please add it in a comment on that page and I’ll be happy to approve it.

I haven’t felt especially festive this holiday season so no fireworks this year. May 2023 bring you health and lots of good books. May 2023 bring peace to Ukraine. And now… off to (among other things) finish my end-of-year cleaning, cook some food, eat some ice cream, and greet 2023 reading Shipnigov’s Стрим (Stream).

Here’s the 2022 list.

Aylisli, Akram: Stone Dreams: A Novel-Requiem, translated by Katherine E. Young, with a foreword by Thomas de Waal; Academic Studies Press, August 2022. This edition reissues a novella that also appears in Farewell, Aylis, published by ASP in 2018. Katherine Young’s Website has more information here about Aylisli. This reissue feels particularly timely and important given that Katherine received the 2022 Granum Foundation Translation Prize for translating Aylisli.

Babel, Isaac: Of Sunshine and Bedbugs: Essential Stories, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Pushkin Press.

Bacharevič, Alhierd: Alindarka’s Children, translated by Petra Reid and Jim Dingley; New Directions, June 2022. The New Directions listing says this: “Winner of the English Pen Award, the novel has been brilliantly rendered into English (from the Russian) and Scots (from the Belarusian): both Belarusian and Scots are on the UNESCO Atlas of Endangered Languages.” I’m not sure if Russian is a bridge language here or if Bacharevič wrote the novel in both Russian and Belarusian (he self-translated another of his novels… and when that’s the case I wouldn’t consider Russian a bridge language) but since I always allow a few exceptions, I’d include it either way because of my interest in Belarus!

Barskova, Polina: Living Pictures, translated by Catherine Ciepiela; NYRB, September 2022. Living Pictures is on the shelf; it looks very good.

Belorusets, Yevgenia: Lucky Breaks, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky; New Directions, 2022. I first learned of Lucky Breaks from this Indextrious Reader blog post.

Chekhov, Anton: A Taste of Chekhov, translated by Lydia Stone, Paul Richardson, and Constance Garnett; Russian Life/StoryWorkz.

Chekhov, Anton: Steppe, translated by Constance Garnett and Paul Richardson; Russian Life/StoryWorkz. Bilingual edition.

Chekhov, Anton: Small Fry and Other Stories, translated by Stephen Pimenoff; Alma Classics. Alma calls this book “[a] Unique collection of Chekhov’s stories, some of them never translated before into English.”

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment, translated by Roger Cockrell; Alma Classics.

Drabkin, Artem: Voices of Russian Snipers, translated by David Foreman, edited by Artem Drabkin and Andrey Ulanov, with foreword by John Walter; Greenhill Books.

Drobyazhko, Sergey: On the Eastern Front at Seventeen: On the Eastern Front at Seventeen, translated by David Foreman, introduced by David M. Glantz; Greenhill Books.

Efron, Ariadna: No Love Without Poetry: The Memoirs of Marina Tsvetaeva’s Daughter, translated by Diane Nemec Ignashev; Northwestern University Press. 

Etkind, Efim: Barcelona Prose, translated by Helen Reeve, Joyse Man and Julia Trubikhina, with an afterword by David Bethea; Cherry Orchard Books.

Felsen, Yuri: Deceit, translated by Bryan Karetnyk; Prototype Publishing, 2022. U.S. edition from Astra House on the way in February 2023.

Furman, Dmitrii: Imitation Democracy, translated by Ian Dreiblatt; Verso, November 2022. With foreword by Keith Gessen and afterword by Tony Wood.

Gandelsman, Vladimir: A Man Only Needs a Room, translated by Anna Halberstadt, Olga Livshin, and Andrew Janco; New Meridian Arts.

Ganieva, Alisa: Offended Sensibilities, translated by Carol Apollonio; Deep Vellum, 2022. 

Glazova, Anna: For the Shrew, translated by Alex Niemi; Zephyr Press, 2022. Bilingual edition.

Gogol, Nikolai: Petersburg Tales, translated by Dora O’Brien; Alma Classics, 2022.

Gogol, Nikolai: A Place Bewitched and Other Stories, translated by Constance Garnett, edited by Natasha Randall; Picador.

Grossman, Vasily: The People Immortal, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, with an introduction and afterword by Robert Chandler and Julia Volohova, original Russian text edited by Julia Volohova; NYRB, September 2022.

Khersonsky, Boris and Ludmila: The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems, edited by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky, translated by Polina Barskova, Aleks Sigal, Vladislav Davidzon, Olga Livshin, Valzhyna Mort. Eugene Ostashevsky, Diane Seuss, Katherine Young, Javier Zamora; Lost Horse Press.

Korotko, Alexander: War Poems, translated by Andrew Sheppard and Olha Ilchuk; Glagoslav, 2022. A trilingual edition with English, Ukrainian, and Russian.

Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund: Countries That Don’t Exist: Selected Nonfiction, edited by Jacob Emery and Alexander Spektor, with translations by Anthony Anemone, Caryl Emerson, Jacob Emery, Anne O. Fisher, Elizabeth F. Geballe, Reed Johnson, Tim Langen, Alisa Ballard Lin, Muireann Maguire, Benjamin Paloff, Karen Link Rosenflanz, Alexander Spektor, and Joanne Turnbull; Columbia University Press.

Kurkov, Andrey: Diary of an Invasion, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Mountain Leopard Press. A U.S. edition, from Deep Vellum, will be available in spring 2023. This book most definitely exists but, per Boris Dralyuk himself, it is not a translated book so I’m going to strike it but keep it in the post since I’m sure it’s of interest to many!

Kuzmin, Mikhail: New Hull, translated by Simona Schneider; Ugly Duckling Presse.

Kuznetsov, Sergey: The Round Dance of Water, translated by Valeriya Yermishova; Dalkey Archive Press, 2022.

Mandelstam, Osip: Centuries Encircle Me with Fire: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam, compiled, edited, and translated by Ian Probstein; Academic Studies, Press, April 2022.

Mandelstam, Osip: The Voronezh Workbooks, translated by Alistair Noon; Shearsman Books.

Mandelstam, Osip: Occasional and Joke Poems, translated by Alistair Noon; Shearsman Books.

Mashinski, Irina: Giornata, translated by Maria Bloshteyn and Boris Dralyuk; Červená Barva Press, November 2022.

Meshchaninova, Nataliya: Stories of a Life, translated by Fiona Bell; Deep Vellum.

Osipov, Maxim, Kilometer 101, translated by Boris Dralyuk, Nicolas Pasternak Slater, and Alex Fleming, edited by Boris Dralyuk; NYRB, October 2022.

Paustovsky, Konstantin: The Story of a Life, translated by Douglas Smith; Vintage Classics (UK) and New York Review Books (US, coming February 2023).

Pavlov, Ivan: Pavlov on the Conditional Reflex: Papers, 1903-1936, translated by Olga Yokoyama; Oxford University Press. Wow.

Pilnyak, Boris: At the Doors and Other Stories, translated by Emily Laskin, Isaac Zisman, Louis Lozowick, Sofia Himmel, and John Cournos; Sublunary Editions, autumn 2022.

Pushkin, Alexander: Peter the Great’s African: Experiments in Prose, edited and with afterword by Robert Chandler, translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, and Boris Dralyuk; NYRB, April 2022.

Pushkin, Alexander: Lyrics: Volume 4 (1829–37), translated by Roger Clarke, Carleton Copeland, John Coutts, James Falen and Avril Sokolov; Alma Classics. Bilingual edition.

Schwab, Leonid: Everburning Pilot; Cicada Press. This book is described as “A bi-lingual edition of Leonid Schwab’s poetry with an introduction by Maria Stepanova. Edited by Alexander Spektor, Anton Tenser, and Sibelan Forrester.” I’m not sure who translated but since it’s bilingual, I’m listing it.

Shevelev, Mikhail: Not Russian, translated by Brian James Baer and Ellen Vayner; Europa Editions.

Sorokin, Vladimir: Telluria, translated by Max Lawton; NYRB, August 2022.

Sorokin, Vladimir: Their Four Hearts, translated by Max Lawton; Dalkey Archive Press, April 2022.

Tolstoy, Lev: Tolstoy as Philosopher: Essential Short Writings (1835-1910): An Anthology, edited, translated, and introduced by Inessa Medzhibovskaya; Academic Studies Press, October 2022.

Tsvetaeva, Marina: Head on a Gleaming Plate, translated by Christopher Whyte; Shearsman Books. Poems from 1917-1918.

Turgenev, Ivan: Fathers and Children, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater; NYRB; August 2022.

Turgenev, Ivan: Parasha and Other Poems, translated by Michael Pursglove; Alma Classics. Bilingual edition.

Various: Verses on the Vanguard from Maria Galina, Ekaterina Simonova, Ivan Sokolov, Nikita Sungatov, Alexandra Tsibulya, and Oksana Vasyakina, translated by Elina Alter, Catherine Ciepiela, Anna Halberstadt, Ainsley Morse, Kevin Platt, and Valeriya Yermishova; a bilingual edition from Deep Vellum.

Various: This Is Us Losing Count; Two Lines Press. Poets and translators are: Alla Gorbunova/Elina Alter, Ekaterina Simonova/Il’ia Karagulin, Galina Rymbu/Eugene Ostashevsky, Olga Sedakova/Martha Kelly, Nikita Sungatov/Valeriya Yermishova, Irina Kotova/Matvei Yankelevich, Aleksandra Tsibulia/Catherine Ciepiela, and Oksana Vasyakina/Elina Alter. 

Various: Amanat: Women’s Writing from Kazakhstan, stories translated from the Kazakh by Zaure Batayeva, stories translated from the Russian by Sam Brezeale, Shelley Fairweather-Vega, with a foreword by Gabriel McGuire; Gaudy Boy, July 2022.

Vodolazkin, Eugene: Brisbane, translated by Marian Schwartz; Plough, 2022.

Vysotsky, Vladimir: Selected Works, translated by John Farndon and Olga Nakston; Glagoslav, 2022. A bilingual (Russian and English) edition.

Bonus: Lost Horse Press has a Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Series, which you can learn about here.

Disclaimers and Disclosures. The usual. I know some of the translators, authors, and publishers whose work is on this list.

Up Next. All those books lined up on my shelf… which I’m going to bundle into a few posts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Is Truth Better Than Fiction? 2022’s Big Book Winners

As I sit down to finally write this post, four five days late, truth really does feel stranger than fiction: all three jury prizes for this year’s Big Book Award went to works of nonfiction. Pavel Basinsky won the top prize for his Подлинная история Анны Карениной (The True Story of Anna Karenina). This is Basinsky’s second Big Book win; the first was back in 2010, for Лев Толстой: Бегство из рая (Leo Tolstoy: Flight From Paradise, in Glagoslav’s translation by Huw Davies and Scott Moss).

This year’s second jury prize went to Alexei Varlamov for Имя Розанова (The Name of Rozanov), a biography of Vasily Rozanov. Sergei Belyakov took third prize for Парижские мальчики в сталинской Москве (Parisian Boys in Stalinist Moscow), about Parisian men (including Marina Tsvetaeva’s son, Georgy Efron) and their life and times in Stalinist Moscow.

Readers’ choice voters were more generous to fiction. Guzel Yakhina’s Эшелон на Самарканд (Train to Samarkand), set during the Civil War, won first prize. Basinsky’s True Story won second prize. And readers finished their troika with another novel: Anna Matveeva’s Каждые сто лет (Every Hundred Years).

I’ll conclude by saying that, yes, the three nonfiction awards mystify me more than a bit, even considering comments I’ve read on social media, theorizing about jurors’ voting habits during wartime. Of course my post about this year’s finalists (it’s here!) had me “scratching my head” about the shortlist back in June of this annus horribilis…

P.S. Here, from Big Book, is the rundown of jury voting. As you can see, the numbers are very, very close.

Disclaimers and disclosures: The usual. I translated Yakhina’s Zuleikha. I resigned from the Big Book Award’s Literary Academy (jury) earlier this year.

Up Next: A pile of books that I’m going to bundle into a series of posts. A list of 2022’s new translations; I’m suspecting numbers will be down considerably this year because of the war.