I’ve developed a bad habit: accumulating news stories until they’re not new. And then posting them in clumps. Here’s hoping something below is news to you!
The Yivo Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, from the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, is now available in an online edition. It’s easy to spend lots of time here… Language and literature, for example, opens with an article on the history of Yiddish plus a list of links to other articles, starting with Belarusian literature. The paper edition of the encyclopedia won the 2008 Judaica Reference Award. I wish I’d had this inviting site as a reference when I read Anatolii Rybakov’s Heavy Sand (previous post). I added a link to the sidebar of the blog. (Thank you to MZPR for cluing me in!)
PEN Translation Awards. Two translators of Russian received grants from the PEN Translation Fund: Peter Golub for flash fiction by Linor Goralik and Margo Rosen for Anatoly Naiman’s novel Поэзия и неправда (Poetry and Untruth). Some of Goralik’s work is in the Rasskazy collection, and I haven’t read anything by Naiman, though I have his Каблуков (Kablukov) on my shelf. Poetry and Untruth sounds interesting: according to PEN, it combines novel and document, looking at Akhmatova, Pasternak, Mandel’shtam, and Tsvetaeva. PEN’s summary of all grant winners is here. May all the books find publishers!
Anyone who reads Russian and enjoys contemporary literature will want to read this extensive online Q&A session with Russian critic Galina Iuzefovich. There are screens and screens of information. The Big Book short list (previous post) served as the starting point for reader questions. Iuzefovich’s favorites are Gigolashvili’s Devil’s Wheel and Zaionchkovskii’s Happiness Is Possible (previous post). Among other things, Iuzefovich also provides a list of 10 books she thinks represent late 20th century and early 21st century Russian fiction. They include Viktor Pelevin’s Generation П, known in English as Homo Zapiens, Vladimir Makanin’s Asan (previous post), and Olga Slavnikova’s 2017 (previous post). The Pelevin and Slavnikova books have been translated into English by, respectively, Andrew Bromfield and Marian Schwartz.
Metro Stop «Dostoevskaya». Thank you to a reference librarian at my local library for mentioning the marble mosaic murals at the new Dostoevskaya Metro stop in Moscow: they apparently include Raskolnikov with an axe and a Possessed/Devils-inspired scene with a gun, prompting fears that public art could make the spot popular for suicides. There’s a photo of one of the offending scenes here. An English-language article with a run-of-the-mill Dostoevsky portrait is here. The Moscow Metro Web site says the Dostoevsky stop is scheduled to open tomorrow. (Maybe there is news in this post…)
Fun with Russian Bestseller Lists. Elena Chizhova’s 2009 Booker Prize winner, A Time of Women (previous post), is near the top of the Russian bestseller list, at number 2. The novel came out recently in book form. Today’s top seller is A.....a, Evgeny Grishkovets’s thoughts about America. Others: Boris Akunin’s All the World’s a Theater (previous post) at number 4, Mariam Petrosian’s The House in Which…, at 37, and Vladimir Sorokin’s The Blizzard, which I recently finished, ranking 46th. Translations on the list include Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (she also Plays with Fire in Russian), Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol, and Jerome D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I had no idea that J. stood for Jerome.