Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Miscellany: Zakhar Prilepin’s Literary Lists

I love lists—particularly when they catalogue contemporary Russian fiction—so wanted to be sure to post two lists of Zakhar Prilepin’s favorite books and stories from the noughties before I forget their existence.

Both lists appear online and both are taken from Prilepin’s new book, Книгочёт. There’s an interesting mix here: several writers I’d never heard of, a clump of books that didn’t grab me, some unread items on my shelf, and writers I’ve enjoyed very much. Several books and stories have even been translated. The lists are long, so I’ll keep the commentary short… but I’m always happy to hear recommendations!

Novels first:
  • Aleksei Ivanov’s Блудо и МУДО (I’ve seen the title rendered as Cheap Porn). Waiting on my shelf... I’m a little scared of this one because of high expectations. Like Prilepin, I thought Ivanov’s Geographer was good (previous post) but not great.
  • Aleksandr Kuznetsov-Tulianin’s Язычник (The Heathen or The Pagan)—Kuznetsov-Tulianin is a new name for me. Журнальный зал calls this an ethnographic novel.
  • Mikhail Gigolashvili’s Чёртово колесо (The Devil’s Wheel)—One of my own big, big favorites (previous post). I just love this book.
  • Vladimir “Adol’fych” Nesterenko’s Огненное погребение (literally something like Fiery Burial)—Another new name for me. Crime.
  • Mikhail Shishkin’s Письмовник (Letter-Book)—Letter-Book will be out in Andrew Bromfield’s English translation in 2013 (previous post). Won the 2011 Big Book.
  • Aleksandr Garros and Aleksei Evdokimov’s [Голово]ломка (Headcrusher)—2003 NatsBest winner. Also on my shelf; it never seems to appeal to me. Available in Andrew Bromfield’s translation.
  • Andrei Rubanov’s Сажайте, и вырастет! (Do Time Get Time)—Andrew Bromfield translated Do Time Get Time and recommended Rubanov; alas, my usual book sites and stores never seem to have this particular book.
  • Sergei Samsonov’s Аномалия Камлаева (The Kamlaev Anomaly)—I’ve only read Samsonov’s Oxygen Limit, which I thought was flawed (previous post), but Anomaly sounds better.
  • Aleksandr Terekhov’s Каменный мост (The Stone Bridge)—Coming out soon from Glagoslav in Simon Patterson’s translation. Another nonfavorite, though several friends loved it.
  • Dmitrii Bykov’s trilogy of Оправдание (Justification), Орфография (Orthography), and Остромов, или Ученик чародея (Ostromov, Or the Sorcerer’s Apprentice)—Though I couldn’t get through either Justification or Ostromov, which won the 2011 NatsBest, I swear I will try Orthography. Too many of you have recommended it.

The stories and novellas sound even better to me:

Up Next: St. Petersburg Noir, a story by Alexander Snegirev, and Maria Galina’s Mole Crickets, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

Disclaimers: The usual. Many of the writers on these lists were at BookExpo America last month. 


  1. I love Internet!... thanks to people like you :) Besides saving my time in finding what to read (thank you, thank you, thank you for your updates), I really appreciate your opinions (to which I personally more than often agree)

    1. Thank you for your nice comment, sgblog -- I most definitely share your love for the Internet and its ability to help me find good books and book friends!)) I'm glad the blog is helpful... I've also noticed that we seem to like many of the same books.

      Happy reading!

  2. I'm translating Tarkovsky's “Гостиница «Океан»” right now. It is truly a masterpiece, and I agreed with everything Prilepin said about it. Heartbreakingly beautiful, it is.

    1. Thanks for the update on your translating, Andrea G.! (With the mention of Tarkovsky, I knew I'd hear from you!) I'm glad to hear you're working on this story. Enjoy!

  3. I have been reading Dmitry Bykov's Lost Souls.

    1. russell1200, I hope you're enjoying the book... I think you meant Living Souls, right? (Though "lost" might be a better title!)

  4. Guess what? You can get the Rubanov book at LitRes - -- given all the favourable comment here, I'm going to download it onto my Kindle.

    1. Thank you for the tip, Ani! I know of LitRes from BEA and have visited their site quite a few times... but never seem to think of them as an option when it comes to buying. That's probably mostly because I still prefer books on paper so tend to be optimistic that I'll find them that way! (I also have to admit that I have several more Rubanov books on the shelf, just waiting for me...)

      In any case, you'll have to let me know what you think of Сажайте!