I’m very grateful to the Yasnaya Polyana Award organizers for
posting shortlists for the “XXI Century” and “Childhood, Adolescence, Youth”
awards so promptly today: it’s Labor Day and it’s hot, so I’m looking forward to
going to the beach. With a book.
- Aleksandr Grigorenko’s Мэбэт (Mebet). Mebet was a Big Book finalist in 2012 and I’ve had the book on my shelf, unread, ever since, though I’ve been meaning to give it a try. A novel set in the taiga.
- Boris Yevseev’s Офирский скворец (The Ophir Starling). A historical novel in which a man teaches a starling to speak.
- Danila Zaitsev’s Повесть и житие Данилы Терентьевича Зайцева (The Life and Tale of Danila Terentyevich Zaitsev). In which a Russian Old Believer born in China and living in Argentina tells his story.
- Elena Radetskaia’s Нет имени тебе... (There Is No Name for You… (? Borrowing a Blok poem’s title? I feel like I’m missing something here…)) . Apparently a novel about three women, love, restlessness, and the search for happiness.
- Roman Senchin’s Зона затопления (Flood Zone). A 2015 Big Book Award finalist; a new take on themes from Valentin Rasputin’s Farewell to Matyora: a village is about to be flooded for a hydroelectric plant. Not my favorite Senchin.
- Guzel’ Yakhina’s Зулейха открывает глаза (Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes). Another Big Book finalist, the only one so far that I’ve enjoyed... I’m now enjoying it even more as I work on excerpts. A historical novel in which a kulak woman is exiled.
- Valerii Bylinski’s Риф (Reef). A collection of stories and a novella.
- Olga Gromova’s Сахарный ребенок (The Sugar Kid). About growing up during the Stalin era. Olga Bukhina’s description of the book is here. I’ve heard lots of good things about this book from Olga and another friend. An excerpt on Snob.
- Vecheslav Kazakevich’s Охота на майских жуков (Hunting for May Bugs, though I’m thoroughly confused about differences between May bugs and June bugs… a topic for another day!) About village life in the 1970s.
- Yevgenii Mamontov’s Приключения Славки Щукина, или 33 рассказа про вранье (The Adventures of Slavka Shchukin, or 33 Stories about Lying). Some of the 33 stories are online here; the first is called “My Friend Dracula,” which is my kind of title.
- Boris Minaev’s Мужской день (Men’s Day? A Day for Men?). A collection that brings all Minaev’s stories about a boy called Lyova, some never published before, into one book. I’ve read and enjoyed some of the stories. (A sample.)
Happy Labor Day to those who celebrate it! In haste...