- Aleksandr Ilyanen: Пенсия (Pension). According to the book’s description, this is another novel about a nonexistent Petersburg; there’s lots of language play but the pension is literal. Apparently an odd love story. Igor Gulin’s review on Kommersant. Author interview on colta.ru.
- A. Nune: Дневник для друзей (A Diary for Friends). (excerpt) Based on an actual diary written while spending time in a hospice in East Berlin.
- Polina Barskova: Живые картинки (Living Pictures) is a book of prose by a poet, a collection of twelve pieces that came out of Barskova’s research into the history of the Leningrad blockade (excerpt). Knowing Polina’s dedication to this subject, I can’t imagine that the book isn’t interesting. Also on the NatsBest long list.
- Aleksandra [sic? I think this should be Tatiana] Bogatyreva: Марианская впадинa (The Mariana Trench). I read this novella/long story in the journal Искусство кино a year or so ago.
- Aleksandr Ilichevsky: Справа налево (From Right to Left). An essay collection. (an example)
- Platon Besedin: Учитель (The Teacher) is apparently a novel about a Ukrainian boy, the first book in a tetralogy (!). (Mitya Samoilov’s NatsBest Big Jury review). A veteran longlister (NatsBest, Booker).
- Vadim Levental: Комната страха (House of Fears, per the cover). A short story collection by the author of Masha Regina, my translation of which is coming in spring 2016.
- Aleksei Tsvetkov: Маркс, Маркс левой (Marx, Marx [with your] left, I’d say, playing on a song title from Наутилус Помпилиус, (here if you want to listen), where the phrase has “марш” (“march”) instead of “Marx.” That song brings back memories!) Tsvetkov won last year’s NOSE.
- Danila Zaitsev: 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. Already a Yasnaya Polyana Award finalist and Booker longlister.
- Igor Levshin: Петруша и комар (Petrusha and the Mosquito). A debut short story collection. (excerpt)
- V. Gureev (a.k.a. Maksim Gureev?): Калугадва (Kalugatwo). Apparently a novella originally published in a journal in 1997 (!) by one Maksim Gureev.(I’m so confused!)
- Andrei Bychkov: На золотых дождях (Literally, In Golden Rains, though this Russian phrase can mean all sorts of things, including gobs of cash or golden showers.). (excerpt) Apparently about forbidden love between family members; I can’t quite figure this out even after Evgenii Lesin’s review. In a book where one of the characters is named Lobachevsky, pretty much all bets are off until reading everything.
- Andrei Astvatsaturov: Осень в карманах (Autumn in (Our?) Pockets). A novel in stories set in Petersburg and Paris.
- Maria Golovanivskaya: Пангея (Pangea). Apparently a historical fantasy novel (or dystopia?) in brief stories/episodes; a cast of over a hundred characters… A long review that I’m saving for later. And another.
- Ekaterina Margolis: Следы на воде (perhaps Ripples in the Water? or maybe the wake behind a boat or, say, a gondola?). An autobiographical book with Venice. And Moscow. And the “river of human lives,” as the book’s description says. (excerpt)
- Pavel Nerler: Осип Мандельштам и его солагерники (Osip Mandelshtam and His Campmates, though “campmates” sounds rather too cheery). About the last twenty months in Mandelshtam’s life. (excerpts)
- Roman Senchin: Зона затопления (Flood Zone). A 2015 Big Book Award and Yasnaya Polyana Award finalist and Booker longlister; 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: Зулейха открывает глаза (Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes). Another Big Book and Yasnaya Polyana finalist (previous post) that’s also on the Booker long list; I loved translating excerpts for Yakhina’s literary agency. A historical novel in which a kulak woman is exiled.
- Maks Nevoloshin: Шла Шаша по соше (Hmm, this title is a corrupted version of a tongue twister, in which Sasha walks along a roadway. Instead of “Shla Sasha po shosse” the title is “Shla Shasha po soshe.”). In any case, it’s a story collection.
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Sunday, September 20, 2015
Hmm, I just realized, yesterday, that I missed the Russian
Booker Award’s longlist announcement
on July 9. Here, then, are a few belated notes on the 24-book list. The six finalists
will be named on October 9 so time’s running short for the longlist! Or even for
a short version of the longlist.
- Aleksei Varlamov’s Мысленный волк (The Imagined Wolf, perhaps?). A novel set in the 1910s that involves some real-life figures, including our old friend Grigory Rasputin. Big Book Award finalist. I’ll be reading this one very soon so hope to figure out the title.
- 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. Already a Yasnaya Polyana Award finalist.
- Tatyana Moskvina’s Жизнь советской девушки (Life of a Soviet Girl): Apparently a memoir about life in Leningrad during the 1960s through 1980s, with lots of detail. National Bestseller Award finalist.
- Sergei Nosov’s Фигурные скобки (Curly Brackets): Described by fellow finalist Anna Matveeva as magical realism about a mathematician who goes from Moscow to Saint Petersburg for a conference of микромаг-s. Big winner at the 2015 NatsBest Award; I already bought this one for when I finish all the Big Book Award finalists. It looks fun.
- Dina Rubina’s Русская канарейка ((The?) Russian Canary). Trilogy, a family saga set in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A Big Book finalist; Rubina’s canary and I did not get along.
- Roman Senchin’s Зона затопления (Flood Zone). A 2015 Big Book Award and Yasnaya Polyana 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.
- Alexander Snegirev’s Вера (Vera, a name and noun that translates as Faith): A short novel about a forty-year-old woman who is unmarried. Snegirev’s Facebook description, posted at the time of the NatsBest long list, includes words like dramatic, comic, erotic (a bit), and political (a little). NatsBest finalist. I read the beginning and enjoyed it but want to read the book on paper.
- Guzel’ Yakhina’s Зулейха открывает глаза (Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes). Another Big Book and Yasnaya Polyana finalist (previous post); I’m now enjoying it even more as I work on excerpts. A historical novel in which a kulak woman is exiled.
- Alisa Ganieva is on the list for Жених и невестa (Bride and Groom), which you can read about here. I’m looking forward to this one. Edit: an English translation, by Carol Apollonio, will be on the way next winter, from Deep Vellum.
- Andrei Gelasimov’s Холод (Cold), the name of which makes me want to wait to read this book in winter, even without knowing what it’s about. (I love winter.)
- Anna Matveeva made the list for a novel, Завидное чувство Веры Стениной (Vera Stenina’s Enviable Feeling, I think?); Enviable Feeling is apparently about female envy. (Here’s chapter one.)
- Platon Besedin’s Учитель (The Teacher), which was nominated twice for the NatsBest but not shortlisted, is apparently a novel about a Ukrainian boy, the first book in a tetralogy (!). (Mitya Samoilov’s Big Jury review)
- Unsurprisingly, Vasilii Golovanov’s Каспийская книга (The/A Caspian Book) discusses all sorts of aspects of travel around/near the Caspian Sea. Golovanov won the 2009 Yasnaya Polyana Award for Island, which I’ve had on the shelf for three years but not yet read.
- Oleg Radzinskii’s Агафонкин и время (Agafonkin and Time) is about a time-traveling courier. Hmm.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
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...