Friday, October 19, 2007

"New Yorker" Story & "Times" Book Review

The October 22, 2007, issue of The New Yorker includes "Among Animals and Plants," ("Среди животных и растений") the translation of a long story by Andrei Platonov. I've only read the beginning so far, but particularly liked the comparison of ants and kulaks. There's not much information about the piece online, even in Russian, but one site calls this story "small," so I wonder if perhaps what's in The New Yorker combines several stories with the same character.

Today's New York Times has a book review of
Simon Sebag Montefiore's new biography, Young Stalin. If you're more interested in how fiction writers portray Stalin, Vasilii Aksenov and Anatolii Rybakov both wrote trilogies that include Stalin as a character.

The first volume of Aksenov's Moscow Saga (
Московская сага) is called Generations of Winter in English. I read the whole trilogy, though skimmed at times and often felt irritated with Aksenov's literary devices and namedropping. I liked Rybakov's trilogy, beginning with Children of the Arbat (Дети Арбата), much better: the characters and their lives felt realer, and I think Rybakov is a more modest writer.

Happy reading!

Books in this posting:

Young Stalin Generations of Winter
The Children of the Arbat: A Novel (Rybakov, Anatolii Naumovich. Arbat Trilogy, V. 1.)


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