Sunday, November 24, 2019

Russian-to-English Translations for 2019

It’s not quite December but I’ve decided to post this year’s list of new Russian-to-English translations. If I’ve counted correctly (something I cannot guarantee), the list contains 49 50 52 53 54 55 books. I’m sure that number will change (upward, I hope) in the coming days. And weeks, months, and years: these lists are never finished.

This year’s total is down from last year’s 67 (previous post) but still up a bit from 2017’s 47 (previous post). One reason for the decrease is that I’m not listing new reprints/editions of existing translations. Another factor [which I’ve edited heavily] that probably has more of a psychological effect than a statistical effect at this point: I noticed that Glagoslav looks to have released in 2019 a couple of titles that were on lists in past years (such as the Grishkovets book below, which was first listed in 2017) and thus (if only in my twisted perception as compiler of these lists!) even if numbers aren’t that different, it appears there are fewer from-the-Russian titles this year since some of them have long been familiar; at the same time, it also appears they’re increasing their work on translations from other languages, though I confess I don’t track those translations closely enough to say this is anything but my own impression. I also wonder if those non-Russian titles are featured more prominently after Glagoslav changed its site design. Which leads me to another point... Finally, some publishers have reworked their sites and it sometimes feels like there were fewer pages specifically dedicated to new releases, making them harder to find; of course many sites’ search functions don’t always return useful lists when asked about “Russia” or “Russian.” All this means I’m pretty content finding forty-nine books. I should also add that I’ve been lax about the tedious task of moving books on the 2018 list that apparently (“apparently” since soft releases seem to have become more common) weren’t released until 2019; that probably gives a plus/minus factor of several books. (I may shift some of those later but for now my preferred form of correction has been on adding titles to old posts after learning of books I missed in years past.)

In terms of positives for 2019, it’s nice to see more children’s books again this year. (Two series!) I’m disappointed, though, that the share of books translated by women doesn’t seem to have risen much, though at least it doesn’t look it’s dropped. Fifteen out of forty-four books authored by only one person were written by women and at least four out of the five written by “various” had at least one woman on the author list. These lists are dynamic enough – not to mention plenty incomplete – that I wouldn’t want to make too much of any of these data. I was going to add that I’m disappointed that there aren’t more works of contemporary Russian fiction on the list. But then I scrolled down and realized the variety is better than I thought. And 2020 already looks interesting, too; I’ve started a list for next year.

As in past years, I have to credit ongoing grant programs from the Institute of Translation and the Prokhorov Fund’s Transcript Program for helping to fund some of the translations on the list. And for making it a little easier to compile my annual lists. This year I also had a nice assist from a list put together by Hilah Kohen for Meduza: in January I shared my then-nascent 2019 list with her when she was gathering titles for a very eclectic list of Russia-related books, many of which are translations. She credits lots of our colleagues for contributing suggestions and I highly recommend browsing her list. Some of the publication dates have slipped but that just gives us something to look forward to in 2020.

I’ll finish, as usual, with some caveats and admin notes related to the list. This list is just a start; I’m always happy to add titles I’ve missed. Please e-mail me with changes/errors or additions; my address is on the sidebar. NB: I now list only new translations. I’ve linked titles on the list to publishers’ pages wherever possible. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy reference. I’m taking names and titles for 2020 now, so please start sending them in. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation post: If you have a book to add, please add it in a comment on that page, here, and I’ll be happy to approve it.

Enjoy your reading!

Akunin, Boris: Not Saying Goodbye, translated by Andrew Bromfield; W&N, November 2019. 
Aleshkovsky, Yuz: Nikolai Nikolaevich and Camouflage, translated by Duffield White, edited by Susanne Fusso; Columbia University Press, Russian Library, June 2019.

Alexievich, Svetlana: Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of World War II, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky; Penguin, July 2019.

(Brianchaninov) St. Ignatius : The Refuge: Anchoring the Soul in God, translated by Nicholas Kotar; Holy Trinity Publications, December 2019.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and edited by Sarah J. Young; Oxford University Press, June 2019.

Egunov-Nikolev, Andrei: Beyond Tula: A Soviet Pastoral, translated by Ainsley Morse; Academic Studies Press, May 2019.

Gandlevsky, Sergey: Illegible, translated by Suzanne Fusso; Cornell University Press, November 2019. Background on this novel.

Gogol, Nikolai: And the Earth Will Sit on the Moon, translated by Oliver Ready; Pushkin Press, December 2019.

Gorbachev, Mikhail: On My Country and the World, translated by George Shriver; Columbia University Press, December 2019.

(Gribanovsky) Metropolitan Anastasy: Conversations With My Heart: Contemplations on God and the World, translated by Nicholas Kotar; Holy Trinity Publications, 2019.

Grishkovets, Evgeni: The Hemingway Game, translated by Steven Volynets; Glagoslav Publications, 2019.

Grossman, Vasily: Stalingrad, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler; New York Review Books, June 2019.

Kandinsky, Wassily: Sounds, translated and introduced by Elizabeth R. Napier; Yale University Press, October 2019.

Khemlin, Margarita: Klotsvog, translated by Lisa C. Hayden; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, August 2019.

Khodasevich, Vladislav: Necropolis, translated by Sarah Vitali; Columbia University Press, Russian Library, May 2019.

Kollontai, Alexandra: Writing Through Struggle, translated by Cathy Porter; Haymarket. (I’m not sure what happened to this title and am going to strike it for now.)

Lebedev, Sergei: The Goose Fritz, translated by Antonina W. Bouis; New Vessel Press, 2019.

Litvina, Alexandra: The Apartment: A Century of Russian History, translated by Antonina W. Bouis; Abrams Books for Young Readers, November 2019. Illustrated by Anna Desnitskaya. This looks like a good one for kids of all ages!

Medvedev, Sergei: The Return of the Russian Leviathan, translated by Stephen Dalziel; Polity Press, November 2019.

Medvedeva, Doba-Mera: Daughter of the Shtetl: The Memoirs of Doba-Mera Medvedeva, translated by Alice Nakhimovsky, edited by Nakhimovsky and Michael Beizer; Academic Studies Press, 2019.

Monastyrski, Andrei: Elementary Poetry, translated by Brian Droitcour and Yelena Kalinsky with a preface by Boris Groys; Ugly Duckling Presse, December 2019.

Novikov, Dmitry: A Flame Out at Sea, translated by Christopher Culver; Glagoslav Publications, 2019.

Osipov, Maxim: Rock, Paper, Scissors, translated by Boris Dralyuk, Alex Fleming, and Anne Marie Jackson; New York Review Books, April 2019.

Pasternak, Boris: Doctor Zhivago, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater; The Folio Society, 2019. (This is a limited special edition book.)

Pavlova, Karolina: A Double Life, translated by Barbara Heldt; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, August 2019.

Poliakova, Zinaida: A Jewish Woman of Distinction: The Life and Diaries of Zinaida Poliakova, by ChaeRan Y. Freeze and translated by Gregory L. Freeze; Brandeis University Press, 2019. This book is a bit of a cheat since it’s not just translated material but it sounds too interesting to leave off the list!

Polonskaya, Anzhelina: To the Ashes, translated by Andrew Wachtel; Zephyr Press, 2019.

Rubina, Dina: Leonardo’s Handwriting, translated by Melanie Moore; Glagoslav Publications, late 2019.

Savinkov, Boris: Pale Horse, translated by Michael R. Katz; University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019.

Seisenbayev, Rollan: The Dead Wander in the Desert, translated by John Farndon and Olga Nakston; Amazon Crossing, 2019.

Sentsov, Oleg: Life Went on Anyway, translated by Uilleam Blacker; Deep Vellum, October 2019.

Slavnikova, Olga: The Man Who Couldn’t Die, translated by Marian Schwartz; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, January 2019.

Soloviev, Vladimir: The Karamazov Correspondence: Letters of Vladimir S. Soloviev, translated by Vladimir Wozniuk; Academic Studies Press, 2019.

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr: March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 2, translated by Marian Schwartz; University of Notre Dame Press, 2019.

Starobinets, Anna: A Predator’s Rights: A Beastly Crimes Book, translated by Jane Bugaeva; Dover, January 2019

Starobinets, Anna: Claws of Rage, translated by Jane Bugaeva; Dover, September 2019. More beastly crimes.

Starobinets, Anna: The Plucker, translated by Jane Bugaeva; Dover, October 2019. Beastly crimes again!

Stonov, Dmitry: The Raskin Family, translated by Konstantin Gurevich and Helen Anderson; Academic Studies Press, 2019.

(Taushev), Archbishop Averky : Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, translated by Nicholas Kotar, edited by Vitaly Permiakov; Holy Trinity Publications, 2019.

Tazhi, Aigerim: Paper-Thin Skin, translated by James Kates; Zephyr Press, May 2019.

Tolstoy, Leo: Lives and Deaths, translated by Boris Dralyuk; Pushkin Press, November 2019.

Tretyakov, Sergei: I Want a Baby and Other Plays, translated by Robert Leach and Stephen Holland; Glagoslav Publications, 2019.

Tynianov, Yuri: Permanent Evolution: Selected Essays on Literature, Theory and Film, translated by Ainsley Morse and Philip Redko, with an introduction by Daria Khitrova; Academic Studies Press, 2019.

Ulitskaya, Ludmila: Jacob’s Ladder¸ translated by Polly Gannon; FSG, July 2019.

Utkin, Alexander: The Water Spirit, translated by Lada Morozova; Nobrow, 2019. This is a graphic novel, the second in the “Gamayun Tales” series, for children, drawn and written by Utkin.

Utkin, Alexander: Tyna of the Lake, translated by Lada Morozova; Nobrow, 2019. A third installment of “Gamayun Tales.”

Various: New Russian Drama, edited by Maksim Hanukai and Susanna Weygandt; Columbia University Press/Russian Library, August 2019.

Various: The Predictability of the Past: Three Contemporary Russian Plays, translated and edited by Alexander Rojavin; Three String Books/Slavica, 2019.

Various: 21: Russian Short Prose from an Odd Century, edited by Mark Lipovetsky and translated by a very good “various”; Academic Studies Press, 2019.

Various: A Life Replaced, written/translated by Olga Livshin; Poets & Traitors Press, 2019. Original poetry by Livshin along with her translations of Anna Akhmatova and Vladimir Gandelsman.

Various: Russian Stories, edited by Christopher Keller, translator list unclear; Everyman’s Library, 2019. This collection includes 25 stories, “Pushkin and Gogol to Tatyana Tolstaya and Svetlana Alexievich.”

Various: Cold War Casual, edited and translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya; Front Edge Publishing, 2019. Bilingual; oral history/interviews on the Cold War.
Yakhina, Guzel: Zuleikha, translated by Lisa Hayden; Oneworld Publications, February 2019.

Yesenin, Sergei: The Last Poet of the Village, translated by Anton Yakovlev; Sensitive Skin Books, 2019. A bilingual book.

Zviagentsev, Alexander: The Nuremberg Trials, translated by Christopher Culver; Glagoslav, 2019.

Zygar, Mikhail: Eyewitness 1917: The Russian Revolution as it Happened, translated by Rose France and Lev Shtutin, I believe; Fontanka, 2019. Click through on the title link (which will take you to Pushkin House) to learn more about this book, which should appeal to anyone who enjoyed Project 1917.

!!Bonus Listings!!
I can’t help but include a few bonus listings from Central Asian languages, translated by either Shelley Fairweather-Vega or Christopher Fort. I want to add that Shelley (a friend and colleague) translates from the Russian, Uzbek, and Kazakh, and translated each of the books listed below using multiple versions that always included either Uzbek or Kazakh manuscripts. There’s an interesting essay by Fort about his translation work on Cho’lpon here; [edit] see below for his comment noting another book.

Asemkulov, Talasbek: A Life at Noon, translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega; Three String Books/Slavica, 2019. A Kazakh novel.

Ismailov, Hamid: Gaia, Queen of Ants, translated from the Uzbek by Shelley Fairweather-Vega; Syracuse University Press, 2019.

Ismailov, Hamid: Of Strangers and Bees, translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega; Tilted Axis Press, 2019.

Cho’lpon, Abdulhamid Sulaymon o’g’li: Day and Night, translated from the Uzbek by Christopher Fort; Academic Studies Press, 2019.

Other bonuses: Academic Studies Press has a sampler available for download here; it includes excerpts from a nice combination of ASP’s books on my 2018 and 2019 lists… Cambridge University Press partnered with the National Bureau of Translations in Kazakhstan to produce anthologies of works of Kazakh poetry and prose that were translated into the English from the Russian (after, in some/many cases, having been translated from the Kazakh to the Russian); the anthologies were commissioned by Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Culture and Sport and are available for free download… and, finally, to end on an unusual note, poet and translator Katherine Young translated a very interesting-looking calendar: Boris Pasternak: A Poetic Calendar 2020, from B.S.G.-Press Book Company. The calendar contains poems as well as commentary and background by Natalya Ivanova. There’s an article about the Russian-language version of the calendar here.

Disclaimers and disclosures: The usual. I’ve received some of the books on the list from publishers and/or translators and I know many of the translators. Thank you to Hilah Kohen for compiling her list for Meduza! (I wish I’d remembered to use it earlier in my collection process!)

Up Next: Biographies (Brik and Erofeev), two books in English (soon, really!), and then a novel.


  1. You can also have a look at Russian-to-English Translation in our online Magazine Four Centuries. Russian Poetry in Translation: Our Magazine has been published since 2012, Issue 22 is going to come out in December 2019.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Perelmuter, I'm sure this will be of interest to other readers!

  2. Thank you for including the Central Asian bonus section! That's above and beyond your mission of tracking Russian literature, and I appreciate it.

    1. Thank you for our comment, fairvega! I like to include a bonus each year and this time around it was your work that inspired me -- congratulations on all your books!

  3. I also want to thank you for including Central Asian literatures. All these texts definitely engage with the Russian literary tradition in various ways, so they certainly find a good home here.

    I wanted to add that I (Christopher Fort) had another translation from Uzbek come out earlier this year that hasn't gotten as much press. It's "The Eternal Wanderer" by Isajon Sulton, Blind Owl, 2019. It's here:

  4. I also wanted to thank you for adding Central Asian literatures to your list. These authors all engage with the Russian literary tradition, so they find a good home here.

    I wanted to add that I (Christopher Fort) also have another translation from Uzbek out this year. It hasn't gotten as much press. It's "The Eternal Wanderer" by Isajon Sulton, Blind Owl (an imprint of Mazda Publishers), 2019. It can be found here:

    1. Thank you for your comment, Christopher! And thank you for mentioning The Eternal Wanderer. I'm very, very poorly read in Central Asian literatures, which, along with what you mention about Russian literary traditions, makes me especially curious about the books you and Shelley (among others) have been translating. I hope what appears to be a small boom not only continues but expands!