Friday, December 31, 2021

Wishing You a Happy 2022 With 2021’s New Translations!

I decided to wind up posting for 2021 the same way I did last year: with my annual post listing new translations rather than musings on favorites. By late December, I’m already tired of “this year’s books” lists: the only one I ever look forward to is Languagehat’s, for The Millions, so here’s 2021, where I share Hat’s enthusiasm for José Vergara’s All Future Plunges to the Past, which I’ll still be reading for some time, along with Ulysses. This year was such an odd reading year to begin with that I didn’t feel like reminding myself of how many books I didn’t finish! I’m wishing myself better luck next year on that score.

As for this year’s list of translations, to repeat a comment from last year, hmmmm. This year’s total of 39 38 37 is down from last year’s 49. That’s no surprise. Some sites (more and more, it seems) loathe searches and chronological sorting, making it harder to find books. Plus this seemingly never-ending pandemic has affected the publishing industry in lots of ways that slow down production. And then there are titles that I left out because even though the books look like translations, the listings don’t say they’re translations and there’s nothing to look inside on Amazon. Some of those books may be added later. Then there’s the fact that I always just plain miss things, though I collect titles all year. As in years past, I’ve included books of all genres, for all ages. I should mention, too, that I’m grateful for Alexandra Guzeva’s list of “10 best Russian books published in English in 2021” for Russia Beyond: it saved me some time looking for listings.

As with Russian literary awards, women writers are underrepresented on this list, at roughly one third (+1 as of 1/1/22), with three from Maria Stepanova, though she and the other women on the list make me feel better about the numbers because they’re so many good choices. On the bright side: this year’s fraction is certainly better than last year’s total of about nine woman writers for forty-nine titles. (Counts are always weird because of anthologies.) There are lots of classics this year, too… but also some good, varied, contemporary choices.

And now, for real excitement, I’ll paste in my annual inventory of caveats… This list is just a start; I’m always happy to add titles I’ve missed. I may have missed a lot. Okay, I’m sure I’ve missed a bunch! Please add a comment or e-mail me with changes/errors or additions; my address is on the sidebar. NB: I list only new translations. I’ll place a link to this post on the sidebar of the blog for easy reference. I’m taking names and titles for 2022 now, so please start sending them in. Finally, don’t forget the Self-Published Translation post, here: If you have a book to add, please add it in a comment on that page and I’ll be happy to approve it.

Finally, very best wishes for 2022 to everyone! Here’s wishing all of you lots more good books to read in the new year! Happy New Year! C Новым Годом!

Afanasev, A.N.: The Complete Folktales of A. N. Afanas’ev, Volume III, Edited by Jack V. Haney, with Sibelan Forrester; University Press of Mississippi.

Archipriest Avvakum: The Life Written by Himself, translated by Kenneth N. Brostrom; Russian Library/Columbia University Press. This book has lots of helpful apparatus material; I’m looking forward to finally sitting down, by myself, to read it soon.

Baiburin, Albert: The Soviet Passport, translated by Stephen Dalziel; Polity Press.

Barskova, Polina: Air Raid, translated by Valzhyna Mort; a bilingual edition from Ugly Duckling Presse.

Bely, Andrei: The Symphonies, translated by Jonathan Stone; Russian Library/Columbia University Press.

Berberova, Nina: The Last and the First, translated by Marian Schwartz; Pushkin Press.

Bibikhin, Vladimir: The Woods, translated by Arch Tait; Polity.

Bulgakov, Sergius: The Eucharistic Sacrifice, translated by Mark Roosien; Notre Dame Press.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor: A Bad Business: Essential Stories, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater; Pushkin Press.

Etkind, Alexander: Nature’s Evil: A Cultural History of Natural Resources, translated by Sara Jolly; Polity.

Filipenko, Sasha: Red Crosses, translated by Brian James Baer and Ellen Vayner; Europa Editions, 2021.

Gazdanov, Gaito: An Evening with Claire, translated by Bryan Karetnyk; Pushkin Press.

Gonik, Vladimir: Orchestra, translated by Christopher Culver; Glagoslav.

Lebedev, Sergei: Untraceable, translated by Antonina W. Bouis; New Vessel Press. I read this psychological thriller in Russian and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lipskerov, Dmitry: The Tool & The Butterflies, translated by Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler and Reilly Costigan-Humes; Deep Vellum.

Mandelstam, Osip: Black Earth, translated by Peter France; New Directions.

Panchenko, Constantin: Orthodoxy and Islam in the Middle East, translated by Brittany Pheiffer Noble and Samuel Noble; Holy Trinity Publications.

Petrushevskaya, Ludmila: The New Adventures of Helen, translated by Jane Bugaeva; Deep Vellum. Thanks to Jane’s exuberant translations, these stories are so much fun I’ve been rationing them, reading just one at a time.

Pilnyak, Boris: Ivan Moscow, translated by A. Schwartzman; Sublunary Editions, July 2021. According to Sublunary Editions: “Our text is a revised version of A. Schwartzman’s translation of the book (Boston: Christopher Publishing House, 1935).” The fact of this book makes me want to go on a Pilnyak kick. 

Pushkin, Alexander: The Captain’s Daughter: Essential Stories, translated by Anthony Briggs; published, appropriately enough, by Pushkin Press.

Radkevic, Kristina: The Hidden Talent of Phoenix Fox, translated by the author; Wacky Bee. A children’s book with illustrations by Radkevic.

Remizov, Alexei: The Little Devil and Other Stories, translated by Antonina W. Bouis; Russian Library/Columbia University Press.

Ryzov, Igor: The Kremlin School of Negotiation, translated by Alex Fleming; Canongate.

Sharov, Vladimir: Be as Children, translated by Oliver Ready; Dedalus Books, 2021.

Shklovsky, Viktor: On the Theory of Prose, translated by Shushan Avagyan; Dalkey Archive Press, October 2021

Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr: March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 3, translated by Marian Schwartz; Notre Dame Press.

Stepanova, Maria: War of the Beasts and the Animals, translated by Sasha Dugdale; Bloodaxe.

Stepanova, Maria: In Memory of Memory, translated by Sasha Dugdale; Fitzcarraldo (UK) and New Directions (US).

Stepanova, Maria: The Voice Over: Poems and Essays, edited by Irina Shevelenko with translations by Alexandra Berlina, Sasha Dugdale, Sibelan Forrester, Amelia Glaser, Zachary Murphy King, Dmitry Manin, Ainsley Morse, Eugene Ostashevsky, Andrew Reynolds, and Maria Vassileva; Russian Library/Columbia University Press. I’ve enjoyed my unmethodical reading from this collection.

Tarkovsky, Arseny: Solar Eclipse 1914, translated by Peter Oram with an introduction by Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski; Arc Publications, 2021.

Teffi: Other Worlds: Peasants, Pilgrims, Spirits, Saints, edited by Robert Chandler, translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler, as well as (according to this review by Anna Razumnaya for Los Angeles Review of Books) Sara Jolly, Anne Marie Jackson, Nicholas Pasternak Slater, Sabrina Jaszi, "and a number of others" whom I will try to identify; New York Review Books.

Tsvetaeva, Marina: Poem of the End: Six Narrative Poems, translated by Nina Kossman; Shearsman Press, October 2021.

Tynyanov, Yury: The Death of Vazir-Mukhtar, translated by Anna Kurkina Rush and Christopher Rush; Russian Library/Columbia University Press.

Tynianov, Yuri: Küchlya: Decembrist Poet, translated by Anna Kurkina Rush, Peter France, and Christopher Rush; Academic Studies Press.

Ulitskaya, Ludmila: Just the Plague, translated by Polly Gannon; Granta, September 2021.

Various: White Magic, translated by Muireann Maguire; Russian Life. Thirteen stories, from Amfiteatrov to Zamyatin.

Various: The Trans-Siberian Railway, translated by Jane Bugaeva; Thames & Hudson. Just the few online “gallery” pages for this book by Anna Desnitskaya and Aleksandra Litvina make me miss Russian train trips.

Yakovleva, Yulia: Punishment of a Hunter, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp; Pushkin Press/Vertigo; 2021. I read this enjoyable, atmospheric, historical detective novel in 2017 (previous post).

Yusupova, Lida: The Scar We Know, translated by Ainsley Morse; Cicada Press. Bilingual edition with an introduction by Oksana Vasyakina.

Bonus listing: The Wayland Rudd Collection, from Ugly Duckling Presse “presents artist Yevgeniy Fiks’s archive of Soviet media images of Africans and African Americans—from propaganda posters to postage stamps—mainly related to African liberation movements and civil rights struggles. Meditations, reflections, and research-based essays by scholars, poets, and artists address the complicated intersection of race and Communist internationalism, with particular focus on the Soviet Union’s critique of systemic racism in the US.”

Disclaimers and Disclosures: The usual, including knowing/working with some of the publishers and translators listed in this post.

Up Next: Books by Dmitry Danilov and Kirill Ryabov, which both offer comic relief. And Leonid Yuzefovich’s The Philhellene. Maybe a bit on Alexander Belyaev’s The Air Seller, which held my interest most for its oddities, including the weirdest ending I’ve read in a long time. Pop!

Image credit: Fireworks in Bratislava, New Year 2005, from Ondrejk, via Wikipedia.


  1. A fascinating batch, and especially encouraging because the closest thing to "not another version!" is the Pushkin, and that's not very close at all. The Dostoevsky includes wonderful stories that I'll bet few English-speaking readers have come across. No Crime and Punishment, no Anna Karenina, lots of things that definitely deserve their appearance in English. Thanks as always for taking the trouble to provide the list!

    the only one I ever look forward to is Languagehat’s, for The Millions

    And thanks for that as well. I confess my own contribution is usually the only one I read in full; I generally make an effort to look at some of the others, but they almost all tend to be of the form "What a terrible year we've been through [insert personal anecdotes and thoughts]; here are some of the books that have given me hope [etc.] this past year..." And neither the books nor the descriptions generally grab me. I myself try to write about interesting books as interestingly as I can, and keep myself out of it. I'm just sorry they seem to have made it more difficult to leave comments -- I used to get a fair number, but now I'm lucky if there's one.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Languagehat! It's funny that you had that reaction (none of the Big Classics retranslated) to the list: I was thinking the same thing. That said, I haven't looked into the collections much so am glad to hear you think they look interesting. I'll have a better look today! (Last week was a bit hectic, finishing up work and doing my weekend household chores early so I an enjoy the foggy, drizzly weekend... I'm still feeling a bit sleepy!)

      It's even funnier that you have that particular reaction to end-of-year lists. There seems to be a my-favorite-books or the-best-books list for any occasion these days; I guess I'm opting out of that genre because I so rarely read them. Other than yours.

      Happy 2022! Here's to more good books for all.

  2. Thanks for this wonderful list - some translations I'd missed and like Languagehat I think it's great to see new works rather than rehashes of the same old titles. Happy new year!

    1. And thank you for your comment, kaggsy! Happy new year to you, too, may you find lots of good books to read!