Ismail Kadare: Kur sunduesit grinden (A Dictator Calls)

The latest addition to my website is Ismail Kadare‘s Kur sunduesit grinden (A Dictator Calls). Kadare had spent some time studying in Moscow where he heard the story about the call Stalin made to Boris Pasternak in 1934 about fellow poet Osip Mandelstam. Mandelstam had been arrested (for writing poems critical of Stalin)and Stalin asked … Read more

Eugene Vodolazkin: Оправдание Острова (A History of the Island)

The latest addition to my website is Eugene Vodolazkin‘s Оправдание Острова (A History of the Island). This is the history of an imaginary island, told both in a series of sometimes contradictory chronicles as well as with commentary by the 347 (sic) year old former royal couple. The story takes us from the early days … Read more

Lyudmila Petrushevskaya: Нас украли. История преступлений (Kidnapped)

The latest addition to my website is Lyudmila Petrushevskaya‘s Нас украли. История преступлений (Kidnapped). Petrushevskaya is best-known for her weird/dark tales and though this is a novel it takes the form of several tales within tales within tales… We start with a man, Sergei Sertsov, who made his fortune (illegally) after the fall of his … Read more

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky: Странствующее Странно (Stravaging Strange)

The latest addition to my website is Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky‘s Странствующее Странно (Stravaging Strange). Stravage is an old Irisih/Scottish word meaning wandering aimlessly. This book consists of three stories (plus a few extras) written in the 1920s but not published in Russian till the 1990s. The first story, the title one, tells of a man who … Read more

Eugenia Kononenko: Російський сюжет (A Russian Story)

The latest addition to my website is Eugenia Kononenko‘s Російський сюжет (A Russian Story). This is the last in my Ukrainian marathon and, despite the title, certainly one that deals best with the issue of Ukrainianness (the word is used in the book). We follow the story of Eugene (Zhenia) Samarsky. He is named Eugene … Read more

Zinaida Tulub: В степу безкраїм за Уралом (The Exile)

The latest addition to my website is Zinaida Tulub‘s В степу безкраїм за Уралом (The Exile). This is novelised biography of the first exile of Ukraine’s national poet Taras Shevchenko. Shevchenko had written a poem which was fairly flattering about the Tsar but far less so about his wife. The Tsar was furious and Shevchenko … Read more