Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 34.
- Review Date: 2009-07-13
- Reviewer: Staff
The current state of Russian identity—artistic, political, social and beyond—is vigorously examined in this anthology, offering readers a multifaceted portrait of the complex nation, from short, poetic pieces like Oleg Zobern's “Bregovich's Sixth Journey,” to nearly journalistic narratives like Arkady Babchenko's powerful and harrowing remembrance of the Chechen war (“The Diesel Stop”). The dreams and fears of young and old are included—Roman Senchin's “History” follows a retired and politically indifferent professor who gets caught up in a mass arrest of protesters and subsequently must wake up to the oppressive realities of his country, and Anna Starobinet's “Rules” is a whimsical and poignant sketch of a frighteningly perceptive boy. The editors point out that the stories “fall broadly into the category of what can be referred to as New Russian Realism.” This realism, though, leaves plenty of room for surreal and dryly humorous perspectives (such as Kirill Ryabov's “Spit” and Vadim Kalinin's “The Unbelievable and Tragic Story of Misha Shtrikov and His Cruel Wife”). This is a truly diverse series of revelations. (Oct.)