Articles Tagged ‘Shishkin’

"How Russians Lost the War" by Mikhail Shishkin

"How Russians Lost the War," Mikhail Shishkin's op-ed piece on the occasion of Victory Day (New York Times, March 10, 2015) explains the grievous truth that the unimaginable sacrifices made by the Russian people during World War II did not, in the end, bring them victory.  They saved themselves from hitler only to remain in Stalin's thrall: "The great victory only reinforced their great slavery."

Stalin and the Soviet Union are gone, but the war's legacy is very much present: "Once again, the dictatorship is calling on its subjects to defend the homeland, mercilessly exploiting the propaganda of victory in the Great Patriotic War. Russia's rulers have stolen my people's oil, stolen their elections, stolen their country. And stolen their victory."

Read the complete essay here.

12 Contemporary Russian Books Everyone Should Read--Including Envy and Maidenhair

maidenhairThe Culture Trip has posted Varia Fedko-Blake's annotated list of the twelve Russian must-reads--and they are all, indeed, must-reads, including Victor Pelevin's Omon Ra and Andrey Platonov's Foundation Pit.  I was delighted to see that she included two books in my translation as well, Yuri Olesha's Envy and Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair. One quibble, though: by most definitions, more than one of these books are anything but "contemporary." Envy was written in 1927 and The Foundation Pit in 1930, though the latter wasn't published until 1987, due to Soviet censorship. Strictly contemporary or not, it's a bang-up list, an excellent starting place for your adventure in Russian literature.

Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories, by Mikhail Shishkin

calligraphylessoncoverCalligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories

by Mikhail Shishkin

Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz, Leo Shtutin, Sylvia Maizell, and Mariya Bashkatova

Deep Vellum Publishing, 2015

Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories is the first English-language collection of short stories by Mikhail Shishkin, the most acclaimed contemporary author in Russia, including four stories that have been published in various English-language sources (Words Without Borders, Read Russia Anthology, Spolia, the Independent) and four previously untranslated stories (including two previously unpublished in any language). Shishkin was the first (and still the only) writer to win the three major Russian literary awards (the Russian Booker, National Bestseller, and Big Book awards). He is a master prose writer in the timeless, breathtakingly beautiful style of the greatest Russian writers, such as Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Bunin, and Boris Pasternak.

PRAISE FOR THE TRANSLATION

". . . the artfulness of this translation helps it to surmount Shishkin's own claim that languages cannot communicate with each other."  -- Caroline North, Dallas Observer

REVIEWS

To purchase, click here.

Deep Vellum Publishes Mikhail Shishkin's "Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories"

calligraphylessoncoverCalligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories, by Mikhail Shishkin, has just been published by that exciting new indie publisher Deep Vellum, out of Dallas--yes, Dallas.

Four of the eight pieces were translated by me, including the title story, "Calligraphy Lesson," along with "Language Saved," "The Blind Musician," and "In a Boat Scratched on a Wall." The remaining four were translated by my fine colleagues Leo Shtutin, Sylvia Maizell, and Mariya Bashkatova.

Shishkin was the first (and still the only) writer to win the three major Russian literary awards (the Russian Booker, National Bestseller, and Big Book Awards). He is a master prose writer in the timeless, breathtakingly beautiful style of the greatest Russian writers, such as Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Bunin, and Boris Pasternak. Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories will be Shishkin's third work available in English, previously published were his novels Maidenhair (Open Letter) and The Light and the Dark (Quercus).

To order your copy, click here.

Post Says It's Time To Read Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair

maidenhairAccording to Chad Post, writing in Publishers Weekly,  Maidenhair is one of the twenty best books you've never read:

One of the best books I've read in the past decade, Maidenhair is the sort of densely beautiful book where, after reading 50 pages, you may not know what's going on—there are three distinct storylines, all of which bounce off one another, without completely connecting until the very end—but you'll know that what you're reading is an absolute masterpiece of world literature.

Time to fix that!

Full disclosure: Maidenhair was published by Chad Post's fine publishing house, Open Letter Books.

Reading Shishkin at Malvern Books

calligraphylessoncoverLast month I had the great pleasure of doing a reading of "Calligraphy Lesson," a story by Mikhail Shishkin, which first appeared on Words Without Borders and was published this year in Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories, published by Deep Vellum.

The reading was especially enjoyable because I shared the bill with Marcela Sulak, who was launching her new book of poetry translation, Twenty Girls To Envy Me, so the audience certainly got to hear a range of material!

Now Austin's excellent Malvern Books, which hosted the event, has posted a video of the reading, which you can enjoy by clicking here.

Shishkin Collection Attracts Year-End Attention

calligraphylessoncoverAs 2015 draws to a close, Mikhail Shishkin's Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories (Deep Vellum), has been getting some lovely attention.  

World Literature Today has put it on its list of 75 Notable Translations of 2015, and Russia Beyond the Headlines has added it to its "Christmas Feast of Russian Books." Phoebe Taplin writes:

Marian Schwartz and others have translated these works, which are "the perfect introduction to Russia's greatest... contemporary author." The 1993 short story "Calligraphy Lesson" was Shishkin's first published work. Like the narrator in Maidenhair, legal scribe and calligraphy teacher Evgeny hears harrowing stories every day and transmutes them into art. The most recent piece in the book, "Nabokov's Inkblot" written in 2013, is an accessible tale of money, culture and compromise. Along with stories, in Shishkin's characteristically dense and allusive prose, there are autobiographical fragments, like "The Half-Belt Overcoat", which revisits his mother's death and the process of writing The Taking of Izmail, due out in English next year. The volume ends with the breathtakingly brilliant essay on language, "In a Boat Scratched on a Wall", where the author argues for the redemptive power of literature, "a link between two worlds."

 

  • 2017cover
  • Anna_Karenina_cover
  • Dashkova-Madness-Treads-Lightly-cover
  • Gelasimov_Rachel_Cover
  • Into-the-Thickening-Fog-cover
  • PlayingAPart_cover
  • Walpurgis Night cover
  • accompanist cover
  • billancourtpbcover
  • black_square
  • bookofhappiness cover
  • bulgakovwhiteguardcover
  • calligraphylessoncover
  • capeofstorms cover
  • godsofthesteppecover
  • harlequins_costume
  • lotmancover
  • maidenhair
  • mamleyev sublimes cover
  • oblomov yale cover
  • tatteredcloak cover
  • the_lying_year
  • thirst