Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category
In Martin Cruz Smith’s Three Stations, Arkady Kyrilovich Renko, Senior Investigator of Important Cases, may be nearing the end of his career. He has a bitter enemy in Prosecutor Zurin, who detests Renko’s tendency to “disregard orders and overstep [his] authority.” Zurin “exemplified the modest ambition of a cork…. He floated and survived.” When Renko and his perennially inebriated buddy, Sergeant Victor Orlov (“the smell of vodka came off him like heat from a stove”) look into the suspicious death of a beautiful young woman, they are ordered to declare the case a drug overdose and drop the matter. Ever the maverick, Renko decides to find the killer and worry about the consequences later.
Akashic Books has become the Starbucks of noir, with new locations in their Noir Series franchise opening every day. Moscow Noir is a story collection set in Moscow. Each story is set in a particular location in the city, and there is a small, hand-drawn map at the beginning showing where these neighborhoods are. These particular stories are originally in Russian, each translated into English for the collection.
Leo Tolstoy famously opened Anna Karenina with the observation that, â€śAll happy families are all alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.â€ť He was 45 when he wrote that. Thirty-seven years later, at age 82, he would die at the remote Astapovo train station, not far from his home, after fleeing, in the middle of the night, his estranged wife of 48 years, abandoning his family, his wealth, and setting out to live the life of a wandering ascetic. Ironically, he fulfilled the observation that his family was, indeed, singularly unhappy.
Baba Yaga is a star player in Eastern European myths. The Russian version involves a crackly old witch ready to spark terror in childrenâ€™s hearts. Croatian author Dubravka Ugresic, in her wonderful book, BABA YAGA LAID AND EGG, lays out modern-day interpretations of this age-old myth. These â€świtches,â€ť Ugresic tells us, are all around usâ€”old women limbs curling from arthritis, shuffling along, waiting, pondering the end of their lives. The book is laid out in three sectionsâ€”each a different take on the myth.
February 3, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Aging, Canongate, Croatia, Dubravka Ugresic, Myth Â· Posted in: Allegory/Fable, Croatia, End-of-Life, James Tiptree Winner, Literary, Russia, Translated, World Lit
Simon Montefiore is a Russian historian and an award-winning author of history books on the subject of Stalin and Potemkin. With SASHENKA, Mr. Montefiore has applied his vast knowledge to historical fiction. His expertise really enhances this novel, filled with characters that come to life on the page, along with an absorbing and moving storyline that spans the end of Russia’s Tsarist regime, the Bolshevik Revolution, life under Lenin and Stalin, and, finally, to 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The narrator of Therouxâ€™s post-apocalyptic novel, FAR NORTH, Makepeace Hatfield (who lives up to the name), is the last survivor of an immigrant Siberian community â€“ a place Makepeaceâ€™s British parents had come to to escape the material world. But the rescue of a starving waif awakens Makepeaceâ€™s longing for companionship, love and civilization, spurring the road trip that drives the novel.