A New Chapter. Part 1
Russian Writing from the 21st Century
‘A New Chapter’ is a special double issue of ROSSICA published to mark the occasion of Russia’s Guest of Honour status at the London Book Fair, an unprecedented event which brought 50 leading Russian writers to Britain. These two ROSSICAs set out to capture the range and depth of the literary scene in Russia, featuring well-established authors such as Vladimir Makanin and Olga Slavnikova alongside promising newcomers such as Evgeny Vodolazkin, Anna Starobinets and Zakhar Prilepin. In order to put this diversity in context, we open this issue with ‘Kludge’ a special overview of the last decade in Russian books authored by Russia’s most widely-read and most astute literary critic, Lev Danilkin.
Russian literature is renowned for its profound seriousness and engagement in ideas: this tradition certainly continues in the work of Makanin, and other novelists of ideas, such as Mikhail Shishkin. However, we are determined to show the enormous scope of literature in Russia today and so we are pleased to have the opportunity here to introduce English-speaking readers to those Russian authors who are bringing a quality literary sensibility to genre fiction, such as ‘Queen of Crime’ Polina Dashkova and Dmitry Kosyrev, who writes high-octane spy stories with an Oriental twist under the pseudonym Master Chen. These volumes make no claim to being a comprehensive overview. Authors that are well-known to Western audiences, such as Boris Akunin and Victor Pelevin, have not been included in order to give us a chance to shine a spotlight on writers that are either just beginning their careers or are under-represented in translation, such as Mikhail Gigolashvili or Pavel Pepperstein.
ROSSICAs 21 and 22 would not have been possible if it were not for the effort and talents of all those involved: the literary agents, publishers and translators,
not to mention the authors themselves. This has truly been a collaborative effort and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped make it a reality.
Svetlana A. Adjoubei
Director, Academia Rossica
How Noughties literature became something it should never have become
33 Underground or a Hero of Our Time (extract)
43 Sin – A Novel in Short Stories (extract)
57 A Light Head (extract)
67 Matisse (extract)
77 The Fount of Happiness (extract)
89 The Devil’s Wheel (extract)
97 A Prague Night (extract)
113 The writers