Russian Winter is a weighty, melancholy novel that weaves together the stories of three very different characters in two very different locales. In this, her second work of fiction, Daphne Kalotay manages to make cold war Moscow and present day Boston equally real and equally mysterious. The ghost of the fallen Soviet Union haunts Russian Winter, much like Kalotay’s characters are haunted by their own pasts. The star of the book is Nina Revskaya, an aging ballerina who defected from Soviet Russia in the 1950s.
Posts Tagged ‘Issue 2’
Please Take Me Off the Guest List is the latest in a series of collaborations between Brooklyn writer, bartender, and musician Zack Lipez, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, and book designer Stacy Wakefield. The book’s title is a more benevolent plea than the one made by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain in the title of their seminal oral history of New York’s 1970s punk scene: Please Kill Me. This discrepancy isn’t surprising. The city’s a different place these days. The cokeheads are doing yoga, the punk kids shop at Ikea, the bars are blissfully free of smoke, and bad neighborhoods are harder to come by. But the joyfully decrepit, the unsanitary, the backwaters of a spit-shined New York are still here, unrelenting and proud, regretful and fucked up, still waiting for that special someone.
Interviewed by Deborah Bennett
Daphne Kalotay, the critically acclaimed short story writer, has turned her attention toward the novel with stunning results. The highly anticipated Russian Winter is set for release in September of this year and is forthcoming in seventeen foreign editions. The story alternates between modern-day Boston and post-WWII Moscow. Continue reading "Daphne Kalotay"…
March 16th, 2007. The author lies bound in a cargo bed, his two colleagues placed similarly by his side, having been taken prisoner by a group of Taliban eleven days earlier. All three are surrounded by young Taliban soldiers with large guns, parked among one of the countless fields of tall opium poppies that stare sunward in the dry heat of southern Afghanistan. It is nearly harvest season; the ubiquitous flowers bloom in a psychedelic crown atop bulbous heads. At the correct moment, vehicles are started and driven for a stretch to a deserted patch along the Helmand River, where the prisoners are unloaded along the riverbank:
In the name of Allah Most High and All-Merciful, Sayed Agha, Ajmal Naqshbandi, and Daniele Mastrogiacomo are sentenced to death for acts of espionage within Taliban territories.
I first heard the name Gerbrand Bakker this spring in Fenway Park. The Red Sox were playing Tampa Bay, and the Dutch Fulbright student sitting beside me was raving about a novel called Boven is het Stil. Perhaps like most people who are barely familiar with Benelux literature, I was expecting him to name something by Gerrit Achterberg. When he didn’t, I let Gerbrand Bakker’s name slip from my mind. But now, having read The Twin, David Colmer’s spell-binding translation of Boven is het Stil, I am beginning to understand the excitement around Bakker’s new IMPAC Dublin award-winning novel set in the damp and muck of a North Holland farm.
Elias Khoury introduces this novel in a curious fashion, when his narrator confesses that it “may not be of particular interest to readers, as people these days have more important things to do than read stories or listen to tales.” He is forthcoming in admitting that the story bears no satisfying resolution. These initial disclaimers tease the reader into suspecting an undue modesty on the part of the author, perhaps even outright deception—suspicions that inevitably piques one’s interest. Such modesty would be admirable, if it didn’t turn out to be true.
How many ways can a person experience a work of art without deviating from the intended truth of the canvas or the page? How can we give ourselves over to the artist and leave our egos behind? Is there truth in art, and if so what kind of truth and where? Quim Monzó’s novel, Gasoline—published in Spain in 1983 and recently translated from Catalan to English—takes on these questions in its opening scene, setting the tone for the pages that follow. Continue reading "Self-Creating Prophecy"…
From the paperback edition of The Unknown Knowns by Jeffrey Rotter. Visit the Museum of the Aquatic Ape to take a virtual tour of Nautika, view their collected works, and browse the gift shop where you can buy the book. Visit Jeffrey at The Books of Rotter.
Comic art copyright © 2010 by Margaret McCartney.
Tyrannicide and its philosophical ramifications might appear to be the sole thematic anchor within Jerzy Pilch’s recently translated novel, A Thousand Peaceful Cities. Continue reading "It Takes a Village to Kill a Tyrant"…
The commencement speech given by novelist Porochista Khakpour to the graduating high school seniors of Desert Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 27 May, 2010.