NYRB Classics £8.99 (228pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Memories of the Future, By Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Friday 08 January 2010
For anyone enthralled by the satirical avant-garde that briefly shone on the fringes of Soviet culture in the 1920s, here's a revelation. Krzhizhanovsky somehow scraped a living in post-revolution Moscow as he wrote stories infused by a disturbing surrealism.
Joanne Turnbull's fine translations of seven won the Rossica Prize, and this edition should gain them a flock of new fans. Forget "socialist realism": neither term remotely fits a grotesque comedy capturing the plight of "crossed-out" marginal people, who cling on in an age not of utopia but absurdity.
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