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Memories of the Future

Written by Sigizmund KrzhizhanovskyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
Translated by Joanne TurnbullAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joanne Turnbull
Introduction by Joanne TurnbullAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Joanne Turnbull

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Synopsis

Synopsis

Written in Soviet Moscow in the 1920s—but considered too subversive even to show to a publisher—the seven tales included here attest to Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s boundless imagination, black humor, and breathtaking irony: a man loses his way in the vast black waste of his own small room; the Eiffel Tower runs amok; a kind soul dreams of selling “everything you need for suicide”; an absentminded passenger boards the wrong train, winding up in a place where night is day, nightmares are the reality, and the backs of all facts have been broken; a man out looking for work comes across a line for logic but doesn’t join it as there’s no guarantee the logic will last; a sociable corpse misses his own funeral; an inventor gets a glimpse of the far-from-radiant communist future.
Praise

Praise

"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."  Boyd Tonkin, The Independent


"These dystopic Stalin-era stories...read like dream diaries..." --The New York Times

"Fantastically imaginative, darkly ironic and marvelously crafted, these seven tales written in the 1920s were unpublished during Krzhizhanovsky’s lifetime. Set mostly in Moscow, where the toilsome workdays sap spiritual strength, the stories are about the strange, wondrous and alarming things that can result from a chance encounter...Turnbull’s translation reads wonderfully, capturing the isolation and strangeness of Krzhizhanovsky’s startling stories." --Publishers Weekly

 "A writer visionary, an unsung geniu..." --Georgy Shengeli

"Nightmarish visions and philosophical conundrums explored in highly entertaining, fleet-footed prose... Krzhizhanovsky's whimsical and self-reflexive tales are more likely to strike readers as harbingers of Borges or Calvino." -OLIVER READY, The Times Literary Supplement

"Like Platonov, Krzhizhanovsky is a poker-faced surrealist whose imagination is so radical it goes beyond political lampoon into the realms of metaphysical assault. But Krzhizhanovsky’s writing is more in the fantastical modernist mode of Jorge Luis Borges and Stanislaw Lem–he works out the eccentric premises of his plot with a relentless cogency..." --Bill Marx, WBUR.fm

"Krzhizhanovsky is often compared to Borges, Swift, Poe, Gogol, Kafka, and Beckett, yet his fiction relies on its own special mixture of heresy and logic...phantasmagoric..." --Natasha Randall, Bookforum

“Curiously, one of the most startling qualities of his work is the directness with which it addresses our 21st century concerns. It’s as if the Soviet editors were right: Krzhizhanovsky now seems more our contemporary than theirs...His stories, like those of Jorge Luis Borges, are closer to poetry and philosophy than to the realistic novel...It is now clear that Krzhizhanovsky is one of the greatest Russian writers of the last century.” –Robert Chandler, Financial Times

"Delightful to read, humorous, sad and meaningful...His work, subtly subversive, as his editor rightly calls it, only started to be published as a whole in 1989, when what might be described as all the usual suspects, Kafka and Borges, Swift, Gogol and of course Samuel Beckett, were promptly trotted out by way of comparison. Krzhizhanovsky has certainly much in common with them, but the flavour and personality of his writing is all his own, as if it were a subdued and friendly personal conversation. His method, as he put it, was not to borrow from reality, but to ask reality for permission to use his own imagination'." –John Bayley, The Spectator

  • Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky; Translated by Joanne Turnbull
  • October 06, 2009
  • Fiction - Short Stories (single author)
  • NYRB Classics
  • $15.95
  • 9781590173190

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