Showing posts from December, 2011

Victor Pelevin's The Hall of the Singing Caryatids

In this surreal story by Victor Pelevin, young Lena is employed to stand naked for hours at a time and sing.
She and her fellow caryatids are green-painted ornaments in the malachite hall of an elite underground nightclub. To enable them to keep sufficiently still for up to two days, they are given doses of a classified serum, Mantis-B, whose unusual side-effects form the thrust of the narrative.
In true postmodern style, these drug-induced episodes are interspersed with other voices: pseudo-pretentious extracts from the magazine Counterculture; a lecture from an ideologist; and encounters with other bizarre denizens of this subterranean world, such as concept artists, girls dressed as mermaids, important clients in bathrobes and the sinister, ironic, slogan-toting Uncle Pete.
The caryatids come to life if a client wishes them to and no fantasy is too excessive. The hired ideologist tells the sex workers that enemies are trying to brainwash them with a sense of economic injustice by p…

Leo Tolstoy: The Devil

A brilliant career lay before Eugene Iretnev. He had everything necessary to attain it: an admirable education at home, high honours when he graduated in law at Petersburg University, and connexions in the highest society through his recently deceased father; he had also already begun service in one of the Ministries under the protection of the minister. Moreover he had a fortune; even a large one, though insecure. His father had lived abroad and in Petersburg, allowing his sons, Eugene and Andrew (who was older than Eugene and in the Horse Guards), six thousand rubles a year each, while he himself and his wife spent a great deal. He only used to visit his estate for a couple of months in summer and did not concern himself with its direction, entrusting it all to an unscrupulous manager who also failed to attend to it, but in whom he had complete confidence. After the father’s death, when the brothers began to divide the property, so many debts were discovered that their lawyer even a…

Anna Netrebko - Lucia di Lammermoor - Mad Scene - 2009


Alexander Pushkin: The Memorial

Beyond compare the monument I have erected,
And to this spirit column well-worn the people's path,—
Its head defiant will out-soar that famous pillar
  The Emperor Alexander hath! I shall not vanish wholly,—No! but young forever
My spirit will live on, within my lyre will ring,
And men within this world shall hold me in remembrance
  While yet one Singer lives to sing. My glory shall in future fly through distant Russia,
Each race in its own tongue shall name me far and wide,
The Slav, the Finn, the Kalmyk, all shall know me—
  The Tungoose in his reindeer hide. Among my people I shall be long loved and cherished,
Because their noblest instincts I have e'er inflamed,
In evil hours I lit their hearts with fires of freedom,
  And never for their pleasures blamed. O Muse, pursue the calling of thy Gods forever!
Strive not for the garland, nor look upon the pain—
Unmoved support the voice of scorn or of laudation,
  And argument with Fools disdain!
Translated by Martha Gilbert Dickinson Bianchi

Russian Booker of the Decade Finds its Winner

The Russian Booker Prize of the Decade, a prestigious literary award, has been given to a Russian writer Aleksander Chudakov, posthumously. The award ceremony took place on December 1, in the "Golden Ring" hotel. The professional jury consisted of 33 members announced the book Haze Sets upon the Old Steps by Aleksander Chudakov as the Russian Book of the Decade. Aleksander Pavlovich Chudakov is a philologist, most famous for his researches of Anton Chekhov's creativity. He was also a publisher and an editor of Yury Tynyanov's works. Chudakov published his first autobiographic novel in 2000, in "Znamya" ("Banner") literary journal. He died in 2005. The "Students' Booker of the Decade" was given to Tatyana Tolstaya for her scandalous novel Kys'. The laureate was chosen by the students of Russian Universities. About 60 books pretended to be given the main prize. The jury picked the short-list of five finalists, which included …

"Big Book-2011" Was Chosen Yesterday

Laureates of the prestigious "Big Book-2011" literary award were announced on November 29, in Moscow.

The first prize was given to Mikhail Shishkin for his book "Pismovnik". The second award was given to Vladimir Sorokin for "Metel" ("The Snowstorm") and Dmitry Bykov was named the third winner for his novel "Ostromov ili Uchenik Charodeya" ("Ostromov or the Wizard's Pupil"). All the three winners will be presented with cash awards. Award's fund is estimated at 5,5, million roubles, and 3 millions of that sum is supposed to be given to the first award's laureate. On November 23, a laureate of the "Big Book" people's choice online voting was also announced. Readers chose Mikhail Shishik with his "Pismopvnik", the choice which later was supported by the professional jury. The short-list of the award consisted of ten finalists. The full list of them you can see here (in Russian). Besides …