Sergei Dovlatov’s ‘Pushkin Hills’ reviewed by David Rothenberg

“Dovlatov?  You’ve never heard of him?!  But he was published in The New Yorker!” So a Siberian scientist explained to me at a café in Tartu four years ago.  No I had not heard of Sergei Dovlatov.  I thought I knew all the Russian emigré writers who made it to the big time in the USA,…

David Rothenberg | 21/06/2014
Kapka Kassabova

Ian Mole reviews Kapka Kassabova’s ‘Street Without a Name’

Rating:

This very enjoyable and informative book was among the first I ever read about Bulgaria. I knew one of the Wombles was called Uncle Bulgaria and a few other facts about the country too.  There was also a great deal that I didn’t know so I now feel that Bulgaria has been opened up to…

Ian Mole | 20/06/2014
Corneliu Popescu

‘Buried’ A short story from Romania, by Mike Ormsby

43 Celsius: the hottest day of the year so far. I decide to walk up town, just to see how it feels. No point hiding indoors, better to adapt, that’s how humans survive. Plus, there is something I need to do – find out about Romanian writers. The Internet helps, but not much; Wikipedia offers…

Mike Ormsby | 07/06/2014
Deyan Enev, photo by Justine Тoms, via Wikimedia Commons

Ian Mole reviews ‘Circus Bulgaria’ by Deyan Enev

                  Circus Bulgaria is a collection of fifty short stories, some of them less than two pages long and many of them like postcards from a place that’s way past its best, the protagonists often struggling to survive in difficult circumstances. Although there is no definite time-reference…

Ian Mole | 07/06/2014
Mikhail Shiskin - image by Efrolkina

Eugenia Ellanskaya sees novelist Mikhail Shishkin at Pushkin House

Mikhail Shishkin is considered to be one of the most outstanding Russian writers today. A winner of all major literary awards in Russia, he nonetheless remains surprisingly unknown to many readers both in Russia and abroad. With five novels and two short-stories produced in the past twenty years, his books have now been translated into…

Eugenia Ellanskaya | 24/05/2014
Courtyard of 59 Népszinház, viewed from top floor

‘The Yellow Star Houses of Budapest’, by Nick Barlay.

I first saw the bullet holes in 1978, when I was 15 years old. They were dotted around the wall, at knee height, just inside the main entrance of 59, Népszinház Street, a large three-storey block of flats in Budapest’s poorer Eighth District. This was where my father had lived as a child. He and…

Nick Barlay | 24/05/2014
images

Darragh McKeon – All That is Solid Melts into Air: Reviewed by Jonathan Karstadt

On gazing at a ward full of young children born with horrific defects due to fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, Grigory Brovkin is preoccupied with the “beauty and ugliness resting within the single body of a diseased infant. The two faces of nature brought into stark relief.” Such contrasts are manifold in the story of Grigory; we…

Robin Ashenden | 29/04/2014