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
limbo compressed

Jonathan Karstadt interviews Czech Jazz Group ‘Limbo’

One thing certain about Limbo is that the Czech band’s name is totally apt. Straddling the border between musical forms and inspirations, the group defies easy classification in terms of musical genre. “None of our music is written down,” explains bassist Taras Vološčuk, “It’s improvised music; at first we wanted to play more free jazz,…

Robin Ashenden | 21/06/2014
Kapka Kassabova

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


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

Jonathan Karstadt reviews Matthew Webb’s ‘Carbon Journey’ exhibition at Pushkin House

The former territory of the Soviet Union is blessed with a wealth of natural resources: Russia alone boasts over 850 million hectares of forest, the world’s largest reserves of natural gas and the second largest reserve of fresh water. However, there has been little effort in the region to preserve this abundance of natural heritage.…

Jonathan Karstadt | 16/06/2014
Claudia Campagnol

Jonathan Karstadt interviews Hungarian jazz singer Claudia Campagnol

I am at the very chic 606 Club in Chelsea, where jazz singer Claudia Campagnol is due to perform as part of the club’s Musician XChange programme, whose aim is to expose top class acts from around the world to a British jazz audience. Originally from Hungary, Campagnol moved to Sweden with her family when…

Jonathan Karstadt | 13/06/2014

Robin Ashenden reviews ‘Bloody East Europeans’ by Uilleam Blacker and Molodyi Teatr


In Warwickshire a year ago, a fish-farmer was reported in the newspapers as putting a sign up by the side of his lake: ‘No Eastern Europeans.’ Attacks on Polish immigrants, the Guardian tells us today, have risen tenfold since 2004, and in May Nigel Farage felt at liberty, in an interview, to say that he…

Robin Ashenden | 11/06/2014
sun in a net hands

Esther Harper reviews Štefan Uher’s ‘The Sun in a Net’ (1962)


Stefan Uher’s 1962 ‘The Sun in a Net’ (Slkno v sieti) shines an important light on a national cinema which is often overlooked. Slovak cinema finds itself dwarfed and overshadowed by the Czech variety, the geographical and historical proximity of the two countries often making it difficult for Slovak cinema to distinguish its own identity.…

Esther Harper | 07/06/2014
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