Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Slouching toward Moscow
I see there is a paperback version of The Slynx now available through New York Review of Books. I ordered an earlier hardback published by Houghton Mifflin with a much more evocative cover. The NYR copy is the same translation by Jamey Gambrell, so you can take your pick. I'm not sure when Tatyana Tolstaya originally penned the book, but it was sometime in the 1990s at the height of the corruption that plagued Russia, and in particular Moscow, no doubt lending to the dystopic futuristic world she imagines in this novel.
Tolstaya is best known for her unvarnished criticism and trenchant essays of post-Soviet Russia. Pushkin's Children is well worth reading. She has no soft spot for Putin, even if a certain amount of stability has emerged in the wake of the wild and woolly 90s. Since then, she has taken her acerbic wit to the airwaves, co-hosting a popular television show, The School for Scandal. Here's a clip from an episode featuring Grebenshchikov for Russian speakers. My wife would help translate some of the content. Tolstaya came from a literary family (as her name implies), and has tried more than most writers to maintain a high level of discourse in a very fractured society.