An introduction to the stories and novels of AlexeI Slapovsky, with Robert Chandler, Lydia Buravova and several of Lydia’s students at SSEES.
It remains sadly difficult for a Russian writer to win recognition in the English-speaking world unless he is involved in some major international controversy. Alexey Slapovsky is one of the finest contemporary Russian writers and has won many awards, but he has yet to be translated into English. Though influenced by both Chekhov and Kharms, he has his own distinctive style; his themes are both ‘Russian’ and universal.
Translator Robert Chandler will read his translation of the first paragraphs of “The First Second Coming”. Set around 1990, this novel is about a rather ordinary young man whose friends persuade him that he is Jesus Christ; he then travels about provincial Russia, reluctantly performing miracles. Robert will also read from Alex Fleming’s translation of a short passage from "Genius", Slapovsky’s most recent novel, set in a fictional small town bisected by the Russian/Ukrainian border; this border runs down the centre of the town’s main street, complicating the lives of the inhabitants but also bringing opportunities.
Lydia Buravova, who lectures at SSEES, will then introduce her students’ translations of “Limon”, a memorable ten-line story. Our hope is that, by the end of the evening, we can jointly arrive at a perfect translation of this story.