Rivka Galchen

Rivka Galchen, author of the new short story collection American Innovations (reviewed here last week by Melissa H. Pierson), writes: “Here are descriptions of three pretty recently released short story collections that I think are fantastic.”

How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?
By Doretta Lau

“I once heard a child’s habit of picking up off coins and whatnot off the street as returning to seeing things for their proper value — a shine, a bright color, a fragment of a list. That’s sort of the magic that Lau manages on a much grander scale; all the noise and crowd of our everyday lives seems caught for a moment revealing its glittering strangeness.”

Piano Stories
By Felisberto Hernández

“I don’t know how to describe or recommend these stories that I love so much, but here is the bio of the author: born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1902, Felisberto Hernández was a talented pianist, playing in the silent-screen movie theaters when he was twelve years old. He later toured the small concert halls of Uruguay and Argentina. He married four times, published seven books, and died, impoverished, in 1964.”

Autobiography of a Corpse
By Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

“Krzhizhanovsky died in Moscow in 1950, having seen one after another of his story collections censored; much of his work could not be printed until 1989, and now, fortunately, his work has been brilliantly translated into English. What are these stories ‘about’? Maybe ethics, maybe philosophy, maybe isolation, maybe a pianist’s hand that runs away from him in order to spend a night on its own.”

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