Memories of the Future

Memories of the Future

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Overview

Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

Written in Soviet Moscow in the 1920s—but considered too subversive even to show to a publisher—the seven tales included here attest to Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s boundless imagination, black humor, and breathtaking irony: a man loses his way in the vast black waste of his own small room; the Eiffel Tower runs amok; a kind soul dreams of selling “everything you need for suicide”; an absentminded passenger boards the wrong train, winding up in a place where night is day, nightmares are the reality, and the backs of all facts have been broken; a man out looking for work comes across a line for logic but doesn’t join it as there’s no guarantee the logic will last; a sociable corpse misses his own funeral; an inventor gets a glimpse of the far-from-radiant communist future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590173190
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 572,505
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

SIGIZMUND KRZHIZHANOVSKY (1887–1950), the Ukrainian-born son of Catholic Poles, studied law and classical philology at Kiev University. After graduation and two summers spent exploring Europe, he was obliged to clerk for an attorney. A sinecure, the job allowed him to devote the bulk of his time to the study of literature and his own writing. In 1920, after a brief stint in the Red Army, Krzhizhanovsky began lecturing intensively in Kiev on the theater and music. The lectures continued in Moscow, where he moved in 1922, by then well known in literary circles. Lodged in a cell-like room on the Arbat, Krzhizhanovsky wrote steadily for close to two decades. His philosophical and satirical stories with fantastical plots ignored official injunctions to portray the new Soviet state in a positive light. Three separate efforts to print different collections were quashed by the censors, a fourth by World War II. Not until 1989 could these surreal fictions begin to be published. Like Poe, Krzhizhanovsky takes us to the edge of the abyss and forces us to look into it. “I am interested,” he said, “not in the arithmetic, but in the algebra of life.”

JOANNE TURNBULL has translated a number of books from Russian—including Andrei Sinyavsky’s Soviet Civilization and Ivan the Fool, Asar Eppel’s The Grassy Street, and Andrei Sergeyev’s Stamp Album, and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s Seven Stories, winner of the 2007 Rossica Translation Prize—all in collaboration with Nikolai Formozov. She lives in Moscow.

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