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Overview

Soul: And Other Stories by Andrey Platonov

A New York Review Books Original

The Soviet writer Andrey Platonov saw much of his work suppressed or censored in his lifetime. In recent decades, however, these lost works have reemerged, and the eerie poetry and poignant humanity of Platonov’s vision have become ever more clear. For Nadezhda Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky, Platonov was the writer who most profoundly registered the spiritual shock of revolution. For a new generation of innovative post-Soviet Russian writers he figures as a daring explorer of word and world, the master of what has been called “alternative realism.” Depicting a devastated world that is both terrifying and sublime, Platonov is, without doubt, a universal writer who is as solitary and haunting as Kafka.

This volume gathers eight works that show Platonov at his tenderest, warmest, and subtlest. Among them are “The Return,” about an officer’s difficult homecoming at the end of World War II, described by Penelope Fitzgerald as one of “three great works of Russian literature of the millennium”; “The River Potudan,” a moving account of a troubled marriage; and the title novella, the extraordinary tale of a young man unexpectedly transformed by his return to his Asian birthplace, where he finds his people deprived not only of food and dwelling, but of memory and speech.

This prizewinning English translation is the first to be based on the newly available uncensored texts of Platonov’s short fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590172544
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 12/04/2007
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 360,893
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

ANDREY PLATONOV (1899—1951), the son of a metalworker and the eldest of ten children, was born in a village near the Russian town of Voronezh. He began to publish poems and stories in the 1920s and worked as a land reclamation expert in central Russia, where he was a witness to the ravages of the Great Famine. In the 1930s Platonov fell into disfavor with the Soviet government and his writing disappeared from sight.

JOHN BERGER is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including To the Wedding, the Into their Labours trilogy, About Looking, Ways of Seeing, and G., for which he won the Booker Prize. His most recent book is Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance. He lives in a small rural community in France.

ROBERT CHANDLER has translated selections of Sappho and Apollinaire and is the editor of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida. His translations from Russian include Pushkin's Dubrovsky and The Captain's Daughter, Leskov's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate and Hamid Ismailo's The Railway. His co-translations of Andrey Platonov have won prizes in the UK and the US. His Alexander Pushkin is published by Hesperus in their series of Brief Lives. He teaches part time at Queen Mary, University of London.

ELIZABETH CHANDLER is a co-translator of several volumes of Platonov and of Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter.

OLGA MEERSON teaches at Georgetown University and is the author of Dostoevsky's Taboos (in English) and Platonov's Poetic of Re-Familiarization (in Russian). She is a co-translator of Platonov's The Foundation Pit and Soul and Other Stories, which, in 2004, was awarded the AATSEEL prize for best translation from a Slavonic language.

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