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Russian bodies and souls

Some of the greatest literature of the Soviet era is only now becoming available in fine English translations. Sally Laird finds similar themes reverberating in new Russian writing

By Sally Laird   July 1997

In the last few months three new translations of Russian novels have arrived on my desk. Two of them are examples of what came to be known in the late 1980s as “delayed literature”: works written decades earlier but left unpublished in Russia until the advent of glasnost. The third is the work of one of the most talented writers of the “post-Soviet” era, Victor Pelevin. Reading these novels in a row, I was struck by the story they tell of what has happened to Russian souls, and bodies, this century.

Andrei Platonov (1899-1951) is less well known to English…

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