Stories from a Siberian Village

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9780875802114: Stories from a Siberian Village
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A cultural phenomenon in his day—an award-winning film director and actor who also wrote novels, plays, and movie scripts—Vasily Shukshin (1929–1974) is renowned for his mastery of the short story. Credited with revitalizing the short story as a genre in Russian literature, he was posthumously honored with the Soviet Union's highest literary prize following his untimely death at the age of forty-five.

Stories from a Siberian Village introduces Shukshin to English readers with twenty-five stories that reflect the Siberian origins of his artistic identity. These stories, most of which have never before appeared in English, are set in a remote Siberian village caught in transition between rural traditions and modern Soviet life. There Shukshin's peasants—survivors of revolution, collectivization, and war—seek their identity in a "brave new world."

Eccentrics and oddballs, Shukshin's protagonists are restless freedom seekers whose dreams and foibles are as broad and inexplicable as their native Siberian landscape. As touchy as artists and as unpretentious as truck drivers, they struggle with questions of life and death, faith and reason, custom and progress. From their mutual misapprehensions and the gap between their dreams and reality arises Shukshin's biting humor.

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Review:

In addition to being one of Russia's most heralded writers, Vasily Shukshin was a filmmaker, and his stories are marked by his cinematic touch. Character development is carried out through dialogue, often simple and blunt, and plots and storylines move at a steady frame rate. The visual is not what interests Shukshin in these stories of rural Siberia, however, rather it is the script and the meter of life in the frozen countryside and the conversations between the peasants, young people, and estranged visitors to the town. Singular events punctuate the stories collected in this translation of Shukshin's work, events which serve as windows on the character of the people and the place of Siberia.

About the Author:

Givens is an associate professor of Russian in the department of modern languages and cultures at the University of Rochester.

Kathleen F. Parthe is professor of Russian and director of Russian studies at the University of Rochester. She is the author of "Russian Village Prose" and, with James H. Billington, "The Search for a New Russian National Identity."

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Shukshin, Vasily
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Shukshin, Vasilii Makarovich
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Vasily Shukshin, Laura Michael (Translator), John Givens (Translator)
Published by Northern Illinois University Press (1996)
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