On April 4 See the Amazing Mikhail Shishkin

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Scott Esposito

We are getting our 2013 events started off right with one of the most amazing authors currently writing in Russian. It is our honor to present Mikhail Shishkin and his translator, Marian Schwartz, who has translated some of the best, most difficult prose in Russian literature for over 20 years.

Where and when can I see this bounty of translation glory? you ask. It all happens at the swank Hotel Rex on April 4, and it will cost you a mere $10. Get your tickets right here.

Here's a little to whet your appetite: Shishkin has been called Russia's best shot at the Nobel Prize (he's certainly won enough international awards already). His novel Maidenhair was published last year by Open Letter, and here's a little of what's been said about it:

The Dallas Morning News:

The first thing to stress about Maidenhair is that any attempt at summarizing the novel’s extraordinary complexity will fail miserably. . . . Maidenhair is neither dry nor difficult. It is a delight to read. . . . Maidenhair is the best post-Soviet Russian novel I have read. Simply put, it is true literature, a phenomenon we encounter too rarely in any language.

Here's Michael Hingston at The Edmonton Journal:

Maidenhair is the most gleefully cut-to-ribbons novel I’ve read since Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives. It also taps into a vein of storytelling so uncompromising, and so relentlessly pure, that I can’t tell whether I’ll re-read the book 10 times, or never look at it again.

And here's Words Without Borders, merely comparing it to War and Peace and calling it "likely a work of genius":

Shishkin is often seen as a kind of hybrid between Lev Tolstoy and James Joyce. He uses experimental forms to probe the kinds of earnest, what-is-the-meaning-of-it-all questions that have been out of fashion since, well, Tolstoy. And, much like War and Peace, Shishkin’s Maidenhair is a novel about everything: it explores the workings of the world, history, memory, and mankind’s interaction with the divine. This novel is an attempt to create and explain everything in existence.

If that sounds like a beast to translate, well, Marian Schwartz is one of the best in the game. It will be a real treat to have these two together, where the Center's own Scott Esposito will be engaging them in conversation about everything from Shishkin's debt to past literary giants to just how you translate a book like this.

You know you want to do this, so go ahead to Brown Paper Tickets right now and reserve your seat. We'll have a limited number of tickets available at the door, but those will be $15, and they'll go fast . . .