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R. H. Chandler (London England)
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Claiming Kindred
Claiming Kindred
by D. M. Black
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars one of the very best poets writing today - and one of very few ..., 26 April 2015
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This review is from: Claiming Kindred (Paperback)
David Black is, I believe, one of the very best poets writing today - and one of very few who is bold enough to address the most pressing themes of the day: moral, political and religious. For more background about this important figure, see
http://dmblack.net/


Why the Bear Has No Tail: And other Russian Folk Tales
Why the Bear Has No Tail: And other Russian Folk Tales
by Elena Polenova
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.00

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect present for anyone, of any age, with a love of folk tales, 9 Jan. 2015
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Beautiful illustrations, as good as the more famous ones by Ivan Bilibin' Good tales, well translated, an exceptionally well-produced book.


Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity
Reading Dante: From Here to Eternity
by Prue Shaw
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... all my adult life and have never read anything better, clearer or more inspiring about him, 23 Dec. 2014
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I have been reading and re-reading Dante all my adult life and have never read anything better, clearer or more inspiring about him. Prue Shaw has clearly learned something from her many years of reading Dante. She chooses the right word; she knows how to structure her sentences and to organize her thoughts. There were many paragraphs I found myself wanting to read aloud to my wife as I read this on holiday. A book full of insights.


Crime and Punishment (Penguin Translated Texts)
Crime and Punishment (Penguin Translated Texts)
Price: £4.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars is right to call it a ‘truly great translation’., 23 Dec. 2014
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At last we have a translation that brings out the wild humour and vitality of the original. A.N. Wilson, who also chose this as a ‘Book of the Year’, is right to call it a ‘truly great translation’.


Russian Types & Scenes
Russian Types & Scenes
by Richard Davies
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and unusual book, 10 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Russian Types & Scenes (Hardcover)
Richard Davies has travelled widely through remote parts of northern Russia. He has also read very widely. The result is a remarkable book, full of unexpected images, insights and stories. I recommend it wholeheartedly, just as I recommend his earlier WOODEN CHURCHES.


Oblomov (Alma Classics)
Oblomov (Alma Classics)
by Ivan Goncharov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fluent and sensitive translation of one of the lesser known great novels of the 19th Century. Thoroughly recommended., 6 Sept. 2014
Boris Dralyuk, reviewing this in the TLS, praises the translator for his success in capturing "Goncharov’s carefully modulated tone and the gentleness of his humour,". Dralyuk goes on to quote a sentence from the translation that beautifully exemplifies this:
"Sometimes an expression of something like weariness or boredom would darken his brow; but neither the weariness nor the boredom could for a minute erase the mildness, which was not merely the dominant expression of his face, but the very essence of his whole being – an essence that glowed naked and clear in his eyes, in his smile, in the least movement of his head or his hand."
As Dralyuk says, "Stephen Pearl has indeed caught the very essence of Oblomov."


Russian Folktales from the Collection of A. Afanasyev: A Dual-Language Book (Dover Dual Language Russian)
Russian Folktales from the Collection of A. Afanasyev: A Dual-Language Book (Dover Dual Language Russian)
by Sergey Levchin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and effective way to improve your Russian, 30 Jun. 2014
I often say to students of Russian that there is no better way to develop a feel for the Russian language - and, above all, for the difficult but expressive Russian verb - than by reading Russsian folktales. This is the perfect volume for that purpose. The translations adhere closely to the syntax of the original and so constitute a perfect guide to understanding the Russian. And Afanasyev's collection of Russian folk tales is also of extraordinary interest in itself. Along with the Brothers Grimm, and Italo Calvino's collection of Italian folktales, it is one of the greatest monuments to the oral folktale that we possess.


The Dead Lake
The Dead Lake
by Hamid Ismailov
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.39

5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable short novel that brings together poetry, Soviet history, Central Asian traditions and environmental concerns, 28 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Dead Lake (Paperback)
The Dead Lake (originally titled Wunderkind Yerzhan or a small man from a Big Country) is set in Kazakhstan, near what was for 40 years the main Soviet test site for atomic weapons at Semipalatinsk.
The narrator is on a long train journey across the Kazakh steppe. He starts talking to Yerzhan, a violinist who is busking on the train. The narrator takes Yerzhan for a 12-year-old, but Yerzhan insists he is 27. Yerzhan then goes on to tell his story, which is sometimes interrupted by the narrator's reflections on it. Towards the end of the novella there are some pages where the narrator falls asleep at night and dreams a continuation of Yerzhan's story. Eventually the narrator awakes and we return to the real story.
The novella is clearly told and may well appeal to readers who felt overwhelmed by the extravagant complexity of the Railway. Nevertheless, it is not as simple as it may first appear. Hamid succeeds in bringing together several different strands: recent history, folktale and myth, the everyday life of simple people living in a remote railway settlement in Soviet times. The novella has a delightful flow and organic unity.
The central tragedy is that, when he reaches the age of 12, Yerzhan suddenly completely stops growing. But the girl next door, whom he loves and who is a year younger than him, continues to grows taller and comes to seem more and more unattainable. Friends and relatives try different ways to help Yerzhan: magic, modern medicine, etc - but nothing makes any difference. It is clear to the reader - though not to any of the characters - that Yerzhan has been irrevocably damaged by swimming one evening in a lake of radioactive water in "the Zone". On that evening the "forbidden water" seemed to have a fairytale beauty.
One of the most remarkable features of the book is the convincingness with which Hamid evokes both the extraordinary violence of the nuclear tests, and their “everydayness”. A prefatory note tells us that 468 nuclear tests were carried out in this area over 4 decades - about one a month, and all of them very close indeed to inhabited towns and villages. There are sudden massive explosions while Yerzhan and his mates are at school, while people are riding across the steppe on a donkey, while Yerzhan is on a train... Buildings and trains are destroyed, but people just pick themselves up and get on with their lives...
I gave the Russian version of this to my old friend, Igor Golomstock, a Russian art critic whose judgments are usually very severe. He wote back, “I enjoyed Hamid’s novella very much. It is a poem, similar in tone to the work of Andrey Platonov – but Hamid has given it his own particular Central Asian colouring.”


Vladislav Khodasevich: Selected Poems
Vladislav Khodasevich: Selected Poems
by Vladislav Khodasevich
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very finest volumes of Russian poetry in English, 16 Jan. 2014
Greatly admired by Nabokov, Khodasevich is one of the greatest Russian poets of the last century. And in the words of Professor G.S, Smith in the TLS, "Peter Daniels and Angel Books have given us an English Khodasevich worthy of his stature."


A Scent of Winter
A Scent of Winter
by Angela Kirby
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and graceful, 21 Nov. 2013
This review is from: A Scent of Winter (Paperback)
Angela Kirby knows how to tell a story. She writes about a variety of themes, often with great wit and grace. The most moving of all her poems, though, is "How it is" a short, very simple poem about the death of a young soldier in Afghanistan. Here she is (almost) unable to find words for what is (almost) beyond her understanding. The poem ends:
Dear God, there seems
so little now to show for it all
nothing but a rolled-up flag
a scatter of flags, a bugle call
this shock of fresh-dug earth.


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