“What is the purpose of one culture translating another? One reason Slavic departments thrive during political crises would seem to be so that we can better understand the cultures of the post-Soviet East. Another reason, though, may be something more akin to the motives of the CIA in translating Doctor Zhivago.”
Life in Russia, said author Aleksander Snegirev, at Housing Works’ September 21 Rasskazy event, is uncomfortable, but always interesting. So, too, are the stories in this plump new anthology from Tin House: Arkady Babchenko’s beleaguered soldier returns to Chechnya a page away from German Sadulaev’s lyrical descriptions of Chechnya’s devastated countryside. The binding is a veritable trench across which both narrators peek at each other warily.
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