The Fiction of New Russian Realism

Rasskazy, an anthology of “new fiction from a new Russia” presents a reviewer with an interesting challenge: how to write about these texts as though they had something in common with each other. The book is held together by the assumption that the authors share not only a common language, but that their work is representative of “new Russia” in at least two important ways: in the authors’ political and cultural engagement and in their continuation of “the great Russian literary tradition.” In their preface to the anthology, editors Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker frame the texts within the politics of the Putin-era Russia that they see as “turning back the hands of Russia’s sociopolitical clock” and implicate all authors as opposition to this political process. The editors’ ideology in approaching this collection comes across in statements such as: “Russian writing has once again found itself invested with a higher purpose. The writers in today’s Russia derive their sense of relevance from having been adjudged irrelevant by the country’s rulers (i.e., nonthreatening to the latter’s political agenda).”


September 24th, 2010 / 1:37 pm