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CAPTIVES

Vladimir Makanin, The Captive of the Caucasus.
Victor Pelevin, The Tambourine for the Upper World.
Olga Slavnikova, Dragonfly the Size of a Dog.
Victor Astafyev, The Cursed and the Slain.
Alexander Terekhov, Army Stories.
Georgy Vladimov, A General and His Army (excerpt).
Irina Muravyova, Philemon and Baucis.
Vassily Aksyonov, Palmer’s First Flight, Palmer’s Second Flight.
Evgeny Popov, Pork Kebabs.

ebook
3rd ed., ISBN 9785717201285
see also the original collection in Glas 38

We are all captives in today’s world: captives of a political system, of circumstances, of our obligations or our illusions, to say nothing of those who are captives in a literal sense. The world seems to be full of misplaced people trapped in captivity of one kind or another, sometimes self-imposed, but feeling nonetheless alienated from a hostile world around them.
These stories from earlier issues of Glas have long been classics in Russian literature while their themes have become even more relevant today. “More now than ever before, precisely because hopes on their native ground are again precarious,” to quote Georges Steiner who noticed the tendency already some years ago.
For the sake of our new readers who have missed those earlier Glas issues we decided to reprint selected stories from them.

Vladimir Makanin, born in 1937 in the Urals, was trained as a mathematician and later a film-maker. But he made his name with his highly individual writings, which won him instant fame among the Russian intelligentsia in the 1960s. His better-known works are available in English translation. His latest novels: Asanand The Hero of Our Times have also been translated into many languages and won him the European Prize for his contribution to world literature.
His novel Manhole was short-listed for the Booker Russian Novel Prize in 1992 and published by Ardis (US); his Baize-covered Table with Decanter won the Booker in 1993 and was published in English by Readers International in 1995. See also Makanin’s work in Glas.

Victor Pelevin, (b. 1962) is one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. Pelevin’s characters live in fantastic worlds of dreams, talking sheds, philosophizing chickens, computer games, Soviet werewolves, and drug addicts. His erudition is also fantastic and includes profound knowledge of Chinese philosophy, information science, mysticism, metaphysics, and much else. His better known books include The Blue Lantern, Omon Ra, The Life of Insects, Yellow Arrow, Buddha’s Little Finger, Empire V, Generation P, Numbers, The Werewolves’ Sacred Book, Batman Apollo, SNUFF, Love for three Zuckerbrins.

Olga Slavnikova, an internationally known author and the director of the Debut Prize for young authors, grew up in Yekaterinburg in the Urals where she graduated from the Urals University with a degree in journalism. Her first novel Dragon-fly Enlarged to the Size of a Dog was short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize and immediately put her in the top ranks of Russian literature. Alone in the Mirror, her second novel, was short-listed for the Anti-Booker and received the Pavel Bazhov Prize. Her next novel, Immortal won the prize of the Critics’ Academy and was short-listed for both the Belkin Prize and the National Bestseller Prize.

Victor Astafyev (1924-2001) lived most of his life in the village of Ovsyanka near Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Among his earlier works King Fis and The Last Respects stand out as Melville-like masterpieces about Siberian nature and his hungry childhood. He took part in the Second World War and his war novels made him a modern classic and won him major literary prizes.
Astafyev left a large literary heritage. His books are all kept in print and studied at universities.
The Cursed and the Slain was shortlisted for the Russian Booker.
"One more novel about WWII, but this one says what no other author has said. There are no Germans, and yet an ineluctable disaster looms over the characters. By breaking with stereotypes of war novels, Astafiev revives our interest in the theme.
"Several hundred young Siberians, called up in autumn 1942, are despondently waiting to be sent to the front, and are reaching the end of their tether in the barracks. Behind the barracks lurk the labour camps, and beyond and below them lies something more ancient and primitive: that troglodytic, hellish existence that forms the deepest layer of our being." – Lev Anninsky

Alexander Terekhov, was born in 1966. After his army service he graduated from Moscow University's Department of Journalism. He soon won acclaim with his stories about his army experiences and about the early perestroika chaos he was witnessing. Already his early books established him as one of the most talented Russian authors. His prize-winning novels include A Conscript’s Memoirs, A Winter Day Starting a New Life, The Stone Bridge. The Rat-Killer (published in English by Alma Books.)

Georgy Vladimov (1931-2003), winner of the Russian Booker Prize for The General and his Army, is known in the West mainly for his novel Faithful Ruslan, published in many languages. His other major novel, Three Minutes of Silence (1969) was greeted with a barrage of official criticism in the USSR. In 1977 Vladimov resigned from the Writers’ Union and assumed the leadership of the Moscow chapter of Amnesty International. He was forced to emigrate to the West in 1983, and edited the emigre journal Grani.

Irina Muravyova, born in Moscow in 1952, has lived in the United States since the 1980s. Her many novels and stories have won her a reputation as one of today's foremost women writers in Russian. Her books have been shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize and the Bunin Prize, and several have been translated into other languages. English translations include The Nomadic Soul (Glas, 1999) and her story 'On the Edge', published in Women on the Cas, a collection of the best women's writing from around the world (Dell, 1996). Day of the Angel was published in English, French, Arabic, Serbian, Slovak, and Hungarian.

Vassily Aksyonov (1932-2009) grew up in Kazan (Tatarstan) and was trained as a doctor in which capacity he worked for many years. He had a perfect ear for the slangy racy Russian of students, bohemians, and ordinary people, and an eye for urban landscape and street scenes. He was forced to emigrate from Russia in 1980 and settled in the USA where he taught Russian literature at George Mason University in Virginia.
All of Aksenov’s major novels are available in English translation: Generations of Winter, In Search of Melancholy Baby, The Island of Crimea, The Burn, to name a few. His novel The Male and Female Fans of Voltaire won him the Russian Booker Prize in 2004.

Evgeny Popov, born in 1946 in Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) graduated from the Moscow Institute of Geology and spent many years travelling the length and breadth of Russia. He has more than 200 stories and a number of prize-winning novels to his credit. Five of his novels, including The Soul of the Patriot, were published in 20 countries. His stories reverberate with laughter and teasing humor that verges on the lyrical.