Susanne Fusso
Articles by Susanne Fusso

Fall Reading Series: Sergei Gandlevsky’s “Illegible,” Part III

Krivorotov tried to cause a jealous scene, but Anya would have none of it.

“I have one jailer, my aunt, and that’s enough,” the young woman said to him. “If you don’t like it, I’m not keeping anyone by force.”

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Fall Reading Series: Sergei Gandlevsky’s “Illegible,” Part II

Sergey Gandlevsky has written that his very first childhood poem, written on the occasion of the transfer to another school of the “beautiful, stern” little girl he had a crush on, seems in retrospect to be an outline of the plot of “Illegible”: “An ominous rival, a duel, the sudden death of the beloved after the passing of decades.” The motif of the duel, which appears in both “Trepanation of the Skull” and “Illegible”, signals Gandlevsky’s emotional engagement with the culture of Russia’s Golden Age—both Pushkin and Lermontov depicted duels in their work and died in duels themselves.

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Fall Reading Series: Sergei Gandlevsky’s “Illegible,” Part I

In contemporary Russian literary life, Gandlevsky’s stature as a poet is indisputably great; he is less well known as a prose writer, although his novels and essays have been critically acclaimed. For the English-speaking reader, contemporary Russian prose has been represented mainly in its fantastic, postapocalyptic, and dystopian modes. Gandlevsky’s novels display a more restrained, historically oriented literary sensibility, one that directs loving, sometimes bitter, but always keenly perceptive attention to the late Soviet and post-Soviet experience.

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