I am always on the look out for an inspiring short story collection, and I was very happy to come across Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia, which was just  released by Tin House Books.  I have to admit that I really don’t know much about modern Russian literature, and I certainly know nothing about the current/emerging wave of Russian short story writers.  Well, I used to know nothing.  Now I know a bit more.

The 22 authors featured in Rasskazy are doing some excellent writing and they give you a lot to think about.  The stories (and novel excerpts) are interesting and satisfying not only because they’re well-written, inventive, everything the need to be, etc. etc., but also because they really help you understand what life is like in Russia now – what people are dealing with, longing for, excited about.  (Trying not to use the “window” metaphor here.) This is not to suggest that these stories have made sharing modern life their agenda, they just do so, of course, by default – what’s fascinating to us is normal to them.

My favorites were “The Killer and His Little Friend”, “They Talk” and “A Potential Customer,” but they are all worth reading.  Pour yourself some Vodka, warm up some borscht (or hit McDonald’s, lets be honest) and buy yourself a copy of this book.  You’ll experience incredibly talented writers picking up where some of the world’s most important writers left off.