Memories of the Future

October 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Memories of the Future - Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky - NYRB Classics

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, beyond having a surname particularly intimidating to the average English speaker, was in his own lifetime a modestly to not at all influential short-story writer – most of his entire body of work was published after his death. Krzhizhanovsky was a Pole born in Ukraine who spoke and wrote in Russian and for having published so little during his lifetime, seems to have had the leisure to be a writer and socialize with others. His works beautifully parade their influences, Russian and otherwise, and share affinities with those of other authors inside and out of his medium. The stories collected in Memories of the Future happily jaunt into Borgesian irrealities, with John Collier’s whimsical poeticism and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s humor. Memories is the second collection of Krzhizhanovsky’s short stories available in English and the first from NYRB Classics, one of my favorite small publishers for the last couple years. Here’s their enlightening blurb:

“Written in Soviet Moscow in the 1920s—but considered too subversive even to show to a publisher—the seven tales included here attest to Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s boundless imagination, black humor, and breathtaking irony: a man loses his way in the vast black waste of his own small room; the Eiffel Tower runs amok; a kind soul dreams of selling ‘everything you need for suicide’; an absentminded passenger boards the wrong train, winding up in a place where night is day, nightmares are the reality, and the backs of all facts have been broken; a man out looking for work comes across a line for logic but doesn’t join it as there’s no guarantee the logic will last; a sociable corpse misses his own funeral; an inventor gets a glimpse of the far-from-radiant communist future.”

Cheers,

Dwight

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Entry filed under: Books, Publishers.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. A Different Stripe  |  October 22, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    TIA: Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky…

    A brief review of Memories of the Future by Dwight at Royal Rhino Flying Records: [Krzhizhanovky’s] works beautifully parade their influences, Russian and otherwise, and share affinities with those of other authors inside and out of his medium. The st…

    Reply

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