Should 2016 be forgot and never brought to mind…
There are, no doubt, a few people who love Donald Trump, hate music, don’t like zoo animals and despise beloved actors and actresses. For the rest of us, 2016 was terrible.
This calls for distractions. We asked Fiction Advocate contributors to tell us which books they read this year that helped them forget, even for fleeting moments, that David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gwen Ifill, Prince, and America — UPDATE: and George Michael and Carrie Fisher and her mom, Debbie Reynolds — died over the last 12 months.
In what may be the only happy coincidence of the year, the vast majority of the recommendations below come from a few people who have some of the most important things to say about 2016: Continue reading
Here is the $8 deal on PayPal.
We published a novel that’s hella popular on Amazon, but we’re earning almost no money from it, because Amazon sucks.
So we’ll make you a deal.
Buy the paperback edition of USSR: Diary of a Perestroika Kid by Vladimir Kozlov (trans. Andrea Gregovich) directly from us at PayPal, and you can have it for only $8.
This is the book that NPR strongly recommended as “a universal story about the petty humiliations and hard-won triumphs of youth.” You’ll be saving $10 off the Amazon price, and we’ll be earning more than Amazon will ever give us.
Don’t let the big guys win! Enjoy this “exquisitely detailed” novel about “urban decay in the shadow of the Iron Curtain” for only $8. Thanks for supporting small press publishing!
Our supply is limited. Get your $8 copy of USSR now.
PRI’s The World has named USSR: Diary of a Perestroika Kid the #1 “book you should think about reading in 2016.”
Alina Simone calls it “the very best book I read this year” and “a kind of Soviet Catcher in the Rye.”
[A]t heart, this is a universal story about the petty humiliations and hard won triumphs of youth — the million tiny compromises that lie along the road to becoming yourself.
We couldn’t agree more. Help us make this the year of USSR!
Buy your copy here.
When I tell you which writer from Belarus SHOULD have won the Nobel Prize this year, as I’m about to do, it’s not because I have anything against Svetlana Alexievich, the official winner, whose work I don’t know very well, having only encountered it in the magazine n+1, where I skimmed over it because I still can’t shake the feeling that her translator, Keith Gessen, is somehow a douchebag.
Instead, when I tell you which writer from Belarus SHOULD have won the Nobel Prize this year, what I’m saying is that, despite the fact that I’m an American and Americans supposedly don’t read much fiction in translation, and despite the fact that Belarus is a relatively small and unacknowledged contributor to world literature, it just so happens that I can name a writer from Belarus who is TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME and who deserves all the praise in the world, including (if I had my way) the Nobel Prize.
“Russian novelist” is a weighty phrase.
When I hear it, I brace for war, love, history, the high church, and earth-shaking politics; for an epic story that feels intimate. The names of the great Russian writers are like monuments: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Nabokov.
But literature is not a dead man’s game; it’s a living conversation. And I prefer today’s Russian writers to the old masters. Have you heard of Victor Pelevin, who writes trippy satirical novels about werewolves in Siberia and little old ladies in Moscow? I have read every English translation of Victor Pelevin that I have gotten my hands on. And Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, who writes “scary fairy tales” with titles like There Once Lived a Woman who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby? She’s an international treasure. Not to mention Masha Gessen, whose fiercely independent journalism about civil rights in Russia has made her one of the most admirable public figures in the world.
All I’m saying is, today’s Russian writers are crushing it.
That’s why I was excited to get an email, a few months ago, from Andrea Gregovich. She’s a translator in Alaska, and she had recently completed an English translation of USSR: Diary of a Perestroika Kid by Vladimir Kozlov. Andrea was looking for a small press like Fiction Advocate to help her publish USSR as an e-book. I didn’t know Andrea, and I had never heard of Vladimir. But I printed the manuscript and started to read it on a plane. Before the flight attendants came down the aisle with beverages, I already knew that we were going to publish USSR as more than just an e-book. Continue reading