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Translator Marian Schwartz
April 11, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
Marian Schwartz discusses her latest translations from Russian, The Man Who Couldn’t Die: The Tale of an Authentic Human Being and Horsemen of the Sands.
About The Man Who Couldn’t Die
In the chaos of early-1990s Russia, the wife and stepdaughter of a paralyzed veteran conceal the Soviet Union’s collapse from him in order to keep him–and his pension–alive until it turns out the tough old man has other plans. Olga Slavnikova’s The Man Who Couldn’t Die tells the story of how two women try to prolong a life–and the means and meaning of their own lives–by creating a world that doesn’t change, a Soviet Union that never crumbled.After her stepfather’s stroke, Marina hangs Brezhnev’s portrait on the wall, edits the Pravda articles read to him, and uses her media connections to cobble together entire newscasts of events that never happened. Meanwhile, her mother, Nina Alexandrovna, can barely navigate the bewildering new world outside, especially in comparison to the blunt reality of her uncommunicative husband. As Marina is caught up in a local election campaign that gets out of hand, Nina discovers that her husband is conspiring as well–to kill himself and put an end to the charade. Masterfully translated by Marian Schwartz, The Man Who Couldn’t Die is a darkly playful vision of the lost Soviet past and the madness of the post-Soviet world that uses Russia’s modern history as a backdrop for an inquiry into larger metaphysical questions.
About Horsemen of the Sands
Horsemen of the Sands gathers two novellas by Leonid Yuzefovich: “Horsemen of the Sands” and “The Storm.” The former tells the true story of R.F. Ungern-Shternberg, also known as the “Mad Baltic Baron,” a military adventurer whose intense fascination with the East drove him to seize control of Mongolia during the chaos of the Russian Civil War. “The Storm” centers on an unexpected emotional crisis that grips a Russian elementary school on an otherwise regular day, unveiling the vexed emotional bonds and shared history that knit together its community of students, teachers, parents, and staff.
About Marian Schwartz
Marian Schwartz has translated over sixty volumes of Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov, and Leo Tolstoy. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Best Translation of Contemporary Russian Literature and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.