Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"That gigantic flattened human hive"

Adam Thirlwell's piece in the NYRB about the Soviet writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky is an enjoyable read. (K's wordplay rubs off on the reviewer: Thirlwell starts off by talking about Moscow's obsession with renovation in the mid-1920s, then rapidly segues into Communist repression, calling the city "a hive of constriction"!) Some of the quoted passages from K's work are very nice, esp. considering that they are translated:
  • stone angels with their penguin-like wings grazing the earth
  • For a minute the story stopped. Wasteland and kitchen gardens stretched all about us. Along a distant embankment, shavings of white locomotive smoke curled up into the air in elongated rings. 
And of course there is much to be said for anyone who writes a story titled "The Branch Line."

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