Synopses & Reviews
An enchanting, fabulously bizarre and intriguing book of short stories by a prizewinning new German writer.
Each episode in this dazzling debut collection captures the spark in some tiny detail of everyday life in contemporary St. Petersburg and fans it into a story that flares with comedy, surreal passion, heartbreaking indifference and mad Russian excess.
There's a Mafia shoot-out in a disco, as told by a gun-toting Walter Mitty simultaneously thrilled and horrified by the carnage he is creating. There's a returning exiled writer so desperate to keep his reputation alive, now that he is no longer a professional dissident, that he will do anything to hold the interest of his retinue of reporters and cameras. There are three devils who appear for an evening at the steam bath, their revelries ending in cannibalism--or is the watching manager just mad? St. Nicholas comes back as a rich American. There is a gallery opening that gives new meaning to the term "installation." And on and on...
These are sad, whimsical, macabre, bleakly funny stories, all told in a playful and voluptuous prose that is itself an homage to the great Russian masters whom Schulze is honoring--from Gogol to Pasternak, from Chekhov to Nabokov.
About the Author
Ingo Schulze, born in Dresden in 1962, studied classical philology at the University of Jena. He worked as the dramaturg at the Altenburg Theater until 1990, and then became a newspaper editor, a job that took him to St. Petersburg for six months in 1993. Since then he has lived in Berlin. His first book, 33 Moments of Happiness has won both the prestigious Döblin Prize and the Willner Prize for Literature. Three of the stories in this collection have recently appeared in The New Yorker.