The TLS, the London Times Literary Supplement, is one of the renowned literary periodicals of the world — akin to the New York Review of Books but just a leetle older and more august, having started in 1902. So to find a review of one of the volumes put out by Deep Vellum, Dallas’ fledgling little house specializing in first-time translations into English, was a small holy cow! moment. You’ll have to take this one on faith because you can only access the full archives of the London Times Literary Supplement if you are, ahem, a subscriber and have a regular online account with them.
But in the July 17th issue, p. 21, James Womack reviews the short story collection, Calligraphy Lesson, by Mikhail Shishkin, translated by Marian Schwartz (and three others) that publisher Will Evans released in May.
Shishkin is regularly called one of Russia’s greatest living writers, but you’ve probably never heard of him because, as Womack notes in his opener, “Mikhail Shishkin is one of Russia’s most garlanded authors but somehow it has been more difficult for him than for his contemporaries to make it into English. … [Womack speculates that this is partly because Shishkin lives abroad in Switzerland, and therefore, he doesn’t get the political attention that pro- or anti-Putin writers do.] This extremely well-translated collection of fiction, memoirs and essays provides a useful point of entry, a summary of Shishkin’s abiding themes and approaches ….”