From Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s short story “Someone Else’s Theme,” collected in Memories of the Future.
Thanks to biblioklept.org for alerting us to this excellent excerpt.
Notes from NYRB Classics
Certain writers are too weird to fully belong to their own time. Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky—a Soviet writer obsessed with Kant and Shakespeare, whose own life barely rippled beyond a small coterie of Muscovite writers before his death in 1950—is among them. Krzhizhanovsky wrote philosophical works of fiction that veer between chattiness and, in the fine translations of Joanne Turnbull and Nikolai Formozov, unexpected elegance. They are tales of bodies suspended between life and death, of an animated Eiffel Tower that rampages across Europe, and of towns where dreams are made literal. To read these stories is to be buttonholed by a slightly mad but unfailingly interesting stranger desperate for a sympathetic ear. In Krzhizhanovsky, we find the aphorisms of a dime store philosopher and the polyphony of a schizophrenic.
- from a review of The Letter Killers Club, the recently published Krzhizhanovsky novel translated by Joanne Turnbull, in Bookforum. The collection of his short stories, Memories of the Future, is also mentioned in Jacob Silverman’s review.
Valeriy Kozhin’s animated adaptation of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s short story “Quadraturin”—about a mysterious substance that transforms small spaces (in this case a Soviet-era shared apartment) into large ones. “Quadraturin” is collected in Krzhizhanovsky’s Memories of the Future.
Coming this winter: Krzhizhanovsky’s The Letter Killers Club