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Of Sunshine and Bedbugs

Essential Stories

Isaac Babel Boris Dralyuk



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Pushkin Press
30 August 2022
Isaac Babel honed one of the most distinctive styles in all Russian literature. Brashly conversational one moment, dreamily lyrical the next, his stories exult in the richness of everyday speech and sensual pleasure only to be shaken by brutal jolts of violence.

These stories take us from the underworld of Babel's native Odessa, city of gangsters and lowlives, of drunken brawls and bleeding sunsets, to the terror and absurdity of life as a soldier in the Polish-Soviet War. Selected and translated by the prize-winning Boris Dralyuk, this collection captures the irreverence, passion and coarse beauty of Babel's singular voice.

'Fractured, jarring, beautiful, alive to humour... they have the ring of contemporaneity, and probably always will' - Guardian
Translated by:  
Imprint:   Pushkin Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Volume:   12
Dimensions:   Height: 165mm,  Width: 120mm, 
Weight:   369g
ISBN:   9781782277811
ISBN 10:   1782277811
Series:   Pushkin Collection
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Table of Contents   Translator’s Preface   Guy de Maupassant   (Part I) Childhood and Youth   The Story of My Dovecote First Love In the Basement The Awakening Di Grasso   (Part II) Gangsters and “Old Odessans”   The King How It Was Done in Odessa Lyubka the Cossack Father Justice in Quotes The End of the Almshouse   (Part III) Red Cavalry   Crossing the Zbrucz The Catholic Church in Novograd A Letter Pan Apolek The Italian Sun Gedali My First Goose The Rebbe The Tachanka Doctrine The Death of Dolgushov The Life Story of Pavlichenko, Matvei Rodionych Salt The Rebbe’s Son Argamak

Isaac Babel was a short-story writer, playwright, literary translator and journalist. He joined the Red Army as a correspondent during the Russian civil war. The first major Russian-Jewish writer to write in Russian, he was hugely popular during his lifetime. He was murdered in Stalin's purges in 1940, at the age of 45.

Reviews for Of Sunshine and Bedbugs: Essential Stories

'Compact, irreverent, enigmatic, savage and tender... it is impossible to look at the world the same way after reading Babel... one of the enduring jewels of 20th-century Russian literature' - Financial Times 'Fractured, jarring, beautiful, alive to humour... they have the ring of contemporaneity, and probably always will' - Guardian 'Unforgettable stories, lyrical and earthy' - Irish Times 'Marvelously subtle, tragic, and often comic' - James Wood 'Elegiac, but not in the usual sense: Babel's is an ebullient elegy, filled with violence, sex, and life' - LA Review of Books

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