War and Peace : Contemporary Russian Prose

TitleWar and Peace : Contemporary Russian Prose
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsPerova, Natasa
PublisherGlas
CityMoscow
Abstract

WAR. Army problems are currently much debated in Russian society. There is a vast online library of army stories but publishers are reluctant to print them since their exposure of the real situation in the army, particularly in the Caucasus, would anger the authorities. The overarching message of these stories is that any war inevitably sows hatred among otherwise peaceful people.
Arkady Babchenko's Argun, an autobiographical account of life as an ordinary young soldier in Russia's Chechnya war, takes the raw and mundane reality of army life and twists it into compelling, chilling, and eerily beautiful prose.
Denis Butov's Five Days of War plunges you into the midst of fierce fighting and a miraculous salvation from sure death. His How Dreams Don't Come True is about an ex-serviceman's inability to reintegrate into peaceful life after his army stint in Chechnya.
Dmitry Bykov's Christ depicts the army as a harsh male world with crude practices and sadistic hazing that drives young men to suicide and insanity.
Roman Senchin's story, 24 Hours relates the events of one day in his bleak existence as a border guard. He depicts vividly the soldiers' longing for discharge.
Julia Latynina exposes corrupt administrations in the Caucasus. They openly disregard the law in order to maintain their totalitarian rule, but they also have to comply with the local mafia lords and rebel chieftains.

PEACE. Women's stories are a sharp contrast to the "War" section. They immerse you in the world of basic human values such as love, children, and family; but also highlight problems with aging, generation gap, and violence against women. The stories reflect the current stage in the evolution of Russian women's fiction which displays confident craftsmanship, wide thematic range, and high stylistic standards.
Olga Slavnikova's The Secret of the Unread Note paints a vivid portrait of a small provincial town where a very average, modern, young woman still yearns for love and tries various ways of getting it.
In Maria Galina's End of the Summer the mysterious appearance of a little clairvoyant girl wreaks havoc on the leisurely life of a childless couple. The wife's longing for motherhood turns out to be stronger than her love for her husband.
Maria Rybakova looks at the eternal drama of aging in her fine psychological narrative A Sting in the Flesh in which an old lady inadvertently kills the emerging love between two young people.
Maria Arbatova's The Last Letter conveys the modern woman's rebellion against the traditional dependency implicit in male-female relationships.
Marina Kulakova's story Alive Again investigates the psychology of the rapist and the victim as well as showing the roots of such phenomena and the public's indifference to the problem.

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72372105

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