Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (1887–1950) studied law and classical philology at Kiev University. In his philosophical and satirical stories with fantastical plots, he ignored official injunctions to portray the new Soviet state in a positive light, and three separate efforts to print different collections were quashed by the censors, a fourth by World War II. Not until 1989 could these surreal fictions begin to be published. Both his story collection, Memories of the Future, and his novel, The Letter Killers Club, are available from NYRB Classics.
These eleven newly translated tales from a playful Soviet master of the unlikely and the uncanny ask you to take a second look at the cracks in everyday reality. “Krzhizhanovsky wanted to perform imaginary experiments with the nature of time and space…. It is a method for investigating how much unreality reality can bear.”—Adam Thirlwell
Set in Moscow in the 1920s, this strange tale centers on the doings of a secret society of “Letter Killers”—who meet in a room of empty shelves to enact stories, committing nothing to paper. Krzhizhanovsky is at his philosophical and fantastical best in this extended meditation on madness and silence, the word and the soul unbound.
The first English-language collection of stories from a Soviet writer whose mind-bending tales draw comparisons to the works of Poe, Borges, Kafka, and Capek. “Here a natural storyteller, striking intellect, and deeply creative soul are found all in one—a rare combination.”—The Complete Review