"To master a language you must understand the people that created it, the culture that provoked it.
To understand a people and its culture you must master the language that shapes them both."
- From Twelve Stories of Russia: A novel, I guess
When an eager American moves to Moscow to teach Russians the difference between the and a, he begins what will ultimately become a six-and-a-half-year descent into the murky entrails of language, culture, and the world's greatest metro system. Part surrealistic travelogue, part historical serendipity, Twelve Stories is at its most enduring as a fanciful rumination on the elusiveness of words.
Twelve Stories of Russia was originally published in Moscow by the independent publisher GLAS, where it quietly gained a following among expats and locals alike. Unique in its appeal to both sides of the linguistic and cultural divide, the work has remained largely unknown beyond Russia. Now, almost a generation after its narrator's lively quest for the word that changes and is changed, this emphatic "novel, I guess" is being released to a wider audience for the first time, its subject matter as universal and its themes as timely as ever.
Read the reviews for Twelve Stories of Russia: A novel, I guess here.
Cow Eye Press has collected a series of sample passages from Twelve Stories of Russia: A novel, I guess. It is our hope that these materials will help to encourage discussion of translation as an artistic enterprise as well as furthering an appreciation for the decisive role that translators play in bringing new works of literature to the world. Learn more here.