Several promising Russian-speaking writers have decided to make their work available to English-speaking readers and have started a literary magazine called Remote Sky. Here are some excerpts from the first issue:
Arkady Margulis with a short story “Stagecoach for Lunatics.”
Hayk grinned, rustled grimly with a banknote in his pocket, and cheered up the small change by making it rattle. After all, he was a little better off, he could afford a teapot and baklava, sticking to the saucer, and a pack of cigarettes, certainly long ones. This always turned sad thoughts away. Yes, it did, but it didn’t comfort him. The most important thing was not to chew himself out because of the immigration woes – the irritating everyday routine and the oppressive difference between “there” and “here”. The sweet “before” – school-university-job – was opposed by the hateful “today”. The “today” was impossible to get used to.
Andrei Romanov with a short story “Marshal and Margarita.”
‘You’re mine, you’re mine’, my lips were whispering, while my hands were doing what they wanted without understanding what exactly it was.
‘Please don’t, comrade general, please don’t, my dear…’
Simon Kaminski with his absolutely hilarious “Wakeup Yordahk.”
‘What’s the p-patient’s n-name?’ I whispered, stammering.
‘Yordahk,’ she said firmly.
‘What? Who?’ My English is definitely worse than that of Faulkner or Mark Twain, especially since I felt so frightened and sleepy that I failed to understand a single word. ‘I… I not know…’
‘Yordahk’! ‘Yordahk’! Understand?’
Zinovy Sagalov’s fascinating “Prediction.”
It was a dim day of September 1951. Outside the dacha windows, a lazy autumn rain was drizzling; stormy sea reels were coming from afar. The night before Stalin ordered a fire to be started in the fireplace. When he was young, he had had tuberculosis, and it was now easier for him to tolerate frost than rickety dampness.
And also, Jacob Grinsberg from Israel with “Where Am I Going?”, Michael Blekhman from Canada with his bitter-sweet Reflection, Tamara Alexeeva from Russia with her tongue-in-cheek “I Have to Become a Girl,” Vladimir Khokhlev from Russia with his philosophical “Tsar Tales”, and Evgeny Verbitsky from Germany with his fascinating essay on Vladimir Nabokov and his son.
The magazine is available on Kindle and is absolutely free for Prime users. Let’s wish continued success to these talented and tenacious writers who are keeping Russian literature alive in spite of enormous odds.
As a special bonus, please find the enlightening story of the Fornicating Fanny under the fold. This is my favorite part in the entire first issue of the magazine. I was the one who came up with Fornicating Fanny and I’m very proud of her.
“Fine, let’s hear it,” Klara agreed. “You’ve got ten minutes to edify us with your story.”
“Ten minutes will be more than enough if you don’t laugh too hard. The story’s title is ‘Fornicating Fanny.’”
“What??” Klara managed to mutter in a shaken voice. “Milka, I have a feeling you haven’t had enough rest after your sports-related injury. You need to stay in bed and make sure you eat well.”
“It’s a pity that eating well is quite problematic nowadays,” Mila responded and added, “Walls, if you have ears, plug them and let them rest.”
After this introduction, she continued her story that promised to be quite piquant, hissing slightly with every “f” sound.
“Fall foliage fluttered faintly. Fornicating Fanny feasted and feted in fennel-flower fields.”
‘Fornicating Fanny’ came out sinister and salacious at the same time. Klara felt a fit of laughter coming on but managed to resist it for the moment.
“Feeble Father Fallon fondly fondled the fun festive Fanny.”
Klara started giggling as Mila continued in a serious, measured tone of voice that lingered on every “f.”
“’Fie, Father!’ Fornicating Fannie fied flirtatiously.”
Klara started laughing uncontrollably, like she always did in such cases.
“Milka, stop it!” she sobbed with laughter but her pitiless Sancho Panza continued,
“Father Fallon forgetfully fingered Fornicating Fanny’s fulsome figure.”
Here, Mila paused in a way that even the most renowned actress of the day would surely envy and continued,
“Fierce Fanny. . .”
Klara tried getting from behind the table but laughter made it impossible for her to stand straight.
“. . . flogged the fiendish . . . “
Tears sprang from Klara’s eyes.
“. . . Father Fallon for his fatherly forgetfulness.”