St. Petersburg Noir

Natalia Smirnova, Editor, Julia Goumen, Editor
Edited by Julia Goumen & Natalia Smirnova, trans. from the Russian by various. Akashic, $15.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61775-101-1
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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Literary agents Goumen and Smirnova, the co-editors of 2010’s Moscow Noir, offer 14 uniformly strong stories in their outstanding noir anthology devoted to Russia’s second city, St. Petersburg. With its rich if often tragic history, deep literary traditions, inspiring landscape, famous architecture, and an aging population stuffed into overcrowded “kommunalkas” (communal apartments) amid a post-Soviet decline and soaring crime rate, the city provides an ideal backdrop for crime fiction. Selections range from the gallows humor of Andre Kivinov’s “Training Day” to the gloomy realism of Lena Eltang’s “Drunk Harbor,” from the glum nihilism of Anna Solovey’s “Swift Current” to the determined heroism of Anton Chizh’s “The Nutcracker.” While few if any of the contributors will be familiar to American readers, the diversity of these skillfully crafted tales testifies to the vigor of contemporary Russian writing. (Sept.)
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