cover image Reasons for Living

Reasons for Living

Dmitry Bakin. Granta Books, $19.95 (150pp) ISBN 978-1-86207-526-9

Disaffection and brutality permeate post-WWII Soviet life in Dmitry Bakin's short story collection, Reasons for Living. As it turns out, reasons for living are hard to come by in Bakin's impoverished Russian heartland, where an enraged soldier attacks a gentle fellow recruit who's taken to following him around, and an unnamed man spends all his time planning his defense and retreat from unnamed attackers (""the enemy""). Deliberately short on atmospheric description, Bakin's stark, moving stories zero in on their character's wrecked emotional lives. A chauffeur and former Soviet Army medic, Bakin first published this collection in Russia in 1993 and won the 1996 ""Anti-Booker"" Prize for Russian literature.