A complete collection of short stories for 2018.
Sometimes I feel it’s a pity that Mikhail Segal works mainly as a film director. Personally, I think he is one of those filmmakers like Shukshin, Natalya Ryazantseva, or Valery Frid, who would better write prose and only prose, or at most, the odd screenplay. But Segal is a film director and he prefers to create reality, rather than write about it. Hence Russian literature only looks on at film with understandable envy. They’ve got a person of great talent there, who stops by us only on rare occasions when there’s no money to make a film or when he comes upon a purely stylistic idea, which is impossible to create on screen. Readers can expect enormous pleasure from this ever humorous and disturbing book because the greatest pleasure in reading comes from recognizing elements from one’s own experience. Segal takes everything we have seen and understood and puts it into words. I think that for the most part Segal wrote all these short stories not for future screen adaptations, nor even for literary fame, and certainly not to make more money, but as a kind of therapy. If Segal hadn’t written these stories, he would have gone mad. Likewise, readers who also don’t want to go mad would do good to read and reread this short book, perhaps the most unexpected publication of the ten years or so. A real writer has arrived on the scene of Russian literature.
Dmitry Bykov, writer.