Leonid Tsypkin's novel Summer in Baden-Baden was hailed as an undiscovered classic of 20th-century Russian literature. The Washington Post claimed it "a chronicle of fevered genius," and The New York Review of Books described it as "gripping, mysterious and profoundly moving." In her introduction, Susan Sontag said: "If you want from one book an experience of the depth and authority of Russian literature, read this book."
At long last, here are the remaining writings of Leonid Tsypkin: in the powerful novella Bridge Across the Neroch, the history of four generations of a Russian-Jewish family is seen through the lens of a doctor living in Moscow. In Norartakir, a husband and wife on vacation in Armenia bask in the view of Mt. Ararat and the ancient history of the land, until they are unceremoniously kicked out of their hotel and returned to Soviet reality. The remaining stories offer knowing windows into Soviet urban life. As the translator Jamey Gambrell says in her preface: "For Tsypkin's narrator, history is a tightrope to be walked every minute of every day, in both his internal and external world."
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Tsypkin's prose glows with ingenuity and experimentation as he creates a chaotic, raging river of consciousness in which present, past, and future; dream, reality, and memory all collide within the same paragraph, even within the same sentence.
Excellent translations of Tyspkin's...small literary oeuvre of astonishing originality.--Rachel Polonsky
The word "Jewish," as translator Jamey Gambrell points out in the introduction, appears rarely for how often the story concerns otherness within one's own country and family. The narrator's son is beaten up, held down in front of the girls during a jokey teenage gathering because he is Jewish, though the reason is never made explicit. That's the book for you--the surreal treated as commonplace and vice versa until it's all the same.--Dan Duray