A Volga Tale

(Author) (Translator)

Product Details

$28.00  $26.04
Europa Editions
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.8 inches | 1.65 pounds

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About the Author

Born in Kazan, Guzel Yakhina is a Russian author and screenwriter. She is the winner of the Big Book literary prize and the Yasnaya Polyana Literary Award. She has denounced Russia's aggression against Ukraine, stating publicly that "This is not my war. I refuse to consider it mine." She lives in Moscow.

Polly Gannon is a literary translator and quilter. She holds a PhD in Russian literature from Cornell University. For many years, she has taught intersectional cultural studies, translation and poetry. She lives in Berlin


A World Literature Today Notable Book 2023
Named Best Foreign Book of 2021 in France
Finalist for the Prix Médicis 2021
Longlisted for the European Literature Prize 2021

"[A] rich epic...Yakhina charts the brutal decades of Stalin's collectivization and repression, and creates a moving portrait of the teacher's profound love for his family, and of Russia's multiethnic population."--The New Yorker, The Best Books of 2023

"In sumptuous scenes...Ms. Yakhina's Volga merges with the Magdalena that flows through Gabriel García Márquez's fiction. Magic trumps realism."--Boyd Tonkin, Wall Street Journal

"Yakhina's novel shows how one eccentric dreamer manages, at least temporarily, to avoid the brutal forces of collectivization...darkly brooding."--The New York Times

"Guzel Yakhina's masterstroke is her decision to allow us to witness the tumult taking place in Gnadenthal through the eyes of her beloved creation Bach, whose entrenched apathy becomes the focal point around which all else follows."--Elaine Margolin, World Literature Today

"Steeped in the human history of the Russian Empire, the Bolshevik Revolution, and the Soviet regime, Guzel Yakhina's magnificent novel A Volga Tale matches the power and majesty of that great river."--On the Seawall

"The larger narrative is itself shaped by folkloric forces ... offset by darkly brooding interludes."--Alida Becker for The New York Times

"Both Gannon's translation and Yakhina's writing are undeniably brilliant. Sentences are rich with description and characterization, and replete with atmosphere. This is a wonderfully quirky novel, at times humorous, at times dark with fear and terror, and interspersed with themes of human resilience."--Janice Ottersberg, Historical Novels Review

"A Volga Tale is a rich, fantastical, and often disquieting historical novel in which a man who's obsessed with language inhabits a country that's been devastated by war and corruption."--Michele Sharpe, Foreword Reviews

"A delightfully translated novel combining fairy tale and historical fiction in a fully satisfying story of a misfit struggling to sustain life in a perilous time."--Reading the West

"Drawing from a universal story of national origins, which Yakhina reimagines, embroidering it with golden threads, this book tells a heartbreaking story about places we rarely hear about...an epic river-novel."--Il Libraio (Italy)

"With poetic and dreamlike language...Yakhina attempts to evoke in the reader the sensation of being a living part of history."--Toscana Libri