A first English-language collection of the short fiction of a vigorous Russian writer, once a Soviet favorite son (for his...

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FERTILITY and Other Stories

A first English-language collection of the short fiction of a vigorous Russian writer, once a Soviet favorite son (for his ""correct"" Red Army tale ""Armored Train 14-69"") and later denied Party approval--a fluctuation that left its mark on Ivanov's inconsistent candor and realism. If stories like ""The Child"" casually assume the politicization of illiterate peasants, their author's obviously mixed loyalties show to better literary advantage in such troubling pieces as ""Fertility"" (in which a nearly mystical closeness to nature both empowers and destroys a simple villager's life) and ""The Mansion,"" an ironical study of an egotist whose ""loyalties"" shift with the passing winds. Ivanov, who was a friend and protÆ’gÆ’ of Maxim Gorky's, exhibits at his best some of that mentor's proletarian energy, Isaac Babel's wry political subtlety, and even Gogol's bizarre inventive power. He's a neglected writer very much worth rediscovering.

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Northwestern Univ.

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998