OPENINGS: Original Essays by Contemporary Soviet and American Writers by Robert & Valeri Vinokurov--Eds. Atwan

OPENINGS: Original Essays by Contemporary Soviet and American Writers

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, commissioned by the Seattle Goodwill Games of 1990, is a solid collection of 14 essays by 14 Soviet and American writers. The essays address seven different areas--history, geography, art, science and technology, literature, sports, and ways of life--with one American writer discussing an American aspect of each area, and one Soviet writer discussing a Soviet aspect of each. For example, Joyce Carol Oates talks about American writing during the past 20 years, focusing on the growing influence of women and of varied minority and ethnic groups, including Hispanics, gays, Native Americans, Jewish Americans, African Americans, etc. In the complementary essay, Alexsandr Mulyarchik comments movingly on the suppression of literary works during the Stalinist and post-Stalinist eras, as well as on the effects of perestroika on the publication of previously banned works. One of the most appealing essays is Gerald Early's ""House of Ruth, House of Robinson."" Here, Early (English & Afro-American Studies/ Washington Univ.) combines personal reminiscence with insightful commentaries on baseball and the impact of black players on the sport. Equally delightful is Teymuraz Mamaladze's ""Running for the Turtle,"" in which the author, who suffered a heart attack, describes his experiences as a member of ""The Turtles,"" a club of walkers and runners whose motto is ""The turtle goes slow but lives long."" He also comments knowledgeably on how Soviet bureaucracy has impeded the development of sport in his homeland. Other outstanding pieces include an evocative and revealing study of Soviet ecology by novelist Viktor Astafyev, a heartwarming reminiscence of a week spent with a Russian family by Scott Russell Sanders, and a sensitively rendered overview of American art by Eleanor Munro. Lavishly illustrated, this stimulating work will contribute, as coeditor Atwan (coauthor, Bedside Hollywood, 1985) states in his introduction, to ""a new intellectual dialogue between our countries.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Univ. of Washington Press