Billed as the "literature of glasnost," a surprisingly inventive, artistically yearning collection from leading Soviet authors. Introduced by Zalygin, editor of the leading Russian literary journal Novy Mir, these stories will be most memorable to American readers for their literary density and political boldness. Examples of the former include Andrei Bitov's Pushkin's Photograph (1799-2099), a fantastic fable about time-travel and a visit to the great Russian writer of the title; and Mikhail Roshchin's "The Devil's Wheel in Kobuleti," set in Soviet Georgia, which retells the Jason and Medea myth as a strange modern love story. The most seemingly dissenting story (many of these pieces are so crafty and elusive that their real intentions are difficult to determine) here is Sergei Zalygin's own "Prose"--in which a writer writing of himself in the third person asks a timely political and artistic question, "How can literature reflect justice if the conditions of its own life are so unjust?" Other stories seem to address this problem by making madness, illness, or anger their themes. Vladimir Makanin's "Antileader" depicts the violent criminal tendencies of a dull, 30-year-old man whose hostility is finally left unexplained. "Love in Mustamagi," by Arvo Valton, is an affecting story of a disgruntled worker who leaves his wile and stumbles into accidental fatherhood. Women's perspectives are taken up by Lyudmila Petrushevskaya in "Through the Fields" and in Tatyana Tolstaya's "Fire and Dust," also to be found in her recently published collection, On the Golden Porch (p. 334). On the whole, a striking, slippery, eccentric collection that sheds valuable light on the liberation of the Soviet life and mind.