Friday, January 28, 2011

Chtenia Readings: a periodical featuring writing from Russia

Chtenia is a literary journal published through Russian Life magazine, but its content is entirely different.  Featuring a collection of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography, this advertisement-free journal is more like Granta than a typical magazine.  In fact, it's sized similarly to Granta, with a paperback book-like size and feel.

Especially unique is that the contents vary from classic Russian authors, such as Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, and Andreyev as well as newer readings from modern Russian writers:  an excerpt from Marina Tarkovskaya's memoir brings us to the end of the 20th century in her "Shards of a Mirror".  Her brief section reveals both the extreme poverty as well as the blind wealth and ignorance of some families during one of Russia's most complicated times.

The theme for the issue I received to review was Dacha Life, exploring the tradition of upper- and middle-class Russians to have second homes, dachas, in the countryside. Irina Borisova's short story "A Summer's Tale" describes two older women still living the dacha lifestyle while their children have grown up and away. 

A special note must be given to the featured photographer, Alexander Anshukov, whose black and white photos (especially the orange cat framed in an old rustic window above) show an old, rural Russia not often depicted.  This journal is published four times a year and the readings are the perfect size to enjoy.  While the subscription is not inexpensive, the fact that it has no annoying advertisements makes it worthwhile.

Special thanks to Paul for the Review Copy.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed your review. Have been a fan of Russian Life for some time, so this is a great new addition. Love the cover.