To the Stars and Other Stories

Susanne Fusso


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Columbia University Press
11 October 2022
ISBN: 9780231200059
280 pages

From the publisher

A boy who feels persecuted by the banality of everyday life yearns to ascend to the cold and majestic plane of the stars. A seamstress finds liberation of a sort in "becoming" a dog and howling at the moon. A club of young girls masquerade as the grieving fiancees of strange men. This book brings together these and other remarkable short stories by the Russian Symbolist Fyodor Sologub that explore the lengths to which people will go to transcend the mundane.

Renowned as one of late imperial Russia's finest stylists, Sologub bridges the great nineteenth-century novel and the fin-de-siecle avant-garde. He stands out for his masterful command of both realist and fantastic storytelling; his play with language evinces a belief in its capacity to access other worlds and other levels of meaning. Many of Sologub's stories are set among children whose alienation from the adult world has lent them imagination and curiosity, enabling them to create an alternative reality. At the same time, he bluntly examines the sordid realities of late imperial Russian society and frankly presents sometimes unconventional sexuality. The book also features a selection of Sologub's "little fairy tales," ambiguous parables couched in childlike language whose ingenuity anticipates the miniatures and "incidents" of Daniil Kharms. Susanne Fusso's elegant translation offers these artful tales to an English-speaking audience.