Countdown to Zoshchenko

I was as pleased as Punch to see my translation of Mikhail Zoshchenko’s Sentimental Tales appear on Amazon (US and UK), with its inspired cover. To my mind, the starch-collared pencil is the perfect visual metaphor for the cycle’s narrator, Kolenkorov, who is a transparent literary creation — a ghostly emanation of Zoshchenko’s style. And since that style is intentionally (and expertly) broken, so is the pencil.

Zoshchenko Cover.jpg


8 thoughts on “Countdown to Zoshchenko

    1. Thank you, Kaggsy! And CUP’s Russian Library is indeed marvelous. What an honor to be on their roster… I hope they won’t regret signing me up. We’ve reviewed a number of their recent titles in the Los Angeles Review of Books, including Nora Seligman Favorov’s translation of Sofia Khvoshchinskaya’s rediscovered novel City Folk and Country Folk and Peter France’s Writings from the Golden Age of Russian Poetry, a biography of Konstantin Batyushkov elegantly interlaced with glorious translations of his verse.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jason, thanks very much indeed! Alexandra Fleming, Anne Marie Jackson, and I are currently working on a wonderful collection of stories by the contemporary writer Maxim Osipov for NYRB. And the same press will bring out Lev Ozerov’s Portrait Without Frames, translated by Maria Bloshteyn, Robert Chandler, Irina Mashinski, and myself, late next year.


  1. The sparklingly witty writer and translator Maria Bloshteyn, whom I am lucky to call a friend, sent me her reaction to the cover, which is too good not to share: “[T]he colours themselves are so evocative and so well chosen — the washed-out ochre of an aged manuscript, the blue, black, and red of old magazines… Even the font of the title, with its funny mid-letter enhancements for Sentimental and the same font without the whirly-twirls for Tales… Subtly comic, slightly archaic, all brilliant!”


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