Photograph of Mikhail Zoshchenko by Boris Ignatovich, 1923
Releasing a book into the wild is both a joyous and an agonizing experience: I’m always glad to see the creature in its natural habitat, on bookstore shelves, but I also know that predators roam the aisles… The first week is full of anxiety. Will others treat the book kindly? Will they even notice its existence?
I’m pleased to report that, like Elsa the Lioness, my newly freed translation of Mikhail Zoshchenko’s Sentimental Tales is off to a roaring start! Karen Langley — whom I and so many booklovers out there also know as Kaggsy of Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings — greeted the collection with a wonderfully sharp-eyed and open-hearted review for Shiny New Books, ending with the perfect description of its overall effect: “Humorous, profound, multi-faceted and tragic, these Sentimental Tales will have you laughing and crying at the same time.”
And other bloggers I admire have been just as receptive! The Opinionated Reader, Adventures with Words, and A Bookish Type have all offered thoughtful, sensitive appraisals of the book. The reception at Goodreads and NetGalley is also deeply encouraging. Which reminds me! My warmest thanks to the Goodreader named Calzean J., who made my day with this spot-on pop cultural comparison: “It reminds me of a series of Seinfeld episodes with George Costanza appearing as various characters.”
Kirkus and Foreword Reviews were also marvelously generous. And to cap it all off, in a big way, yesterday’s issue of The Economist carried a review that couldn’t have been nicer had I written it myself. Yes, I know the journal’s reviewers are anonymous, but I assure you: I didn’t write this one! In fact, I can’t even bring myself to quote it… If you’re interested, read it here.