The two novels included in this book are works of Russian magic realism. In the first novel, Shadowplay on a Sunless Day, Anatoly Kudryavitsky writes about life in modern-day Moscow and about an emigrant’s life in Germany. The chapters of this multi-layered novel form a narrative mosaic of episodes set in both real and surreal worlds. The writer confronts real life with the phantasmagoria of a shadow world, drawing a parallel with Tuatha Dé Danann, the underworld of Celtic mythology. Spending time there gives the heroes a chance to consider their existence from perspective of eternal life, which seems both attractive and terrifying. The novel deals with problems of self-identification, national identity and the crises of the generation of “new Europeans”.
In the second novel, A Parade of Mirrors and Reflection, the writer turns his attention to human cloning, an issue very much at the centre of current scientific debate. In this novel, he looks at the philosophical aspects of creating artificial personalities who lack emotions and experience of everyday human life through a story about secret cloning experiments being carried out in an underground laboratory on the outskirts of Moscow. Most of the clones find themselves in Grodno, Belarus, a city that, due to its geographical location, has always been an important crossroads in Eastern Europe. Each clone is a featureless person looking for their own identity; however, only one of them has a chance to succeed.
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Born in Moscow, Anatoly Kudryavitsky is the grandson of an Irishman who was imprisoned in Stalin’s GULAG. Educated at the Moscow Medical Academy, he holds a PhD in Biomedical Science. In Russia, he worked as a researcher, as a magazine editor, and as a literary translator. Blacklisted in the Soviet Union until 1988, he was first published openly in 1989.
Since then, he has authored three novels, The Case-Book of Inspector Mylls (Zakharov Books, Moscow, 2008), The Flying Dutchman (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2013) and Shadowplay on a Sunless Day (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2014), as well as a book of his novellas and short stories, A Parade of Mirror and Reflections (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2017). He has also published seven collections of his poetry in Russian and three collections of his English-language poems, the latest being Horizon (Red Moon Press, 2016). He edited A Night in the Nabokov Hotel (Dedalus Press, 2006), an anthology of contemporary Russian poetry in his translations into English, and Coloured Handprints (Dedalus Press, 2015), an anthology of contemporary German-language poetry in his translations into English. He has also translated English-language classics into Russian and Polish and Swedish poetry into English.
Kudryavitsky has won many international awards for his English-language haiku, and is regarded as one of the most prominent European haiku poets. He lives in Co. Dublin, Ireland, and works as the editor of SurVision, an international magazine for Neo-Surrealist poetry, and Shamrock, an international haiku magazine. He has given readings and spoken at many European literary festivals. His poems and stories have been translated into fourteen languages.
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