Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 13:33:58
26 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.

Word for Word

Author: Lilianna Lungina
Translation: Polly Gannon

Nov/Dec 2014
Page 42   ( 4 pages)

Summary: Lilianna Lungina was a leading literary translator in the Soviet Union. Her autobiography was a huge bestseller in Russia and is finally appearing in English. We present a short excerpt.


In June we studied for our exams. We were preparing to take, among others, an exam in nineteenth century literature. We studied together in groups. Oleg Troyanovsky, who was taking part in our little group, and whom I was expecting to bring over some lecture notes to me at home, called me up and said:

“You know, Lili, I was listening to the radio last night...” Now, Troyanovsky’s radio was not just some little black speaker, the kind that could be found in every household, but a huge, splendid, state-of the-art apparatus that they had brought with them from America. It was a record player combined with a radio, which could pick up western radio broadcasts. Oleg said, “I’m not sure, Lili, it was hard for me to make it out, but I think war broke out last night. I think Hitler crossed over the border.”

I said, “Come on, Oleg. You can’t be serious!”

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