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21 November 2018

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The Twelve Chairs

by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov
Translated by Anne O. Fisher

No translator knows Ilf and Petrov like Anne Fisher. And it is a joy to announce that her translation of the first Ostap Bender tale is now in print, completing the set (Russian Life Books published her prize-winning translation of The Golden Calf in 2009).

The “smooth operator” is here in full measure, this time with his sidekick Ippolit Vorobyaninov, as the pair haplessly search the Russian provinces for a set of chairs, inside one of which is believed to be a priceless treasure in jewels. The Twelve Chairs is a ruthless skewering of Soviet and Russian culture and society that is as relevant (and funny) today as when it was published in 1928. And of course Fisher’s translation is brilliant and fresh, brimming with invaluable footnotes to provide context and meaning to the text.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: May/June 2012