June 01, 1997

From the Childhood Years of Ivan Popov

Vasily Shukshin (1929-1974) was a masterful writer whose work is too little known outside Russia. His stories, novels and films (he was also a very successful film actor and director) resonate with the gritty humor and honesty of rural life, echoing more the colorful genre of Russian folk tales than either the classic storytelling of Chekhov or the moralistic fables of socialist realism. Many of his stories are deeply autobiographical, including this, one of his last literary works (Popov was Shukshin’s birth name, but his father was killed during the purges; he took his stepfather’s name at the age of 16). These vignettes from childhood were written by Shukshin between 1968 and his untimely death in 1974. Masterfully translated into colloquial English, From the Childhood Years of Ivan Popov is a perfect introduction to Shukshin’s work.

Due to licensing issues, the excerpt is not available online, but the book can be purchased here.

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