August 22, 2019

Come Hell or High Horses, Let's Save This Plane!


Come Hell or High Horses, Let's Save This Plane!
Twenty-first-century convenience meets eighteenth-century flair. Tipichny Saratov

Quote of the Week

“Of all my hobbies, I like problems with self-esteem the most.”

— What one Russian bot thinks a female Elon Musk would sound like

Road Trips through Inferno, Horse Trips to Your House

1. If, in 2009, you asked Damir Yusupov what he’d be doing in ten years, he probably wouldn’t have said “crash-landing a plane to safety.” But that’s exactly what the lawyer-turned-pilot did last Thursday. When a flock of seagulls flew into the engines of their plane, Yusupov (and his 23-year-old co-pilot) had almost no time to react. But, thanks to their rapid thinking and extensive training, they landed the plane in a nearby cornfield — and everyone lived to tell the tale. “I don’t think I’m a hero,” Yusupov said afterwards. But when the president gives you a Hero of Russia award… then yeah, you’re a hero.


A woman in the background describes it as a “second birth.” / Deniz G via Youtube
 

2. Sometimes the road to hell is paved with… nothing. Driving along a newly paved road to Yaroslavl, Maxim Malkin reached the city limit and discovered that the road ended in a dirt path. He struggled across the “kilometer-long hell,” during which he saw horrors fit for Dante’s Inferno: a huge clearing with no lane markers, an abandoned construction site, and potholes the size of craters. “If you’re really going to finish restoring part of the road, then you might as well sweep the entire road away with a dirty broom,” Malkin fumed on VKontakte. The mayor has now promised to fix the road, though, so even this street has a sunny side.

A road ending in a dirt path
Not the road to hell so much as a hellish road. / Maxim Malkin via VKontakte

3. What’s better than getting your lunch delivered? Getting your lunch delivered on horseback. Saratov food deliverer Alexei Savelyev has eschewed the traditional car, opting instead to deliver food astride his glamly saddled white horse. (He used to teach horseback riding, so he’s not soe kind of greenhorn.) His employer has offered him an electric scooter, but Savelyev insists that at least he should be allowed to alternate. So, if you get delivery from him when you feel like you could eat a horse, well, no.

In Odder News

  • Paragliding is fun, but have you tried paragliding off a construction crane? These construction workers in Siberia did, and it looks like fun. (Don’t try this at home, or at your under-construction future home.)
Paragliding off a construction crane
Whee! / Anastasia Verevkina
  • Twenty-eight years ago, the August Coup against Gorbachev began. It was the last in a series of events precipitating the end of the Soviet Union. Check out photos of the coup by a foreigner who saw it with his own eyes.
  • Need a gift for a Russian friend? A new poll says you should buy them books.
Pushkin's self-portrait
This guy would approve. / Wikimedia Commons

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White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
The Moscow Eccentric

The Moscow Eccentric

Advance reviewers are calling this new translation "a coup" and "a remarkable achievement." This rediscovered gem of a novel by one of Russia's finest writers explores some of the thorniest issues of the early twentieth century.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.

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