The Letter Killers Club

By Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.

This was an intense and intelligent read. I can’t help but wonder if Gombrowicz, with his obsession with form, read Krhizhanovsky even though this is unlikely as Krzhizhanovsky was largely unpublished. There are I believe many more novels and stories that are waiting in the wings to be translated. So many unusual images and great ideas, and imaginative ways of illustrating ideas and concepts are contained here. I also wonder about Krzhizhanovsky’s name as he was born to Polish parents in Kiev – and both his first name and surname have been made into a Russian derivation. Did he change these to fit into a Moscow society where being of Polish origin rendered you suspect? There are some great passages in this book. I enjoyed it much more than the previous collection I read – due mostly to the fact I prefer an immersive novel. Or,  there was a connection with his voice here for some reason or other.




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Memories of the Future

memories-of-the-future-sigizmund-krzhizhanovsky By Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

Half-way through this book after reading six of the seven stories I thought this was ok – and only just. However the last and longest novella that makes up half the book was excellent. There were quite complex scientific principles espoused with humour and a dollop of intrigue – at least they seemed complex to me. If the ideas wern’t complex then Krzhizhanovsky did a good job of making them seem so. It’s a real pity some of the other stories are a bit patchy. Also a real pity there are no longer works like Memories of the Future in translation. There is another collection of stories but given my lack of affinity with the ones in this book I may just leave it. Should another novella appear I will definitely read it. As I said, a couple of the stories were fine but some just seemed deliberately zany with no real point to the absurdity. Absurdity can give form to a story ala Gombrowicz but here something just didn’t ring true. Perhaps I am being unfair and am happy to be persuaded otherwise if anyone has  a different take on it. I might even try a re-read on some of the stories due to the strength of  ‘Memories’ and its strange atmosphere. If my opinions change I will do a separate post. This is worth reading for the ‘Memories of the Future’ novella.

Soundtrack: Anything off  ‘Distortion’ by the Magnetic Fields.

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