Cover image for Siberia on fire : stories and essays
Title:
Siberia on fire : stories and essays
Author:
Rasputin, Valentin, 1937-2015.
Uniform Title:
Works. Selections. English. 1989
Publication Information:
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
xxii, 230 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780875801520

9780875805474
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Six stories and six essays present the land, the people, and the spirit of Siberia as portrayed by Valentin Rasputin, one of the most important and influential of contemporary Soviet writers. Cloth edition ($30) not seen by UPBN. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR


Summary

Siberia on Fire brings together some of the best stories and essays by Valentin Rasputin, widely regarded as the finest writer in the Soviet Union today. Although the people and places that make up his fiction are characteristically Siberian, Rasputin's broad appeal and international recognition stem from universal themes--the interdependent elements of nature; the cultural and historical continuum maintained by past, present, and future generations; and the clash between modern and traditional mores.

Rasputin was born in a small Siberian village on the Angara River in 1937 and educated at Irkutsk University. His work displays his continuing concern about the economic development of the vast wilderness of Siberia and its effects on the land and the people. Siberia has undergone monumental changes brought on by the excesses of Stalinism in the twenties and thirties, the losses and deprivations during World War II, and the massive construction and modernization projects of more recent decades. A prominent feature of Rasputin's fiction, often associated with the "village prose" movement, is the portrayal of a traditional way of life that is vanishing along with huge tracts of forests and three-hundred-year-old villages.


Author Notes

Valentin Grigoriyevich Rasputin was born on March 15, 1937 in Ust-Uda, Soviet Union. He graduated from Irkutsk State University in 1959. He worked as a journalist for many years. He became a head of the village prose writers who emerged in the 1960s to address moral and environmental issues and depict a rural Russia about to be consumed by industrialization. His books included Farewell to Matyora, The Fire, and Money for Maria. He died on March 14, 2015 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Valentin Grigoriyevich Rasputin was born on March 15, 1937 in Ust-Uda, Soviet Union. He graduated from Irkutsk State University in 1959. He worked as a journalist for many years. He became a head of the village prose writers who emerged in the 1960s to address moral and environmental issues and depict a rural Russia about to be consumed by industrialization. His books included Farewell to Matyora, The Fire, and Money for Maria. He died on March 14, 2015 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

A major contemporary Soviet writer charts the terrain of his native Siberia. Rasputin's dazzling stories are sophisticated splicings of nonchronological episodes. Of special interest is ``The Fire,'' which analyzes the various types of chaos caused by political and social upheaval, and natural disasters, as well as their cost to the individual: ``A sensitive person . . . views himself not as a doctor would, seeing primarily organs fulfilling specific functions, but as the powerful, weak-willed sovereign of an immense, incomprehensible kingdom.'' The nonfiction here, however, is almost redundant, returning the aesthetic transformations of the stories to their factual roots. Rasputin's essays advocating preservation of Siberia's natural resources reveal his convictions but lack documentation and proposals for change; discussions of Soviet writers Vasily Shukshin and Aleksandr Vampilov will not engage the lay reader. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Choice Review

The "village school" point of view regarding Soviet environmental issues is well represented in this collection of Valentin Rasputin's stories and essays. The selections, drawn from the period 1966-87, also demonstrate how little the ideas of this prominent spokesman for the movement have changed, notwithstanding intervening political modifications. He continues to expound opposition to industrial development in Siberia, especially his native Lake Baikal region. His arguments have more of an ideological than scientific flavor and they partially overlap with those of Russian nationalists with whom he has long been associated. Thus, he favors traditional family and social structures, strong bonds between people and soil, and reverence for established cultural mores while advocating the suitability of pristine Siberian settings for such a life-style. The longest item, the 1985 novella "Fire," recounts how intrusion of a modern timber-cutting settlement destroys community feeling as well as forest reserves and causes moral decline. Similar sentiments are echoed in the rest of the book. Though Rasputin displays a certain stridency of tone when denouncing large-scale Moscow planned depletion of Siberian resources, his romantic vision of that land as a sacred, mysterious morality-inspiring creation of nature dominates. A slow narrative pace, intermingling long pastoral descriptions with philosophical digressions and expression of personal feelings, leaves little room for action. All in all, this is vintage Rasputin. Suitable for graduate and undergraduate libraries and Russian studies collections. M. K. Frank Randolph-Macon Woman's College


Publisher's Weekly Review

A major contemporary Soviet writer charts the terrain of his native Siberia. Rasputin's dazzling stories are sophisticated splicings of nonchronological episodes. Of special interest is ``The Fire,'' which analyzes the various types of chaos caused by political and social upheaval, and natural disasters, as well as their cost to the individual: ``A sensitive person . . . views himself not as a doctor would, seeing primarily organs fulfilling specific functions, but as the powerful, weak-willed sovereign of an immense, incomprehensible kingdom.'' The nonfiction here, however, is almost redundant, returning the aesthetic transformations of the stories to their factual roots. Rasputin's essays advocating preservation of Siberia's natural resources reveal his convictions but lack documentation and proposals for change; discussions of Soviet writers Vasily Shukshin and Aleksandr Vampilov will not engage the lay reader. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Choice Review

The "village school" point of view regarding Soviet environmental issues is well represented in this collection of Valentin Rasputin's stories and essays. The selections, drawn from the period 1966-87, also demonstrate how little the ideas of this prominent spokesman for the movement have changed, notwithstanding intervening political modifications. He continues to expound opposition to industrial development in Siberia, especially his native Lake Baikal region. His arguments have more of an ideological than scientific flavor and they partially overlap with those of Russian nationalists with whom he has long been associated. Thus, he favors traditional family and social structures, strong bonds between people and soil, and reverence for established cultural mores while advocating the suitability of pristine Siberian settings for such a life-style. The longest item, the 1985 novella "Fire," recounts how intrusion of a modern timber-cutting settlement destroys community feeling as well as forest reserves and causes moral decline. Similar sentiments are echoed in the rest of the book. Though Rasputin displays a certain stridency of tone when denouncing large-scale Moscow planned depletion of Siberian resources, his romantic vision of that land as a sacred, mysterious morality-inspiring creation of nature dominates. A slow narrative pace, intermingling long pastoral descriptions with philosophical digressions and expression of personal feelings, leaves little room for action. All in all, this is vintage Rasputin. Suitable for graduate and undergraduate libraries and Russian studies collections. M. K. Frank Randolph-Macon Woman's College