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Fortune Is Misfortune

January 4, 2018

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 4 years since, thanks to Languagehat, I was reading Aleksandr Vel’tman (“Ol’ga,” “Orlando Furioso”). Now LH has gotten to the end of Vel’tman’s fiction with Fortune Is Misfortune (Счастье несчастье, 1863). It sounds like it’s not his best, and based on what LH says about it (“It’s not a bad anecdote […], but stretching it out to fill a 700-page novel is ridiculous; it’s full of repetitious activities by characters no one cares about, even the author”) and about Vel’tman’s general “love of obscure words and documents, his joyous playing around with form, his refusal to let the reader sink comfortably into a story and forget that it is an artificial creation,” I’d think that Vel’tman might be better at short forms, as Leskov, to whom Bukhshtab compares him, is often said to be. But LH thinks he’s actually better as a novelist and “knew how to tell a story as well as play with form.” I’ll have to give Koshchei the Immortal (Кощей Бессмертный, 1833) and/or Salomea (Саломея, 1848) another try.


One Comment leave one →
  1. January 4, 2018 11:23 am

    Please do; I’d love to get your reaction!

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