By Vladimir Sorokin
Translated by Max Lawton
Publication Date: 05/14/2024
Grotesque, deconstructive, and absolutely genius, Vladimir Sorokin’s short story collection Dispatches from the District Committee is a revelatory, offbeat portrait of Soviet life beyond the propaganda and state-sponsored realism.
Celebrated—and censored—for its political satire, literary irreverence, and provocative themes, his work has been recognized across the world for its scathing, darkly humorous commentary on political and cultural oppression in the Soviet Union and contemporary Russia.
Dispatches from the District Committee brings together stories from Sorokin’s incendiary 1992 collection The First Subotnik/My First Working Saturday. Skillfully translated by Max Lawton, these stories remain subversive classics, and increasingly relevant in a post-truth information age.
"Sorokin’s sudden exposure is long overdue as he is probably both the most acclaimed and the most controversial author in Russia today, hailed by critics as a ‘living classic’ even as his subject matter takes the tradition of Russian grotesque into areas Gogol or even the Stalin-era absurdist Daniil Kharms never dared venture." —Daniel Kalder, Publishing Perspectives
Vladimir Sorokin was born in a small town outside of Moscow in 1955. He trained as an engineer at the Moscow Institute of Oil and Gas, but turned to art and writing, becoming a major presence in the Moscow underground of the 1980s. His work was banned in the Soviet Union, and his first novel, The Queue, was published by the famed émigré dissident Andrei Sinyavsky in France in 1983. In 1992, Sorokin’s Collected Stories was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize; in 1999, the publication of the controversial novel Blue Lard, which included a sex scene between clones of Stalin and Khrushchev, led to public demonstrations against the book and to demands that Sorokin be prosecuted as a pornographer; in 2001, he received the Andrei Biely Award for outstanding contributions to Russian literature. Sorokin is also the author of the screenplays for the movies Moscow, The Kopeck, and 4, and of the libretto for Leonid Desyatnikov’s Rosenthal’s Children, the first new opera to be commissioned by the Bolshoi Theater since the 1970s. He has written numerous plays and short stories, and his work has been translated throughout the world. Among his most recent books are Sugar Kremlin and Day of the Oprichnik. He lives in Moscow.