Sisters of the Cross


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Table of Contents

List of Characters
Sisters of the Cross

About the Author

Alexei Remizov (1877-1957) was a Russian novelist and short-story writer known for his unique style, which blends a popular Russian idiom with the language of old Russian tales and folklore. Roger Keys is the author of The Reluctant Modernist: Andrei Belyi and the Development of Russian Fiction, 1902-1914 (1996) and numerous articles on Russian Symbolism. Brian Murphy is professor emeritus of Russian at the University of Ulster. His publications include works on Mikhail Sholokhov and Mikhail Zoshchenko.


A seminal novel by one of the most important of the Symbolist writers. . . . Whether you read it to get a sense of Petersburg in the pre-revolutionary era, or to savor the poeticism of Remizov's prose, you won't be disappointed. * Russian Life *
In gorgeous prose, the novel blends together the seemingly disparate narratives of its individual characters to form a harmonious whole. The narrative sings of age-old dichotomies-rich and poor, truth and illusion, love and lust. Phrases, sentences, and even entire paragraphs occasionally resurface throughout, like motifs in a symphony of human suffering. * Foreword Reviews *
Dark and beguiling; Remizov is a writer worth knowing about, and this slender volume makes a good start. * Kirkus Reviews *
An assured and vivid translation by Roger Keys and Brian Murphy. . . . Sisters of the Cross freely blends the symbolic with the explicit, the arcane with the colloquial, and the spiritual with the profane, depicting life in all its irrationality and absurdity. -- Bryan Karetnyk * Times Literary Supplement *
Remizov's sketches and episodes offer a vividly drawn good cross-section of Russian life at the beginning of the twentieth century. -- M.A. Orthofer * The Complete Review *
Now that Sisters of the Cross is accessible in a skilled translation, those teaching undergraduate courses have the opportunity to assign what is arguably Remizov's finest work as well as an excellent example of Russian modernist prose. . . . For Anglophone readers with an interest in Russian literature who have not yet come across Remizov, Sisters of the Cross will be a pleasing discovery. -- Barry P. Scherr * Slavic and East European Journal *
In Sisters of the Cross, we get an expertly accurate translation of perhaps the only masterpiece of Russian prose before 1917 that remains unknown to Anglophone readers. Keys and Murphy capture Remizov's teeming, intensely human post-Dostoevskian Petersburg, where the sordid, the surreal, and the spiritual are inextricable. -- Gerald Smith, University of Oxford
Sisters of the Cross is a tale set in Burkov's boardinghouse-a microcosm of Petersburg and the whole of Russia-filled with minor civil servants, wronged women, and holy wanderers, accident-prone circus artistes set to conquer the heart of Europe, the indifferent rich, and a Moscow merchant, haphazard patron of the protagonist. All this buzzes and sings, expands and contracts in mesmerizing spirals-until the shock of the last line, a scream for help in an empty world. Wisely, Keys and Murphy preserve the authorial intonation, and thereby achieve simplicity and poetic resonance without losing immediate human interest among the echoes of another culture. -- Avril Pyman, University of Durham
An English translation of Alexei Remizov's Sisters of the Cross has long been overdue. Roger Keys and Brian Murphy successfully tackle the challenges of Remizov's unique and quirky style, which fuses archaic and folkloric traits with a modernist flair reminiscent of surrealism. -- Adrian Wanner, Pennsylvania State University

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