"Rachel Shihor is the opposite of a misty-eyed writer," writes Mona Reiserer in the Quarterly Conversation. "Her writing penetrates to the truth of the aches and anxieties all people share, though they must generally suffer them alone." "There is no question that she is a great writer," Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love, confirms, "Only a master could make such originality feel inevitable. The only question is why so few people have had the chance to read her." In Stalin is Dead, Shihor offers a medley of aphorisms, flash fiction, and short stories, carving out a slice of the world in which Kafka would feel at home. The characters that inhabit this world - reckless she-goats, morose fish, somnambulistic theologians, poignant old ladies, dying dictators, and dead poets, to name just a few - have nothing in common save for the fact that they instruct us on the human condition. Available at last in Ornan Rotem's translation, these edifying stories, with all their sadness and humor, are a writer's tour de force and a reader's delight.
Rachel Shihor has taught philosophy at Tel Aviv University. She is the author of The Vast Kingdom, The Tel Avivians, and Days Bygone, the last available from Sylph Editions. Ornan Rotem is a founder of Slyph Editions and translator of Shihor's Days Bygone, among other works.
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