In this 1999 work, now available for the first time in the English language, Mikhail Shishkin displays at full force the writing talents that have won him international recognition for books like Maidenhair and The Light and the Dark. The Izmail of the title is a border fortress town, taken and lost by Russian forces numerous times in history. Here it is taken as a metaphor for the task of mastering life itself, and the scope of the task is conveyed through a masterfully interwoven panoply of scenes from different times and settings in Russia: in this tour de force of structure, style and scholarship the interaction of the scenes creates a genuine sense of the complexity of life. As Mikhail Shishkin's father says to him in the autobiographical chapter Conclusion: 'This life, Mishka, has to be taken like a fortress!' Among other things, Taking Izmail is a young writer's own brilliant storming of that fortress.
Mikhail Shishkin (Author) Born in 1961 in Moscow, Mikhail Shishkin is one of the most prominent names in contemporary Russian literature, and is the only author to have won all three major Russian Literary Prizes. He lives in Zurich. Andrew Bromfield (Translator) Andrew Bromfield has been translating from Russian for more than twenty years, with a particular focus on modern literature since the demise of the USSR. A founding editor of the journal Glas: New Russian Writing, his numerous translations include the works of Victor Pelevin and Boris Akunin. Prior to Taking Izmail, he has also translated Mikhail Shishkin's The Light and the Dark.