Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor Lorin Stein has been wanting to publishing Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin for years, but until now could not find a work of his that could be translated easily enough into English.
That changed this week, Mr. Stein told Media Mob, with FSG planning to publish a short volume tentatively titled A Day in the Life of an Oprichnik in the near future. Mr. Stein compared the book to A Clockwork Orange, describing it as a satirical novel set in 2028 that follows a protagonist who’s basically a henchman to a Putin-like dictator ruling over a Russia which has walled itself off from the rest of the world.
“Sorokin is one of those writers who’s just not well enough known here for the very good reason that he’s very hard to translate,” Mr. Stein said. “But I think this is the book that can change that. It’s also very topical– it’s obviously a affront to the Putin-Medvedev junta.”
Mr. Sorokin, 53, was most recently published in the United States through the New York Review of Books classics line, which has issued translations of his novels Ice and The Queue. Mr. Stein said that he discussed the acquisition with NYRB editor Edwin Frank before signing up A Day in the Life. “We certainly didn’t want to step on their toes,” Mr. Stein said. “They gave us their blessing, and I hope we can help each other publish him.”
“A lot of people we’ve been talking to say it’s his best yet,” Mr. Stein said. “[Russian-born FSG assistant] Mark Krotov had been reading it with his grandmother. The two of them loved it. His grandmother thought it was Sorokin’s best work.”
Mr. Stein said a translator for the book had not yet been chosen.