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In Memory of Memory
Translated from the Russian by Sasha Dugdale
Read this book and feel the work of memory as it coils and curls across political and cultural histories, photographs, and personal artifacts: hear an ode to the archive. -CF
An exciting contemporary Russian writer explores terra incognita: the still-living margins of history.
With the death of her aunt, the narrator is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, letters, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: a withered repository of a century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled with calm, steady hands, these shards tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary Jewish family somehow managed to survive the myriad persecutions and repressions of the last century.
In dialogue with writers like Roland Barthes, W. G. Sebald, Susan Sontag, and Osip Mandelstam, In Memory of Memory is imbued with rare intellectual curiosity and a wonderfully soft-spoken, poetic voice. Dipping into various forms—essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue, and historical documents—Stepanova assembles a vast panorama of ideas and personalities, offering an entirely new and bold exploration of cultural and personal memory.