Header

Maria Stepanova

Post-Memory

Original Russian title Памяти памяти , published by Novoe in November 2017
(German title: Nach dem Gedächtnis)
ca. 350 pages
Clothbound
2018
Maria Stepanova
Foto: Maria Stepanova
© Valery Shibanov, Seledka Newspaper

Maria Stepanova, born in Moscow in 1972, is a poet, essayist, and journalist and one of the most visible figures of contemporary literary life in Russia. Editor-in-chief of the online newspaper colta.ru, in 2018/2019 Maria Stepanova will take up the Siegfried-Unseld guest professorship in Berlin.

Sold to

US/Canada (New Directions), UK/Commonwealth (Fitzcarraldo), Spanish world rights (Acantilado), Chinese simplex rights (China CITIC Press), France (Stock), Italy (Bompiani), Netherlands (De Bezige Bij), Sweden (Nirstedt/litteratur), Finland (Siltala), Poland (Prószyński), Bulgaria (Janet 54)

» Post-Memory is the most important Russian novel of 2017.« GQ

About

Montpellier, 1908: the photograph of a young woman by an easel or »Grandma on the barricades«, as the family calls it. Pre-Revolution portraits, postcards from Venice, Montpellier, or Nizhny Novgorod, pieces from the »library of a very different and lost visual culture«, letters, childhood souvenirs – these are the things that the author examines in astonishment. Who were these people who travelled all throughout Europe yet lived in Russia? Who did their best to remain anonymous and who made little effort to make history seem interesting?

But it is precisely the unspectacular nature of the find which turns the author’s research in the Russian context into something new: »Everyone else had a family made up of people participating in history; mine was made up only of their tenants.« Destined to become victims of persecution and repression, they all still managed to survive the 20th century. How was that possible? This is the question and point of departure for Maria Stepanova’s first great work of prose.

In dialogue with, among others, writers like Roland Barthes, W.G. Sebald, Jacques Rancière, and Susan Sontag, imbued with a passion for thought and a wonderfully soft, poetic voice derived from sensual as well as intellectual observations, Stepanova assembles her found pieces into a panorama of an entire age. At its heart lives a large family of doctors, architects, librarians, accountants, and engineers, unheroic individuals who did not attach themselves to any great project but who in uncivilized, violent times attempted to live quiet, civilized lives.

Praise

»Post-Memory by Maria Stepanova is far and wide the best book written in Russian in 2017. Stepanova writes in a Russian like no one else.« Afischa

»Post-Memory is the most important Russian novel of 2017. An extremely personal crime story in which the interpretation of the past reveals itself to be part of another, more political plot: how we can come to terms with ourselves in the present.« GQ

»Maria Stepanova has turned the dead into her co-authors. The result is a book that was unknown in Russian before – and seeks more of its kind in other languages.« Novaja Gaseta

»Not only the most important book of the year, but of recent years in general. This is true event - for all those who still know how to read.« Echo Moskvy

»A meta novel like this appears only once every ten years - a great literary reconstruction, which has created a whole new genre and sounds the relation between memory, time, and history.« Literratura