In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale / ISBN 9780811228831 / 432-page paperback from New Directions
Shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize
"A daring combination of family history and roving cultural analysis...a kaleidoscopic, time-shuffling look at one family of Russian Jews throughout a fiercely eventful century."― John Williams, The New York Times
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 Dipping into various forms—essay, fiction, memoir, travelogue, and historical documents—Stepanova assembles a vast panorama of ideas and personalities and offers an entirely new and bold exploration of cultural and personal memory.
Maria Stepanova, born in Moscow in 1972, is a poet, essayist, and journalist, and editor in chief of the online newspaper Colta. In 2018, she was awarded the Bolshaya Kniga Award for In Memory of Memory.