Russian Cuisine in Exile (MOBI)

Russian Cuisine in Exile (MOBI)


Pyotr Vail and Alexander Genis
Edited and translated by Angela Brintlinger and Thomas Feerick

MOBI File | For use on e-readers
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ISBN: 9781644690413 (digital)
Pages: 114 pp.; 70 illus. (color)
Publication Date: November 2018

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Russian Cuisine in Exile brings the essays of Pyotr Vail and Alexander Genis, originally written in the mid-1980s, to an English-speaking audience. A must-read for scholars, students and general readers interested in Russian studies, but also for specialists in émigré literature, mobility studies, popular culture, and food studies. These essays—beloved by Russians in the U.S., the Russian diaspora across the world, and in post-Soviet Russia—narrate everyday experiences and re-imagine the identities of immigrants through their engagement with Russian cuisine. Richly illustrated and beautifully produced, the book has been translated “not word for word, but smile for smile,” to use the phrase of Vail and Genis’s fellow émigré writer Sergei Dovlatov. Translators Angela Brintlinger and Thomas Feerick have supplied copious authoritative and occasionally amusing commentaries.

Pyotr Vail and Alexander Genis were, as they noted, “geopolitically” Russian. Born citizens of the USSR—Vail in Riga, Latvia in 1949 and Genis in Ryazan, Russia in 1953—they emigrated in 1977 to New York, where they became writers, journalists, and radio broadcasters. Among their endeavors was a short-lived Russian-language newspaper for Soviet émigrés called The New American, which they launced with fellow émigré author Sergei Dovlatov. They also both worked for Radio Liberty, eventually hosting their own programs (“Heroes of Our Time” and “American Hour with Alexander Genis). In 1995 Vail moved to Prague, where he headed the Russia desk and served as managing editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty until his death in 2009, while Genis remained in New York, where he lives to this day. Their writing partnership yielded two important books which make a significant contribution to the field of “everyday life studies,” taking the reader back in time to participate in the 1960s Soviet experience (The 60s. The World of Soviet People) or 1980s émigré life (Russian Cuisine in Exile). Erudite and ethical, clever and kind, these two writers offer a view into the lives of displaced people. Their language and culture tied them to the vast empire which had ejected them, and their thoughtful and often entertaining engagement with politics and literature continues to attract readers across the globe today.

Angela Brintlinger is fascinated with Russian language and culture. She has written, edited and translated numerous books and articles about Russian literature and has taught several generations of students at Ohio State University, including co-translator Thomas Feerick, who is currently pursuing his PhD at Northwestern University.