Varlam Shalamov


“Shalamov”, Valery Esipov's new book, is now available in stores nationwide (14 august 2012)

First chapters are presented online at

The “Duck”, translated by Robert Chandler & Nathan Wilkinson (5 june 2012)

It had been very difficult for the man to take a decision himself, to act independently, to do something his daily life had not prepared him for. He had not been taught to hunt ducks. That was why his movements had been helpless, clumsy. He hadn’t been taught to think about the possibility of such a hunt — his brain couldn’t come up with correct answers to the unexpected questions life posed. He had been taught to live differently, without needing to take decisions of his own, with another will — someone else’s will — in charge of events. It is uncommonly difficult to meddle in one’s own fate, to ‘refract’ fate. And maybe that’s all for the best — a duck dies on a patch of water, a man in a barrack.”

Robert Chandler's & Nathan Wilkinson's translations of three short stories by Shalamov (9 may 2012)

In the late 70s, Robert Chandler has published translations of several short stories by Shalamov (including “Sherry Brandy”, “Berries” and “Duck”) in magazines “Index on Censorship” and “Bananas”. In the anthology “Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida” (Penguin Classics, 2006) he has included the following new translations on which he collaborated with Nathan Wilkinson: “Through the Snow”, “Berries”, “The Snake Charmer”, “Duck”.