It's Raining in Moscow
Author: Selyem, Zsuzsa
Publisher: Contra Mundum Press
New from the publisher
It's Raining in Moscow is a novel that goes both beyond and stays this side of history -- the history of a family, of the post-1945 deportations, of a multiethnic region in Eastern Europe, Transylvania, in the 20th century, of the interactions of animals, plants, and humans, where for once the text inhabits non-human perspectives. A novel that repeatedly asks the question: what do we need to face our own lies and the lies of others; what do we accept as truth if we are dispossessed, left to our own means and entirely alone in the wasteland, or in the torture chamber?
Eleven stories from the short 20th century -- the defining events in the life of a man, István Beczássy, the author's grandfather, from sexual initiation to interrogation and torture at the hands of the Securitate, the secret police of communist Romania, narrated mostly from animal perspectives. The familiar historical traumas are shown in a strikingly defamiliarizing light: deportation into forced domicile, when seen through the eyes of a dog, becomes at once more bearable and more gripping, for the dog doesn't perceive the loss of property but senses all the more acutely the absence of his masters, the ghostly silence of the empty house. The interrogation and torture at the Securitate headquarters, when told by a bedbug that voices self-help psychological clichés and Coelho-like fatuities, at once hinders our natural empathizing with the victim of torture, and starkly exposes dominant behavior patterns in the world of the humans.
Zsuzsa Selyem's books have been translated into German, French, and Romanian. Her stories have come out in English in World Literature Today, the anthology Best European Fiction 2017 (Dalkey Archive) and elsewhere. This is her first volume in English.