A Present Past
Titan and Other Chronicles
by Sergei Lebedev
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Pub Date 11 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 16 Feb 2024
Head of Zeus, Apollo
“Ghosts are not born by themselves. They are born of a silent conscience. They are as real as the ignored knowledge of crimes and the refusal to accept real responsibility. They are the distorted voice of the dead turned into mystical images. The voice of unwanted witnesses.”
A Present Past is a collection of short stories that brings to vivid life a post-Soviet world haunted by the secrets and crimes of its past. It features a judge overcome by the weight of his ruling, the stories within the old Soviet cemeteries, discovered objects that transport us to another time and the documents of the KGB. Seamlessly blending history with fiction, politics with individualism, reality with magic, the eleven tales explore the unacknowledged crimes of the Soviet Union and Russian State, and show how the devastating sins of the past pervade the present.
A tour de force – exquisite and gripping, finely translated, fiction that pulls you into the beautiful and brutal service of imagining and understanding the human realities of modern Russia, a series of tales meticulously crafted and deeply imagined. - Philippe Sands, author of East West Street
One of Russia's most prominent contemporary writers, Lebedev, 41, has been hailed for a series of novels that hold a mirror up to Russia's blighted past. A former geologist, he chips away at the deep strata of his country's 20th century history, the seams of trauma concealed by a state-sanctioned campaign of oblivion. - The Financial Times
A luminous and magical writer, Sergei Lebedev excavates the Soviet past and gives voice to its restless ghosts. By exploring Russia’s dark history he sheds light on its terrible present. Lebedev’s stories are urgent and compelling at a time when a Kremlin leader is waging a myth-inspired war in Ukraine. - Luke Harding, author of Invasion: The Inside Story of Russia's Bloody War and Ukraine's Fight for Survival
Memories of the Soviet era emerge through relics, landmarks, and fantastical occurrences in this satisfying collection . . . Lebedev adds vibrant lyrical descriptions to the strange interplay of past and present . . . There's a real payoff to these rich and ambiguous stories. - Publishers Weekly