The two novels included in this book are works of Russian magic realism. In the first novel, Shadowplay on a Sunless Day, Anatoly Kudryavitsky writes about life in modern-day Moscow and about an emigrant’s life in Germany. The chapters of this multi-layered novel form a narrative mosaic of episodes set in both real and surreal worlds. The writer confronts real life with the phantasmagoria of a shadow world, drawing a parallel with Tuatha Dé Danann, the underworld of Celtic mythology. Spending time there gives the heroes a chance to consider their existence from perspective of eternal life, which seems both attractive and terrifying. The novel deals with problems of self-identification, national identity and the crises of the generation of “new Europeans”.
In the second novel, A Parade of Mirrors and Reflection, the writer turns his attention to human cloning, an issue very much at the centre of current scientific debate. In this novel, he looks at the philosophical aspects of creating artificial personalities who lack emotions and experience of everyday human life through a story about secret cloning experiments being carried out in an underground laboratory on the outskirts of Moscow. Most of the clones find themselves in Grodno, Belarus, a city that, due to its geographical location, has always been an important crossroads in Eastern Europe. Each clone is a featureless person looking for their own identity; however, only one of them has a chance to succeed.
"But then straightforward narrative does not lend itself to the otherworldliness of Kudryavitsky’s fiction which is informed by Russian magic realism, a dose of Kafkaesque terror, Philip K Dickian science fiction and a bit of Celtic Twilight." Tony Bailie, The Irish News
"Overall, it is a fascinating, anarchic voyage through Europe charged with complex political, social and scientific issues. Through both of his works, disUnity should offer Kudryavitsky a rightful place in the history of Russian magical realism." Alexandra Bramwell, Dublin Review of Books
“Poet who voices the unspoken”- Joseph Brodsky
“A samizdat poet who had to put up with a good deal of abuse during the Communist period and who has only been able to publish openly in recent years. In his “poetics of silence” the words count as much for the silence they make possible as for what they say themselves” - Leonard Schwartz, POETRY PROJECT Newsletter
“Anatoly Kudryavitsky paints with nuances, using words to craft a delicate, symbiotic balance between nature and cognitive perception. He paints a picture that is more than picture, breathing into his canvas what words often fail to say.” - Robert D. Willson, SIMPLY HAIKU
"His work as poet, haikuist, translator and anthologist has greatly enriched Irish poetry” - Dennis O' Driscoll
Born in Moscow in 1954, Anatoly Kudryavitsky is the grandson of an Irishman who was imprisoned in Stalin’s GULAG. Educated at the Moscow Medical Academy, he holds a PhD in Biomedical Science. In Russia, he worked as a researcher, as a magazine editor, and as a literary translator. Blacklisted in the Soviet Union until 1988, he was first published openly in 1989.
Since then, he has authored two novels, The Case-Book of Inspector Mylls (Zakharov Books, Moscow, 2008) and The Flying Dutchman (Text Publishers, Moscow, 2013), as well as a few novellas and short stories. He has also published seven collections of his poetry in Russian and three collections of his English-language poems, the latest being Capering Moons (Doghouse, 2011). He edited A Night in the Nabokov Hotel (Dedalus Press, 2006), an anthology of contemporary Russian poetry in his translations into English, and Bamboo Dreams (Doghouse, 2012), an anthology of Irish haiku poetry. He has translated English-language classics into Russian and Russian, German, Polish and Swedish poetry into English.
Kudryavitsky has won many international awards for his English-language haiku, and is regarded as one of the most prominent European haiku poets. He lives in Co. Dublin, Ireland, and works as editor of Shamrock, an international haiku magazine. He has given readings and spoken at many European literary festivals. His poems and stories have been translated into fourteen languages.