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Saint Petersburg, 1905. Behind the gates of the Karenin Palace, Sergei, son of Anna Karenina, meets Tolstoy in his dreams and finds reminders of his mother everywhere: the vivid portrait that the tsar intends to acquire and the opium-infused manuscripts Anna wrote just before her death, which open a trapdoor to a wild feminist fairy tale. Across the city, Clementine, an anarchist seamstress, and Father Gapon, the charismatic leader of the proletariat, plan protests that embroil the downstairs members of the Karenin household in their plots and tip the country ever closer to revolution. Boullosa tells a polyphonic and subversive tale of the Russian revolution through the lens of Tolstoy’s most beloved work.
“Anna Karenina’s children and other fictions of Tolstoy’s—who know they aren’t exactly human—intertwine with Carmen Boullosa’s own fictions, who think they are real, and also with the Russian Revolution. A delightfully original and enjoyable book—Russian literature seen through Latin American eyes, and made into something new.” —Salman Rushdie
“What does it mean to say that a fictional character has so infused our collective imagination that she’s ‘taken on a life of her own’? And what if the very vitality of her fictional portrait is what seems to deny her the possibility of living that life—or telling it as her own story? Carmen Boullosa plants an anarcho-feminist bomb in the afterlife of Tolstoy’s novel—and then lovingly collects the scattered pages and bloodied rags that she’s let fly, assembling them into a dreamscape where author, character and reader might finally be pressed to recognize one another’s autonomous voice, and humanity. Historical and yet uncannily actual, readerly and yet deeply writerly, The Book of Anna is a much-needed reminder of the performative power of fiction in unjust and turbulent times.&rdquo —Barbara Browning
“A beguiling return to the world created by Tolstoy. This beautiful translation takes Anna Karenina’s story a step further, showing how a single tragedy ripples across generations.” —Elliot Ackerman, author of Waiting for Eden
Carmen Boullosa—a Cullman Center, a Guggenheim, a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, and a Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes Fellow—was born in Mexico City in 1954. She’s a poet, playwright, essayist, novelist, and artist, and has been a professor at New York University, Columbia University, City College—City University of New York, Georgetown, and other institutions. She’s now at Macaulay Honors College—City University of New York. The New York Public Library acquired her papers and artist books. More than a dozen books and over ninety dissertations have been written about her work.
Phillip Lopate is a central figure in the resurgence of the American essay, both through his best-selling anthology The Art of the Personal Essay and his collections, Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body, Portrait Inside My Head and To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. He directs the nonfiction MFA program at Columbia University, where he is Professor of Writing.