Join us as Mikhail Iossel discusses his new book, Notes from Cyberground: Trumpland and My Old Soviet Feeling, with award-winning essayist, fiction writer, film critic, poet, and teacher Phillip Lopate. Iossel's book brings together his most trenchant and enduring political and cultural commentary since the 2016 US presidential election. From a youth spent in the USSR to a life remade in the USA, Iossel shares the brunt of this experience on Facebook, where thousands follow his blistering posts on Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia, and his pensive, eerily timely recollections of life under totalitarianism. Notes from Cyberground brings together a choice selection of Iossel’s aphorisms, ranging from a few words to a few hundred words. Each chapter covers a month from Election Day 2016 to October 2018. Even when comical, this gem of a book is dead serious. It will bring solace to anyone who feels distressed by today’s surreal politics.
“Mikhail Iossel is an intense and thoughtful force for decency in the world.” —George Saunders
“Long after the present rulers are deposed, this treasury of invective will deserve to be read on its literary merits, just as we still read Pope’s and Swift’s satires of their contemporaries. The comparisons between Putin and Trump are especially priceless, as are Iossel’s portrayals of his/our liberal befuddlement.” —Phillip Lopate

Mikhail Iossel, born and raised in St. Petersburg, then Leningrad, during Soviet times, began his career as an engineer working on submarines and as a roller-coaster security guard, and was a member of a group of samizdat writers, Club-81. At the age of thirty, in 1986, he settled in the United States, and he began writing in English two years later and earned his citizenship in 1996. Iossel went on to publish a book of short stories in English, edit a book of contemporary Russian essays, earn a graduate degree in writing, and, eventually, to resettle in Montreal, where he is today an associate professor of English at Concordia University. He is the founder of the prestigious Summer Literary Seminars, which has annually brought together thousands from the literary world not only in Montreal but also Russia, Lithuania, Georgia, and Kenya. His essays have appeared online in leading magazines including the New YorkerForeign Policy, and Guernica.

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 is also the author of two poetry collections, a memoir of his teaching experiences, a collection of his movie criticism, an urbanist meditation, and a biographical monograph. His most recent book is A Mother’s Tale. He is Professor of Writing in the nonfiction MFA program at Columbia University. 


Event date: 

Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

52 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012
Notes from Cyberground: Trumpland and My Old Soviet Feeling Cover Image
ISBN: 9780999541609
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: New Europe Books - November 20th, 2018