Elena Dolgopyat was born and raised in the USSR, trained as a computer programmer in a Soviet military facility, and retrained as a cinematographer post-perestroika. Fusing her diverse experiences with her own sensitivities and preoccupations, and weaving throughout a colourful thread of magic realism, she has produced an unsettling group of fifteen stories all concerned in some way with the theme of estrangement. Elena herself, in an interview given at the time of the book’s launch, said, “Into each of these stories is woven the motif that one’s life is ‘alien’. It is as if you are separate from your own life and someone else is living it. You feel either that your own life is ‘other’, or you experience a yearning for a life you have not led, an envy for some other life.” In his introduction to the collection, Leonid Yuzefovich writes, “Each of Elena Dolgopyat’s stories … painfully stirs the soul with a sense of the fragility, the evanescence, even, of human existence … in her quiet voice, she is telling us of ‘the multicoloured underside of life’. She is telling us of things that matter to us all.”
About The Author:
Elena Dolgopyat is from Murom, in the Vladimir region of Russia. She graduated from the Moscow Institute of Railway Engineering (now the Moscow State University of Railway Engineering) in 1986, and worked until 1989 as a programmer at a military facility in the Moscow region. In 1993 she graduated from the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, and has worked at the State Central Museum of Cinema in Moscow since 1995.
She was first published in 1993, and has published short stories, novella-length works, and several television serial and film screenplays. Her three short story collections are: “Rodina” (“Homeland,” 2016), which was shortlisted for the 2017 Russian National Bestseller prize; “Russkoye” (“Russianness,” 2018); and “Chuzhaya Zhizn”’ (Someone Else’s Life, 2019), longlisted for the 2020 Yasnaya Polyana prize. The story “The Facility” from Someone Else’s Life was runner-up for the 2020 Babel Prize. Her story “Soobshcheniya s planety” (“Messages from the Planet”), published in the literary journal Novyy Mir in 2021, was longlisted for the fifth annual Babel award.
Review copies are available upon request.
Title: Someone Else’s Life
Author: Elena Dolgopyat
Translator: Richard Coombes
Publisher: Glagoslav Publications
ISBN: 9781804840184, 9781804840191, 9781804840207
Extent: 340 pages
Price: €22.99 (PB), €26.99 (HB), €9.95 (e-book)
Format: paperback, hardback, e-book