Friday, November 5, 2010
Ivan Bunin (1870-1953) is commonly thought to be the best Russian short story writer that you have never heard of. The first Russian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1933), Bunin was the elegy of a Golden Era of Russian writers in the 19th century.
Though living in a country where the novel is king, Bunin, along with contemporary Anton Chekhov began to revolutionize short fiction, giving way to a surge of 20th Century short story writers not only in the Motherland, but in mainland Europe and the United States as well.
From extended short stories such as The Gentleman from San Francisco to two or three paragraph vignettes like Cranes and Calf's Head Bunin's style can seem at times erratic, however each story is threaded together with a distinct gossamer unique only to Ivan Bunin.
I highly recommend these five stories as an introduction:
The Gentleman from San Francisco