A Russian correspondent wrote me to say: “as a reader of your blog I see that you are interested in Russian formalistic prose. Here are two novels by Iliazd available for free download.” He had excellent insight into my interests; some time back I was interested enough in Ilia Zdanevich, known as Iliazd (Ильязд), to write most of that Wikipedia article, and I draw your attention to this passage:
In 1923 he began his novel Parizhachi, about four couples who agree to dine together in the Bois de Boulogne; in the course of two and a half hours (each chapter has an exact time for a title, from 11.51 to 14.09) they all manage to betray each other, and the novel itself breaks all manner of orthographic, punctuational, and compositional rules. He continued working on this “hyperformalist” novel (which he described as an opis’, or “inventory”) until 1926, but it was not published until 1994. His second novel, Voskhishchenie (“Rapture”), was published in a small edition in 1930 and was ignored at the time. Set in a mythical Georgia among mountaineers, on the surface a crime novel, it is actually a fictionalized history of the Russian avant-garde, full of allusions to world literature; it could be said to anticipate magic realism. The language of the novel is innovative and poetic, and the Slavist Milivoje Jovanović called it “undoubtedly the summit toward which the Russian avant-garde was striving.”
Don’t those novels sound interesting? Well, those are the very novels you can download from the link in the first sentence. They’re both quite short, and I look forward to enjoying them in the not too distant future.
(Incidentally, today I created a Wikipedia article for the long-forgotten historical novelist Grigory Danilevsky; if anybody knows how to add the image from the Russian page on him, I wouldn’t object if you did so.)