Subtly Worded and other stories, by Teffi

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Subtly Worded and other stories, by Teffi

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Jun 19, 2014, 9:02 am

Excitingly, today is the publication date of Subtly Worded, a collection of short stories by Teffi.

Teffi was quite possibly the most popular writer in Russia before the October Revolution, a favourite of Tsar Nicholas II and Lenin alike - no small achievement!)

There's a fair bit of info about the collection floating around on the internet, and the wonderful Teffi herself seems to finally be getting the recognition that her work so richly deserves, as after many years of near silence, she's suddenly being translated into a number of languages. And there's a huge body of work waiting to be translated!!

Jun 24, 2014, 7:56 am

Jun 28, 2014, 2:43 pm

It does sound rather lovely - I wonder how Pushkin Press are about giving review copies to bloggers?? :)

Jun 28, 2014, 3:28 pm

I think they're pretty good. Get in touch!!

Jun 29, 2014, 5:01 am

OK - I will!

Jun 29, 2014, 5:41 am


Jun 29, 2014, 10:09 am

This sounds great! I'll look for it.

Jun 29, 2014, 4:06 pm


Jul 2, 2014, 2:42 pm

Now reading Subtly Worded - she really is very, very good!

Editado: Jul 2, 2014, 2:47 pm

Haven't found it in the bookstore yet, but will keep looking. They generally have a good Pushkin Press selection.

ETA Per Amazon, it's not being released (in the US???) until December, but the UK Book Depository has it. Will wait a few weeks to see if I can get it at the bookstore and then may order it.

Jul 2, 2014, 3:31 pm

Fantastic, kaggsy! Would love to know your favourites when you've finished.

rebeccanyc, yes, there's quite a gap between the UK and US publication dates. It's available electronically, but then you would miss out on the presentation - it's absolutely gorgeous. And the cover image is highly detailed, which doesn't come across electronically. I hope you're able to find a copy locally.

Jul 3, 2014, 6:18 am

>10 rebeccanyc: Do try to get the tree version - Pushkin editions are so beautiful and this is no exception!

>11 anisoara: I will - and I'll link to my review too!

Jul 6, 2014, 2:27 pm

Brilliant. (And I'll share your review with others!)

Jul 13, 2014, 5:14 am

My review is here:

Loved this book to bits - hard to pick out favourites because there isn't a dud among them, but "The Lifeless Beast" was very moving, the title story clever and chilling, and her memories of Rasputin absolutely fascinating! Hope more Teffi will make its way into English!

Jul 13, 2014, 2:06 pm

What a fabulous review! I'll be sharing it everywhere.

"The Lifeless Beast" is considered one of her finest works, and certainly her finest before emigrating.

(There is more Teffi in the pipeline. "Yavdokha" has just been published in the latest issue of Chtenia, and I believe her memoirs are scheduled for release in 2016.)

Jul 13, 2014, 2:34 pm

Excellent news! I'm pleased!

Out 16, 2014, 10:14 am

I just bought Subtly Worded this evening at Kinokuniya in Bangkok. Looking forward to reading it. I'm curious to know Anne Marie, what are you translating now?

Out 18, 2014, 4:15 am

Oh wonderful! (And I love it, too, that you bought the book in Bangkok.) And right now we're working on more Teffi!

And over the past few months I've translated a number of short stories for different publications: a story by Teffi - "Yavdokha" - for the summer issue of Chtenia (, a couple of stories for Maaboret (one by Yevygeny Shvarts and two by Daniil Kharms, all still to appear) and and a piece by Olga Slavnikova for an as yet unnamed anthology which I think is due to appear in the spring.

So... this and that!

Out 22, 2014, 4:51 pm

How could I be so dense that I didn't realize you were one of the translators?! Now I'm going to order it right away from the Book Depository!

Out 23, 2014, 4:27 am

Great!! Teffi is very special. The contents are grouped pretty much chronologically, and there are many lighter stories, often with a sting in the tail, towards the beginning of her career, although even then there are some stories that are not funny at all, and Teffi is *always* extraordinarily perceptive. I hope you really enjoy the collection.

Dez 13, 2014, 10:13 am

The US edition has now been released and this piece has just been published in the New York Times - halfway between a review of the book and about Teffi generally:

Abr 17, 2016, 1:27 pm


Very excitingly, two new Teffi volumes are due from Pushkin Press next month - Rasputin and Other Ironies plus Memories From Moscow to the Black Sea. Translation in the safe hands of amongst others Robert and Elizabeth Chandler plus Anne Marie Jackson - can't wait!!!!!

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