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Old Hunting Grounds and Other Stories: Volume Two
por Yuri Kazakov
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In this second volume Kazakov presents more of his engaging character-cameos and North Russian scenic compositions. His pristine settings are once again living presences described with the touch of 'a psychologist of nature', to quote one of his admirers, the poet Andrei Voznesensky. This was a region whose inhabitants even as late as the second half of the 20th century were still largely unaffected by the complexities of modernity, folk for whom the great world was in principle the primordial one of their surroundings: that is, an immediately sensed universe extending from the near, and at first glance ordinary, outwards to the heavens of the northern lights and the very stars. It is, or was until recently, still possible beside such places as the White Sea and its adjacent forests and tundra, to daily observe country people living in that sort of integration with nature, accepting without question the ocean, the land, and the seasons as the determining power in their lives and be hardly aware of any other; it was, as we see in these tales, certainly possible as late as a generation ago in Kazakov's time, even in a nation which for years had been frenetically industrializing and whose relation with its environment was relentlessly exploitative.
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