By Vladimir Sorokin (Russia)
Translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Country doctor Garin desperately needs to travel to the village of Dolgoye during a relentless snowstorm in order to vaccinate the villagers against the Bolivian plague, which is turning them into zombies. He hires the kindly but simple Crouper to drive him there in his sled, pulled by a team of fifty minuscule horses, never anticipating the misadventures that await them along the way. Elements of the traditional folk tale (giants, a lusty miller’s wife) combine with speculative fiction in this wildly imaginative example of what might be characterized as “Russian magical realism.” Jamey Gambrell’s virtuosic translation captures that magic.