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Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Other Stories


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The first English-language collection of a contemporary Russian master of the short story.

About the Author

Maxim Osipov is a cardiologist, social activist, and writer of short fiction. In 1994, he founded a publishing company specializing in medical translation, and in 2007, he began writing essays, short stories, novellas, and dramas. He has published three collections of prose and was the recipient of the Kazakov Prize for the best short story of 2010.

Boris Dralyuk's most recent translations include Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, and his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. He is the executive editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books.


"In these stories, the borders between hope, delusion and dishonesty are hazy and heavily trafficked ... Dr. Osipov is a master of dramatic irony, wringing bittersweet humor from what the reader sees but the protagonist cannot." --Laura Kolbe, The Wall Street Journal

"Readers are reminded of Chekov repeatedly throughout the collection ... This is subtle, honest and unaffected storytelling where the lives of normal people are picked up and examined closely -- to remarkable effect." --Martha Alexander, The Independent "Osipov makes his English-language debut with this masterful and sublime collection, largely set in rural Russian villages ... This collection showcases Osipov's talent in creating subtle, sophisticated character portraits that carry a good dose of suspense." --Publishers Weekly, starred review "This short-story collection ... feels like a journey back in time. Osipov, a practicing doctor, has been compared to Anton Chekhov, owing not only to their shared vocation but also to the Chekhovian way in which Osipov delves into the lives of ordinary people in dismal circumstances." --Sophie Pinkham, Foreign Affairs "Masterful and often startling stories, suffused with an irony that is as merciless as it is tender." --Daniel Medin "Maxim Osipov's stories cut me to the quick, because he does what true writers do: he tries to make sense of life with his own mind, puts his soul into the effort, and, most importantly, presents everything in his own words." --Sergey Gandlevsky "Osipov's prose -- remarkable, transparent, Russian, painful and tough, timely and timeless -- is imbued with compassion. It may not always console, but it always gratifies." --Lev Dodin "Osipov writes not only laconically, but simply, plainly, without going into excessive details but 'going into' the essence of contemporary Russian life ... Irony, Robert Musil once noted in his diaries, combines enmity with compassion. And this is what we find in the work of Maxim Osipov." --Alexander Livergrant, Novyi Mir "Maxim Osipov's stories are kaleidoscopic. [He] is continuing Russian literature's great love story with medicine, a flame lit by writer-physicians Mikhail Bulgakov and Anton Chekhov." --Matthew Janney, The Calvert Journal

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