Vladimir’s Mustache and Other Stories

Introducing, Vladimir’s Mustache.

A webpage for the collection went up on Wednesday, complete with a blurb — the book’s first — from Brett Finlayson, who, along with Alexander Yates, helped make the collection’s longest story, The Castrato of St. Petersburg, much better prior to its being published in Salt Hill.

In addition to thanking Brett, I have to give a few words of appreciation to Sergey Maximishin, without whom I wouldn’t have this book cover. His photo shows a file of photographs of people executed during Stalin’s purges and is part of a longer photo story on Stalin that can be found here.

I considered a good number of images (and one illustration) for the cover, but nothing felt right, nothing separated itself from everything else, until I was directed to Sergey’s work by Carolyn Drake, whose photography is no less worthy of your attention.

I love how Sergey’s photo straddles two time periods, both the past and the present, and how, like a half-opened door in a horror film, it holds back as much as it reveals, making the viewer sit up higher in his chair, or lean off to one side, as if for a better view. It’s just great storytelling, really, and I’m so grateful that I was able to play a role in selecting it — which is one of the joys of publishing with a small press like Russian Life Books.

Now onto the galleys, which I suppose are a month or two away.

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