By Oleg Woolf
Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk
Bessarabian Stamps explores what it means to live on the edges of empires, which rise and fall while Sănduleni abides.
Publication Date: February 16, 2015
Reminiscent of Bruno Schulz’s Street of Crocodiles, Oleg Woolf’s Bessarabian Stamps—a cycle of sixteen stories set mostly in the Moldovan village of Sănduleni—is a vivid, surreal evocation of a liminal world. Sănduleni’s denizens are in permanent flux, forever shifting languages, cultures, and states, in every sense of the word. With a warm, Bessarabian irony recalling one of Eastern Europe's long-forgotten regions, the Stamps explore what it means to live on the edges of empires, which rise and fall while Sănduleni abides.
Oleg Woolf was born in 1954 in Moldova and passed away in 2011 in the United States. A physicist by training, he spent a number of years on geophysical expeditions throughout the former Soviet Union. Along with his wife, Irina Mashinski, he was the founder and editor of the bilingual press Stosvet and its journal Cardinal Points.
Boris Dralyuk holds a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures from UCLA, where he lectures on Russian literature. His work has appeared in various literary and academic journals. He is the translator of Leo Tolstoy's How Much Land Does a Man Need? (Calypso Editions, 2010), the cotranslator of Polina Barskova's The Zoo in Winter: Selected Poems (Melville House, 2011), and the recipient of the 2011 Compass Translation Award. His study of Russian popular detective stories, Western Crime Fiction Goes East: The Russian Pinkerton Craze, 1907-1934, is available from Brill. He lives in Los Angeles.