Published June 01, 2021

White Magic

  • by Alexander Amfiteatrov, et al

White Magic
  • Translated by Muireann Maguire
  • 188 pages
  • $16.00
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THE THIRTEEN TALES IN THIS VOLUME – a baker’s dozen of stories – were all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century to avoid the turmoil of war and revolution. The stories are the work of nine very different writers, who all had very different experiences of exile, yet all are united by a single theme: mystery.

You will also find a fair dose of magic and mysticism here, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.

Each story is also accompanied by a vivid original illustration by Asya Lisina.

Alexander Amfiteatrov
Gaito Gazdanov
Pyotr Krasnov
Ivan Lukash
Pavel Muratov
Irina Odoyevtseva
Georgy Peskov
Nadezhda Teffi
Yevgeny Zamyatin


"A real box of delights… The writing in these stories is often stunning… wonderfully poetic and atmospheric, and very evocative… and it has some lovely black and white illustrations, one for each tale… Although these stories are all written from a place of exile, there’s so much variety; trying to pin down émigré writing to just one type or with one theme is pointless, as these wonderful stories demonstrate. What is clear, however, is the sheer quality of work which was produced by Russian émigré authors and hopefully this is a seam which translators will continue to mine deeply."

– Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings


"The book is well-produced, with nice illustrations… go read the book; it’s a treasure that any lover of Russian literature should cherish, not least because of Maguire’s uniformly excellent translations. Usually, when I read in translation, I wish I was reading the original instead; here I just relaxed and enjoyed her renditions, which are smooth, accurate, and appropriate to the authors’ styles. It must have taken a lot of work, and she deserves a round of applause."

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