A groundbreaking novel from Russia's most prominent contemporary writer, published in English for the first time.
In this 1999 work, now available for the first time in the English language, Mikhail Shishkin displays at full force the writing talents that have won him international recognition for books like MAIDENHAIR and THE LIGHT AND THE DARK.
The Izmail of the title is a border fortress town, taken and lost by Russian forces numerous times in history. Here it is taken as a metaphor for the task of mastering life itself, and the scope of the task is conveyed through a masterfully interwoven panoply of scenes from different times and settings in Russia: in this tour de force of structure, style and scholarship the interaction of the scenes creates a genuine sense of the complexity of life.
As Mikhail Shishkin's father says to him in the autobiographical chapter Conclusion: 'This life, Mishka, has to be taken like a fortress!' Among other things, TAKING IZMAIL is a young writer's own brilliant storming of that fortress.
A literary masterpiece . . . His writing is richly textured and innovative and his themes are universal. - Guardian.
Mikhail Shishkin is the Ian McEwan of Russia . . . Striking proof that great Russian literature didn't die with Dostoevsky. - Monocle
Powerful treatment of love and the vividness of being alive. - Sunday Times
Wonderfully lucid and concise . . . Reaches over the heads of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to the tradition of Pushkin. - TLS
Emotionally powerful . . . Both heart-breaking and exhilarating. - Irish Examiner