Updated September 25, 2015
by Hamid Ismailov
Translated from the Russian by Carol Ermakova
"Ismailov tells a haunting tale of an Afro-Russian boy's search for love. Generous in spirit yet unsparing in its honesty, The Underground illuminates a loneliness that is as devastating as it is universal. In breathtaking prose, Ismailov reminds us again and again that even the slimmest thread of light can pierce through the darkest of days."
—Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion's Gaze
“One of the best Russian novels of the 21st century.”
"Hamid Ismailov has the capacity of Salman Rushdie at his best to show the grotesque realization of history on the ground."
Paperback List Price: $16.99 • ISBN: 9781632060440 • Publication: 9/22/15 • 5-1/2" x 8-1/4" • 288 pages • Fiction: Contemporary Russian Literature / Race and Diversity • Territory: World English • eBook ISBN: 9780989983242
PRAISE AND HIGHLIGHTS
A SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH IN LONDON
Hamid Ismailov had a standing-room only crowd at Waterstones Piccadilly, “Europe’s Largest Bookshop,” for the launch of his novel The Underground. Ismailov was joined in conversation by the book's translator, Carol Ermakova, and Hugh Barnes, a journalist and specialist on Russian matters. Read all about it on the Turnaround Blog.
THE GUARDIAN: "A LUMINOUS ELEGY FOR LATE-SOVIET MOSCOW"
“Exiled Uzbek writer Hamid Ismailov weaves this story of mundane misery and visceral decay into a luminous elegy for late-Soviet Moscow.… Ably translated by Carol Ermakova.… Ismailov’s novel inevitably invites comparison with Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground.… The Underground recreates a lost Moscow. The narrator’s memories map out a haunting, bittersweet cityscape, with landmarks that no longer exist and names that have long since changed.” —The Guardian
HAMID ISMAILOV INTERVIEWED BY ELECTRIC LITERATURE
Electric Literature published a frank and illuminating conversation between Hamid Ismailov and Melody Nixon, about “censorship and creativity, political economy, and life for writers outside of the global centers of literary production.” Here he is on diversity in literature:
"What I lacked as a reader and writer in the Soviet era, from childhood onwards, was a depiction of the reality that was around me. I was in a melting pot of all kinds of nations, cultures, beliefs, faiths and civilizations, and I didn’t see the richness of these experiences depicted in Soviet literature.... In coming to the west I all of sudden realized it was an even bigger problem for western literature than for Soviet. In Ian McEwan’s famous books you hardly meet any Black people, or Caribbean people, or Chinese. Take wonderful Kazuo Ishiguro, who is himself Japanese by origin. Almost all his books are about English people, and that’s it. So in the mainstream English literature you can’t see any multi-national, or other realities apart from rare exceptions."
FROM THE BLOG
ALL REVIEWS AND COVERAGE
2Paragraphs: Interview with Hamid Ismailov
BookPage.com: What We're Reading
Curb (blog): First Class
f news magazine: The brief life of an “Olympian”
Electric Literature: The Peripheral Writer: An Interview With Hamid Ismailov
The Guardian: Review of The Underground
The Independent: Review of The Underground
The Kompass: Ismailov: “Russian literature is in my blood”
LargeHearted Boy: Book Notes - Hamid Ismailov, The Underground
New Internationalist: Review of The Underground
The New Inquiry: A Dark City
openDemocracy: Review of The Underground
Square Books (Oxford, MS): Review of The Underground
Transitions Online: An Uzbek Writer’s Tunnel Vision of Moscow
Typographical Era: New in Translation September 2015
Varsity: Interview with Hamid Ismailov
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