Птицы жизни
Series: Fiction
Alexander Stessin
Life Birds
A Novella

2020. 125 x 200 mm. Hardcover. 176 p.

ISBN 978-5-4448-1270-9

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Annotation: Memoir. Travelogue. Poetic anthology. In his newest work of autofiction, oncologist and writer Alexander Stessin explores the metaphor of the forest and its relation to themes of memory, identity, and uncertain paths chosen and unchosen. As narrator, Sasha Stessin takes a trip into the forests of Latin America to visit his close friend and former classmate-turned-bird watcher, Eric Berenger. A “life bird” is a species of bird that is seen and identified in the wild for the very first time in the life of the birder who keeps a list of all the species he or she has ever seen. During his stay Sasha begins to realize that birdwatching is for Eric more than simply another hobby, just as observing Eric and his family around their menagerie of questionable expat acquaintances is more than an idle curiosity for the narrator himself. Watching others is just another way of watching oneself. What associations do we draw between the lives of others, which we see before our own eyes, and our own experiences? Are these associations simply random or obliquely meaningful in their abstruseness? What, if any, is the true benefit of hindsight? And is it really possible to stand outside of oneself in the moment and truly see oneself by looking from the outside in? In this book, Stessin presents an often cerebral yet always relatable exploration of his own unpredictable journey through the jungles of self-discovery—from literature to medicine, from English to Russian, from poet to doctor and back again.

“Alexander Stessin has created one of the most complex, unusual, and, frankly speaking, charming images of the hero-narrator in modern Russian prose.”

Galina Yuzefovich, literary critic

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