Pushkin Hills (2014 edition) has been translated into English by Katherine Dovlatov, the daughter of the late author Sergei Dovlatov, who passed away in 1990 in New York. Soviet émigré Dovlatov’s novel was first published in 1983. This partly autobiographical fable begins in Leningrad, where Boris Alikhanov, an unsuccessful, alcoholic writer has been sent away by ex-wife Tatyana and their daughter Masha.
He ends up in the country, as a literary tour guide for the summer on the Pushkin Hills Preserve. He joins a motley collection of other social rejects, and for a time he is able to regroup. But when his ex-wife shows up to obtain his signature so that their daughter can accompany her to the West, Boris goes on a bender. He makes a choice to make no choices, and this black comedy paints a portrait of alienated intellectual Russian men of the nineteenth century. This is a dark comedy of excesses.