On the Power of Russian Literature

by Alex Epstein

My great-grandmother once shut a book by Tolstoy so hard that a spark came from its pages, and the spark climbed up the curtains, and ignited a fire, and our summer house went up in flames. I did not inherit this talent of my great-grandmother’s, but once I did try to write a story in which everything took place in reverse: the summer house goes up in flames, the curtain burns, a spark catches in the pages of Anna Karenina, and so on: my great-grandmother shut the book so hard that the fire was extinguished.

From Lunar Savings Time, Clockroot Books. From the Hebrew: Becka Mara McKay. Art: Lior Reizel. Mixed technique on canvas (detail).