The Lunatic Ship (Olga Forsh)

The Lunatic Ship is a novel by Olga Forsh. I read the German translation (Russisches Narrenschiff) by Christiane Pöhlmann.
Finished on: 30.1.2020

There is a house in Saint Petersburg in the 1920s that is home to the big artists of the time. As one can imagine, things are not necessarily very ordered there – with the colorful and idiosyncratic inhabitants as much as with the new Soviet regime, there’s a lot going on – and the House of Art is caught up in the waves of all that dynamic.

Forsh’s novel has all but disappeared – in Russian as well as in other languages. The German translation only came out this year – and what a good thing that is. I was really impressed with the novel as well as with the translation. It’s beautifully written, evocative, surreal and has a sharp eye for the absurdities of (early) Soviet Russia.

The book cover showing a collage of house parts and author portraits.
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