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Stalin is Dead: Stories and Aphorisms on Animals, Poets and Other Earthly Creatures

by Rachel Shihor Sylph Editions
Pub Date:
Pbk 96 pages
AU$37.99 NZ$39.12
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
“Rachel Shihor is the opposite of a misty-eyed writer,” writes Mona Reiserer in the Quarterly Conversation. “Her writing penetrates to the truth of the aches and anxieties all people share, though they must generally suffer them alone.” “There is no question that she is a great writer,” Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love, confirms, “Only a master could make such originality feel inevitable. The only question is why so few people have had the chance to read her.”

In Stalin is Dead, Shihor offers a medley of aphorisms, flash fiction, and short stories, carving out a slice of the world in which Kafka would feel at home. The characters that inhabit this world—reckless she-goats, morose fish, somnambulistic theologians, poignant old ladies, dying dictators, and dead poets, to name just a few—have nothing in common save for the fact that they instruct us on the human condition. Available at last in Ornan Rotem’s translation, these edifying stories, with all their sadness and humor, are a writer’s tour de force and a reader’s delight.


A She-Goat and Seven Kids

Stalin is Dead

A Recollection

My Mother

The Nursery Teacher


The Retired Judge

The Tiniest Animal

The Royal Prince

The Future of Old Women

The Former Mayor’s Ancient Daughter

The Bridge

The Train

I Left a Bad Impression

Meanwhile in Ein Karem

Mr Zimmermann

Religions are a Curse

The Bus

The Dead


The Third Brother

The Tower of Babel


The Piano Tuner

The Fly

Two Flies

The Punished

The Concert

Rumour Had It

The Trusting Fish

A Fish Meets His Fate

My Forefathers


The Mouse Who Had an Operation

I Fell Ill and Then I Got Better


The Guest

The Next Steps

The Diary of an Employee

The National Poet and his Adversaries

The Trees

The Door

My Father

The Stranger

The Drawer That Got Stuck

Pascal’s Wager


Poets I

Poets II

Notes on the typograms

GÇ£Shihor's slim book presents us with an extraordinary cast of characters. . . . The imaginative landscape of the stories evokes a vanished Europe, rather than the contemporary Middle East, and the book is haunted by images of exile. . . . Shihor's characters are survivors of a nightmare world, and they live with the dread of losing everything again.n++?
Rachel Shihor has taught philosophy at Tel Aviv University. She is the author of The Vast Kingdom, The Tel Avivians, and Days Bygone, the last available from Sylph Editions. Ornan Rotem is a founder of Sylph Editions and translator of Shihoras Days Bygone, among other works.