Horsemen of the Sands, by Leonid Yuzefovich

Horsemen of the Sands cover.jpg

Horsemen of the Sands

by Leonid Yuzefovich

Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz

Archipelago Books, 2018

In a Soviet elementary school, a bombastic teacher lectures his young students on traffic accidents and family separation, unwittingly stirring an emotional crisis. A lost wallet, an office fling, an upset stomach—the minutiae of life unveil the private tragedies at the heart of a school community.

A world away, an old herdsman entrances a young tank commander with the legend of Baron Ungern, the real-life White Russian officer who conquered Mongolia. A foggy epic unfolds, a tale of faith and revenge centering on a mysterious amulet, said to make the wearer invincible. From the dim of the classroom to the vast Mongolian steppe, Leonid Yuzefovich’s masterful novellas The Storm and Horsemen of the Sands drill straight to the core of human emotion. These Russian parables illuminate the fears, passions, and ambitions beneath the grandest acts and the tiniest gestures.


“Shot through with a mythic and cipherlike style, Yuzefovich’s novellas are cogent depictions of faith, obsession, power, and the ties that bind. . . .” — Publishers Weekly

“These are fitting novellas to bring to an American public...they eschew the Russian penchant for long philosophical monologues or dialogues that create philosophical debate and meaning in a work, and instead Yuzefovich opts for the more “American” style of communicating meaning through events themselves...The internal consistency of the novellas is a testament to the craft of the writer, and also to Schwartz’s translation.” —Ryan K. Strader, Cleaver Magazine

“[The Storm] asks readers to go beneath the surface, while [Horsemen of the Sands] opens up an unfamiliar world and invites us to think about the stories we tell. One can only hope that more of Yuzefovich’s work makes its way into English with all the speed and determination of the horsemen he chronicles.” — Yelena Furman, Los Angeles Review of Books

“History and human drama collide in Leonid Yuzefovich’s Horsemen of the Sands, a wonderful tangle of relationships, religions, and realism...The prose adroitly bears both an ethereal and a concrete quality...culminating in a fascinating meditation on trickery and the power of suggestion.” — Meagan Logsdon, Foreword Reviews

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