Miranda July Takes Berberova to Her Desert Island
Miranda July is a filmmaker, artist, and writer. Her most recent work is The First Bad Man, a novel. For his bookshop and website One Grand Books, editor Aaron Hicklin asked July to name the ten books she'd take with her if she were marooned on a desert island. On March 11, 2016, her list, "My Bookshelf, Myself," ran in the New York Times Style Magazine and included the brilliant choice of Nina Berberova's The Tattered Cloak and Other Stories, which was first published, in her lifetime, in hardback by Alfred A. Knopf and in paperback by Vintage. Subsequently, this volume and five others became part of the brilliant New Directions catalog and remains very much in print.
For the story of how the title story acquired its title, you can read my essay at Words Without Borders, "The Tattered Cloak: The Story of the Title," which illustrates just how convoluted the path to a title can be.
The Tattered Cloak and Other Stories corresponds roughly to Berberova's collection Облегчение участи [Sentence Commuted]--which Berberova considered her finest fiction.