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Moscow But Dreaming

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  90 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The first short story collection by award-winning author Ekaterina Sedia! One of the more resonant voices to emerge in recent years, this Russian-born author explores the edge between the mundane and fantastical in tales inspired by her homeland as well as worldwide folkloric traditions. With foreword by World Fantasy Award-winner Jeffrey Ford, Moscow But Dreaming showcase ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 14th 2012 by Prime Books (first published October 30th 2012)
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Jenny (Reading Envy)
These stories would hit the spot for anyone who enjoys Russian lit (dark, depressing, consequences) or fantasy (creatures, beings, unexplained events). The combination of the two is magical. Somehow a depressing event becomes epic sorrow when laced with supernatural elements. Sometimes the true story is only hinted at, and the reader has to unravel the words to discover the truth. To me, this is the very best kind of story.

A few highlights:

A Short History of Lunar Seas - Beautiful world building
...more
Maciek
Ekaterina Sedia is a Russian-born author who now lives in New Jersey, and Moscow But Dreaming is her first short story collection - which I enjoyed, but with a few reservations.

I think that cities can be great protagonists. Cities are interesting, especially ones which have been founded centuries ago - and carry within themselves histories far longer and often much more compelling than those of individuals that walk their streets. The first story in this collection, A Short Encyclopedia of Luna
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Ben Babcock
So, I am an idiot and did not realize this was a book of short stories until I was well into it. Don’t ask me why. I have an ebook copy, and so there was no real description or anything to clue me into it. I just started reading, assuming it was a novel. After a few chapters there were no obvious connections between these characters and their respective stories, but that’s Ekaterina Sedia for you: she’s good at building parallel plots and then bringing it all together. Except when it turns out t ...more
Saretta
Come suggerisce il titolo questi racconti sono tutti ambientati in quello spazio che divide la realtà dal sogno, dal mito, dall'aldilà.
Tutti i racconti contengono un elemento fantastico che, oltre a affascinare, aiuta i personaggi nell'acquistare consapevolezza di cosa sono e di cosa vorrebbero essere in realtà e in molti casi è il motore del cambiamento.
Trattano temi impegnativi come la consapevolezza di non appartenere al tempo e al luogo in cui si vive e per questo sono pervasi da malinconia.
...more
Tintaglia
Dec 13, 2012 Tintaglia rated it it was amazing
Alla fine del primo racconto, A short encyclopedia of Lunar seas, sapevo già che sarebbe stata una lettura da cinque stelle. Giusto perchè non ce ne sono altre da assegnare. E questo nonostante io non ami i racconti - non sia tipo da racconti - provi una certa allergia ai racconti.
Ma quelli di Ekaterina Sedia sono squarci di realtà - o, meglio di realtà a cavallo fra reale e immaginario, fra passato e presente, fra Russia e Occidente, fra fiaba e orrore, con l'unico filo conduttore di una (neanc
...more
Tahlia Newland
Apr 03, 2013 Tahlia Newland rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
This is probably the best book of short stories I have ever read. The prose is excellent, finely honed and beautiful to read. The author skilfully uses words to paint stories with a memorable and distinctly Northern European atmosphere, somewhat reminiscent of the great Russian authors.

Although distinctly different to each other, these magical realism stories share a voice so similar that it could have almost been the same character speaking, particularly in the first half of the book. This give
...more
Phoenixfalls
Despite containing several stories I loved, this collection was a disappointment to me. Sedia is clearly a talented writer, but too many of the stories either took risks that didn't pay off or remained completely opaque to me, even after turning to Google to see if I was missing references. I was also confused by the inclusion of two distinctly non-Russian stories; one is a retelling of a Japanese folktale, the other is a pseudo-African folktale, and both seemed completely out of place in the co ...more
Kelly Flanagan
Aug 12, 2013 Kelly Flanagan rated it it was amazing
I would give this book 6 stars if I could. These heart stomping, jaw slacking stories are immense in their shortness. 'Moscow But Dreaming" is a completely perfect name. It encompasses the dreamlike loves and terrors held between these pages. Read this book. You'll be sorry if you don't.
Alan
Oct 07, 2013 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Changelings
Recommended to Alan by: Longer work
Ekaterina Sedia awakens between pure white sheets. She stretches luxuriously, gazing over the expanse of untrodden snow. A single leafless tree rises in the distance like a black claw. A second black spot beside it becomes a wolf, bounding toward her.

The tree becomes the black lacquered back of the chair in front of her vanity mirror. The wolf remains a wolf. As it nears her she sees, clamped between its jaws, a parchment scroll. It is her next story idea.


*

Or so I imagine, anyway. Certainly, Sed
...more
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
‘Moscow but Dreaming’ by Ekaterina Sedia is a collection of 21 short stories that excellently capture her range of work. This is her first collection, though most have been published before, with only two new to the public.

Sedia is known for her take on twisting the mundane into something more fantastical, with heavy calling to Russian history, folklore and lifestyle, and displays her way with words with most of her shorts being only a dozen pages long. These aren’t lacking, instead they leave y
...more
Francesca
Jul 22, 2014 Francesca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Francesca by: Tintaglia
This excellent collection of 21 short stories is sheer wonder.
Sedia has a remarkable talent and her writing is really outstanding.
I got mesmerized in the tantalizing and evocative tales she wonderfully depicted.

She is brilliantly able to turn the mundane into something more fantastical (at times marvelous and enchanting, at others eerie and frightful), which largely recalls Russian history and folklore.

Her stories are deeply interweaved with themes like misplacement, loss, yearning, with a sens
...more
Zoe Brooks
Feb 22, 2014 Zoe Brooks rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magic-realism
This review first appeared on the magic realism blog - http://magic-realism-books.blogspot.com.

The twenty-one short stories in this stunning collection often focus on the outsider or displaced, whether it be the adopted Russian child, the ex-countess in Soviet Russia, the impoverished Prince of Burundi in exile in Moscow, or Hector of Greek myth with a mundane job yearning for a heroic death. Magic realism works when there is this sort of dichotomy and in these stories it works really well.

The
...more
Ondrej Urban
Feb 22, 2014 Ondrej Urban rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-mosaic
It was sometime last year that I got into a mood for something russian in the stuff I read. Not necessarily a Russian author - a proper setting would be enough. You know, to read fantasy of a different kind, the anglo-american feeling is nice and all that, but slavic people do a great job too, left and right. I don't recall anymore what caused this, possibly finding the anthology "Paper Cities" and looking from there, in any case, I bought Moscow But Dreaming very soon after it came out and spen ...more
Naiya
Jan 13, 2013 Naiya rated it liked it
Confession time: If I find a novel set in Russia, it'll find its way onto my shelf or computer. Sometimes reluctantly, sometime with a healthy dose of skepticism, sometimes with a sign of resignation. So I'm pretty delighted to say that this collection of fantasy short stories set in Russia are a darn great read that feeds both the slavophile in me, but also the part of me that loves a good yarn.

Moscow But Dreaming opens with A Short Encyclopedia of Lunar Seas (sample here), a brilliant ode to R
...more
Matt
Dec 05, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
Last week I finished reading Moscow But Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia. Simply put, Sedia and Karin Tidbeck have changed my attitude toward short stories. Prior to reading Jagannath and Moscow But Dreaming, I turned up my nose at the form, an attitude that originated, I suspect, during an American lit class in which I was enrolled as a college frosh. "But the scorched grasshoppers in Hemingway's story are symbolic of World War I veterans, you see..." No. I didn't see it. And I wrote in my blue book ...more
Tsana Dolichva
Nov 21, 2012 Tsana Dolichva rated it it was amazing
Moscow But Dreaming is a collection of Ekaterina Sedia's short stories. Most of the stories were previously published in various magazines and anthologies and two are original to the collection. I hadn't read any of the stories before, though I have read Sedia's novel The Secret History of Moscow, which I quite liked. Several of the stories in the collection are in a similar vein.

Moscow But Dreaming contains twenty-one short stories, with an average length of about thirteen pages — on the shorte
...more
Wayne McCoy
Feb 23, 2013 Wayne McCoy rated it really liked it
This collection of 21 unusual short stories by one of the newer, brilliant voices in the SF genre mixes dark Russian stories and fantasy and myth. This mix of the mundane and the completely fantastical is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman, but Ekaterina's voice is completely her own. Her characters often live in a bleak world, where their inevitable fate is completely known. They still march straight toward it in the face of starvation, death or being haunted and stalked by the fantastical and unknown. ...more
BL834
Jul 15, 2014 BL834 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

This is the second book I've read by Ms. Sedia. It will by no means be the last. Her imagery is masterful; her pacing is spot-on; her plots are intriguing; her characters never feel unrealistic or flat.

Obviously, I loved this short story collection. I even enjoyed the stories that confused me or that didn't resonate with my particular tastes. That's good writing!

Jake
Apr 04, 2015 Jake rated it it was amazing
One of the strongest short story collections I've ever read. Most usually have a couple of clunkers and there are no bad stories here. In particular 'Chapaev and the Coconut Girl', which is original to the volume, stands put as a masterpiece. Just a brilliant book.
Nenia *War of the Adorables* Campbell
You can read more reviews at my blog, The Armchair Librarian!

I was first acquainted with Ms. Sedia's unique style through her Russian steampunk/alternate history novel, Heart of Iron. While I wasn't crazy about her characterization and pacing, I was awed by her beautiful prose, and thought to myself, "Here is an author worth keeping an eye on. With a little tweaking, she can do great things."

So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw her recent anthology of short stories, Moscow but Drea
...more
Megan Baxter
Sep 10, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
This is an uneven collection of stories that has more good points than bad ones. There were stories I was absolutely enchanted by, many stories I liked a good deal, some that were only so-so, and at least one that I thought was truly terrible. But as a writer, Sedia is growing on me. I was only slightly enthused by her steampunk book, the name of which escapes me at the moment. But there were moments in Moscow But Dreaming that were stunning.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due t
...more
Seekordsiis
Jun 24, 2014 Seekordsiis rated it it was amazing
lovely Russian magical realism
Ab
I don't know if I was just not tuning in until the last third of the book, but some of the last stories were suddenly hitting all the right buttons. I particularly liked the weird and strangely heart-tugging "A Play for a Boy and Sock Puppets", the nicely creepy twisting a reincarnation-tale "A Taste of Wheat", the awesomely shudder-worthy "Cherrystone and Shards of Ice" (loved this one), and the Irish-sad-classic-tale reimagined "Seas of the World".
Camila
Mar 18, 2014 Camila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
3.5 stars really.
Katia
Aug 30, 2013 Katia rated it it was amazing
This is now one of my all-time favorite books. The stories are not just imaginative and inventive, but a very lyrical representation of the strangeness if the decaying monster that is the former Soviet Union.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I liked the first couple stories here, but they felt sort of similar. I was hoping this would be an anthology rather than a single-author collection.
Maggie
Jun 10, 2013 Maggie rated it it was amazing
So weird and good. It's such a pleasure to read stories that remind me that there are infinite scenarios available for the imagining.
Wm
Jan 19, 2013 Wm rated it really liked it
Magnificent. I liked all the stories; I really liked 80% or so of them; and I was devastated by three or four of them.
Pamster
BOOK GROUP can't discuss til then.
Velvetink
May 24, 2013 Velvetink marked it as to-read
Shelves: russia-russian
epub version
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Ekaterina Sedia is also credited as E. Sedia.
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“The crows demur at first, but soon grow bold and eat. He talks to them. He tells them of all the things that bother him—that the politics have changed but the politicians are still the same exact people as back in the sixties, only balder and fatter; he tells them that nobody cares about anything important anymore. He tells them that freedom has nothing to do with money, or the McDonald’s restaurants. The crows stop eating and listen.” 1 likes
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