White Rainbow and Other Romantic Tales

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This is a collection of short stories by one of the best-loved authors in the USSR, Konstantin Paustovsky, who remains popular in Russia even after the collapse of Soviet communism. The collection includes not only some of his best-known works, but also many minor stories that have not been previously translated into English. Many of these should be of interest not only to Russian-language specialists, but also to the general reading public. Russian literary critics have long considered Paustovsky a master of the Russian language. The introduction to this collection analyzes the stylistic, thematic, and historical aspects of his work.


“Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Russians were inclined to condemn all literature written under that repressive regime as worthless, or, at the very least, compromised by censorship ... many of the writers who were most popular with the educated reading public were, in fact, some of the communist rulers’ strongest opponents. Konstantin Paustovsky, one of the outstanding writers of this period ... was a man of true inner freedom ... This work, a freshly translated collection of seventeen of Paustovsky’s best stories, for the most part previously unavailable in English, will be greatly welcomed by all who enjoy Chekhov’s prose as, indeed, it will be by the smaller number of Anglophone readers familiar with the work of another great stylist, the émigré Ivan Bunin ... In this carefully prepared new edition, with notes and an illuminating introduction by the translator, the work of a major twentieth-century author is set fair to reach a new audience in the English-speaking world.” (from the Preface) – Arnold McMillin, Professor of Russian Literature, University College London

“Surely no one would dispute that Pushkin and Chekov are two of the most popular Russian authors. However, how many of us in the West have ever heard of Konstantin Paustovsky? Certainly, not many ... the translator’s introduction to this collection maps out what we can expect from a writer who was, on the whole ... apolitical, and whose themes were quite varied – love, spirituality, ecology, war, aging and many more ... this is a sheer delight and [Scott’s] translations have masterfully captured the nuances, subtleties, themes and romanticism of Paustovsky’s stories ... English readers will certainly find much to enjoy here.” – Norman Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com, Montreal

" ... Perhaps [this book] will make Paustovsky a little better known in the West than has been the case; he is a very good writer and deserves to be more widely read." - Professor Barry Scherr, Dartmouth College

Table of Contents

Preface by Arnold McMillin
Labels for Grocery Goods
A Farewell to Summer
The English Razor
Traveling on an Old Camel
White Rabbits
The Buoy Keeper
The Cow Boy
Fenya Happiness
Madame Beauvais’s Prayer
White Rainbow
Grandma’s Garden
Rainy Dawn
The Telegram
The Old Man in the Tattered Overcoat
Villa Borghese

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