Short story: “The Fish”

by look i have opinions

“The Fish,” by Anzhelina Polonskaya, translated from the Russian by Andrew Wachtel

Appeared here on AGNI Online in 2013

1,409 words

Painful, precise, very well done.

Looking back at those first three paragraphs, I see that they are a portrait of the narrator’s adult life. She appears depressed, restless, even morbid. I suspect that she considers her unhappiness the price she has to pay for her past choices. If only suffering had the power to cancel out cruelty.

The prose is excellent, but I noticed one place where I thought the translator had missed something. The remark “When you were younger you didn’t think about anything” seems intended to contrast with a more recent act of thinking, but the sentence before it uses the word “contemplate” rather than “think.” Perhaps this is presumptuous of me, since I don’t know Russian and don’t have access to the original anyway.

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