Rock, Paper, Scissors: Stories from 21st-Century Russia: A Conversation with Maxim Osipov

Thursday, September 26, 2019 - 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Maxim Osipov

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S354

In the tradition of Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, Maxim Osipov, one of Russia’s best contemporary writers, draws on his experiences in medicine to write stories of great subtlety and striking insight. His fiction presents a nuanced, collage-like portrait of life in provincial Russia—its tragedies, frustrations, and moments of humble beauty and inspiration. 

The twelve stories in Rock, Paper, Scissors: Stories from 21st Century Russia depict doctors, actors, screenwriters, teachers, entrepreneurs, local political bosses, and common criminals whose paths intersect in unpredictable yet entirely natural ways: in sickrooms, classrooms, administrative offices and on trains and in planes. Their encounters lead to disasters, major and minor epiphanies, and—on occasion—the promise of redemption.

“Osipov makes his English-language debut with this masterful and sublime collection, largely set in rural Russian villages....This collection showcases Osipov’s talent in creating subtle, sophisticated character portraits that carry a good dose of suspense.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Maxim Osipov’s stories cut me to the quick, because he does what true writers do: he tries to make sense of life with his own mind, puts his soul into the effort, and, most importantly, presents everything in his own words.”—Sergey Gandlevsky

Maxim Osipov is a Russian writer and cardiologist who lives and practices medicine in Tarusa, a town ninety miles outside of Moscow.  In the early 1990s he was a research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco, before returning to Moscow, where he continued to practice medicine and also founded a publishing house that specialized in medical, musical, and theological texts. In 2005, while working at a local hospital in Tarusa he established a charitable foundation to ensure the hospital’s survival. Since 2007, he has published short stories, novellas, essays, and plays, and has won a number of literary prizes for his fiction. He has published five collections of prose, and his plays have been staged all across Russia. His writings have been translated into more than a dozen languages. In May 2019, Dr. Osipov was profiled in The New Yorker in a “Life and Letters” piece titled “A Village Doctor’s Literary Calling.”


Maxim Osipov, Writer and Cardiologist
Commentator: Julie Buckler, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, Harvard University; Faculty Associate, Davis Center

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.