In the tradition of Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, Osipov—a practicing doctor and one of Russia's most respected writers—draws on his experiences in medicine in his creative work. This is his first collection in English.
The twelve scintillating short stories in Rock, Paper, Scissors and Other Stories, the first English collection by cardiologist Maxim Osipov, are brilliant. Not one disappoints. Osipov’s style and subjects are reminiscent of Anton Chekhov and Ivan Turgenev ... encourages hope of survival in a sometimes hopeless world. It opens windows to unknown, unseen, unheralded lives.
... an ironically glitzy English language debut for an unassuming middle-aged writer who lives outside of Russia’s glamorous capitals of Moscow and St. Petersburg ... readers from any part of the world that is facing a healthcare crisis (including the United States) will recognize the dynamics he portrays. As access to care becomes increasingly restricted by rising costs, insurance bureaucracy, and hospital deserts, the stories show what that we lose not just information about our health. We lose someone to talk to ... gestures deeper than simply documenting the struggles people face in finding convenient and reliable healthcare. It explores the narrative function of medicine and the storytelling potential that exists in the doctor-patient relationship ... With this new beautiful and heartbreaking collection of stories, Maxim Osipov, doctor, writer, resident of Tarusa, never lets us forget that our lives are special, and they will never come again.
It’s not clear how the editor, Boris Dralyuk, and the other two expert translators, Alex Fleming and Anna Marie Jackson, selected the stories. I’m guessing it’s to show Osipov’s admirable range of characters and presentations — but soon it should be up to someone to take on the full contents of individual volumes ... Though immersed in his life as a doctor, Osipov is a literary soul, and he regularly quotes from or refers to the classics; maybe the short form and plays just happen to fit the speed of busy doctors. We know he’s not Chekhov, though, who in his early 20s dashed off stories seemingly between patients. And Chekhov didn’t exhibit any of Osipov’s hesitancy about how to do this business of telling a story. Osipov is more deliberate, and a couple of the stories feel overworked, fit for The New Yorker. Like Chekhov, he dates the completion of each story ... I don’t jump on every Russian literary bandwagon I see wheeling past, but I’ll jump on this one.