I’m bilingual, English and Russian, and I wanted to offer my readers one of my favorite stories by the Russian writer Alexander Grin. His novella Scarlet Sails, first published in 1923, is very popular in Russia. It’s lyrical and romantic and almost magical. Translating it was the labor of love and my tribute to the author. I put it on Wattpad, for anyone to read.
The genre of this short book, only seven chapters, is hard to define. There is no overt magic there, so it’s not a typical fantasy, but the story takes place in a world made up by the author, so it’s not realistic either. In fact, most Grin’s stories occur in the same imaginary land his fans call Grinlandia.
Grinlandia vaguely resembles Europe sometime in the 19th century. Not one specific country but an amalgam of the European glamor and mystery, as seen through the eyes of a Russian writer who never traveled to Europe. It feels far removed from the dreary reality of post-revolutionary Russia, the time when Grin wrote his stories.