Articles by Il’ja Rákoš

August 8, 2017

The Grueling, Painful, Beautiful Fiction of László Krasznahorkai 2

To misread Krasznahorkai as merely, or primarily, a political writer is to risk squandering the profoundly personal nature of his stories. More tragically, it is to foist a kind of sloppy activist, and determinately secular métier onto one of contemporary literature’s most sophisticated exponents of the sacred.

December 11, 2016

A Year in Reading: Il’ja Rákoš 8

We read and write for largely the same principal reason the ancients did: because, good Lord, we’re a damn mess. If 2016 hasn’t convinced you, I’m not sure what it will take.

June 7, 2016

Composed of Living Breath: On Svetlana Alexievich’s ‘Secondhand Time’ 2

Alexievich takes the jingoish caricature, the pulp-fiction rogue, the faceless millions of victims of historical record, and restores to them a voice — their own.

May 23, 2016

Svetlana Alexievich Is No Useful Idiot 6

“The idea of real, substantive equality is eternal. It’s beautiful. But somehow, in the Russian application of it, it always ends in a river of blood.”

November 4, 2015

Ambrose Akinmusire and Jazz in the Smoldering City: A Dispatch From Kyiv 4

Whatever they may have expected, what the Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet got was a night onstage before this cloud of witnesses. An otherwise unimaginable crowd in a country in the grip of a rumored war stopping to listen to a black man from Oakland and his band testify while the city burns away its edges.

March 16, 2015

Tend to the Wounded: Dispatches from Kyiv 5

This is the first time I’ve been in a hot war zone, and the only thing I’ve learned is that I’m too old for this shit.