Axel Bakunts — The Dark Valley (1927)
Setting: Armenia just before and after Soviet rule
What’s it about? Short stories full of pathos: raw and unforgiving pictures of rural life. His realism cost him his life in Stalin’s purges.
It’s worth reading for the vivid descriptions of Caucasian nature, always with a dark undertone which leads to the dark reality of peasant life. The outside world sometimes intrude heavily on the inhabitants of the valley, but most often is brutally honest about their own human flaws, exposed in small vignettes of village life.
Still on my list: Something that engages with the Armenian Genocide .
My rating: *