JRL NEWSWATCH: “‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ Review: Wishing and Waiting; Eleven stories by a Russian cardiologist that show how doctors and patients alike soothe themselves with lies, shortcuts and elisions.” – Wall Street Journal/ Laura Kolbe

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… In these 11 stories … Dr. Osipov, a Russian cardiologist, fiction writer and playwright, regards the field of medicine as though it were a hapless production of a surrealist play. … [T]he borders between hope, delusion and dishonesty are hazy and heavily trafficked. … Dr. Osipov is a master of dramatic irony, wringing bittersweet humor from what the reader sees but the protagonist cannot. … Written between 2009 and 2017, the stories in ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ wander between the last days of the U.S.S.R., the chaos and economic crisis immediately after the country’s collapse, and the era of Russian nationalism. For most of Dr. Osipov’s characters, the changes in regime barely register, or they are treated as so many painted backdrops lugged across the same stage floor. … As in the children’s game that gives the collection its title, Dr. Osipov shows how people dwarfed by institutions can make purposeful moves with nonetheless arbitrary outcomes. His characters sense the game and know the score. Their antics and soliloquies, however, do something to ease the long hours on the hospital wards and the sickness of lives that fail to change.”

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