In September this year, Britain was overtaken by Vasily Grossmania. Radio 4’s week-long of Life and Fate sent the novel to the top of Amazon’s charts for a heady few days; people could be seen reading it on the tube; a Russian TV station sent a news crew to investigate: they slapped a bookswap sticker on a copy of The Road and left it on top of a bus-stop ticket machine to see just how gripped the nation was.
So it seemed that at some point, we would have to turn to the man who knows more about Vasily Grossman – surely – than any other in Britain, and that, of course, is his translator, who has translated two novels and the volume of short stories published by MacLehose Press. Over the next week we will be posting clips from an extensive and fascinating interview with Mr Chandler filmed at his West London home. Here is the first part.