Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Other Stories
Maxim Osipov

Book cover image

Narrated By: Daniel Gamburg

Duration: 11 hours and 11 minutes

What to expect

The first English-language collection of a contemporary Russian master of the short story, who has been profiled in the New Yorker

Maxim Osipov, who lives and practices medicine in a town ninety miles outside Moscow, is one of Russia’s best contemporary writers. In the tradition of Anton Chekhov and William Carlos Williams, he draws on his experiences in medicine to write stories of great subtlety and striking insight. Osipov’s fiction presents a nuanced, collage-like portrait of life in provincial Russia—its tragedies, frustrations, and moments of humble beauty and inspiration. The twelve stories in this volume depict doctors, actors, screenwriters, teachers, entrepreneurs, local political bosses, and common criminals whose paths intersect in unpredictable yet entirely natural ways: in sickrooms, classrooms, administrative offices, and on trains and in planes. Their encounters lead to disasters, major and minor epiphanies, and—on occasion—the promise of redemption.


Short stories, Narrative theme: Interior life

Listen to a sample

“[An] admirable range of characters and presentations.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

“Maxim Osipov’s stories are kaleidoscopic. [He] is continuing Russian literature’s great love story with medicine, a flame lit by writer-physicians Mikhail Bulgakov and Anton Chekhov.”

Calvert Journal

“The twelve scintillating short stories in Rock, Paper, Scissors and Other Stories, the first English collection by cardiologist Maxim Osipov, are brilliant. Not one disappoints. Osipov’s style and subjects are reminiscent of Anton Chekhov and Ivan Turgenev.”

World Literature Today

“Stories about the absurdity, corruption, and daily mundanity of modern Russian life…a marvelous collection…Remarkable stories, threaded through with a bleak humor, describe life in the provinces of a Russia attempting to contend with the modern world.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] masterful and sublime collection, largely set in rural Russian villages…This collection showcases Osipov’s talent in creating subtle, sophisticated character portraits that carry a good dose of suspense.”