Independently owned and operated since 1962! 

Many of you may by now have heard the sad news that we are planning to close in May. 
Since we made our announcement on April 8th, our friends among the Penn faculty, have launched a petition urging the University to help save PBC. Thank you so much!  You can sign the petition here.



Upcoming Events

Hidden Indie Bookstore Walking Tour

Welcome visitors and residents.  We love this beautiful map designed by JS Wu, a graduate student in Penn's English Depatment, highlighting great indie bookstores and magazine shops in University City. We hope you'll take the tour and drop in to PBC to say hi!

Hopscotch Translation Series: Olga Slavnikova & Marian Schwartz

Hopscotch Translation Series #12

Please join us for a reading and discussion with
author of
in conversation w/ her translator MARIAN SCHWARTZ


In the chaos of early-1990s Russia, the wife and stepdaughter of a paralyzed veteran conceal the Soviet Union’s collapse from him in order to keep him—and his pension—alive until it turns out the tough old man has other plans. Olga Slavnikova’s The Man Who Couldn’t Die tells the story of how two women try to prolong a life—and the means and meaning of their own lives—by creating a world that doesn’t change, a Soviet Union that never crumbled.

After her stepfather’s stroke, Marina hangs Brezhnev’s portrait on the wall, edits the Pravda articles read to him, and uses her media connections to cobble together entire newscasts of events that never happened. Meanwhile, her mother, Nina Alexandrovna, can barely navigate the bewildering new world outside, especially in comparison to the blunt reality of her uncommunicative husband. As Marina is caught up in a local election campaign that gets out of hand, Nina discovers that her husband is conspiring as well—to kill himself and put an end to the charade. Masterfully translated by Marian Schwartz, The Man Who Couldn’t Die is a darkly playful vision of the lost Soviet past and the madness of the post-Soviet world that uses Russia’s modern history as a backdrop for an inquiry into larger metaphysical questions.

OLGA SLAVNIKOVA was born in 1957 in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg). She is the author of several award-winning novels, including 2017, which won the 2006 Russian Booker prize and was translated into English by Marian Schwartz (2010), and Long Jump, which won the 2018 Yasnaya Polyana Award.

MARIAN SCHWARTZ translates Russian contemporary and classic fiction, including Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and is the principal translator of Nina Berberova.

JOSÉ VERGARA is Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian at Swarthmore College where he teaches courses on Russian language and culture of all eras. He specializes in prose of the long twentieth century, with an emphasis on experimental works, and his current primary research project examines literary responses to James Joyce. He has published articles on writers including Vladimir Nabokov, Mikhail Shishkin, and Andrei Bitov.

The Man Who Couldn't Die: The Tale of an Authentic Human Being (Russian Library) Cover Image
By Marian Schwartz (Translator), Olga Slavnikova, Mark Lipovetsky (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780231185950
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Columbia University Press - January 29th, 2019

Event date: 
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104