These passionate, haunting, mysterious stories made a remarkable impact when they were published in Moscow. Known only through a handful of stories published in literary journals, Dmitry Bakin suddenly found himself hailed as one of the most striking and original young writers to emerge since perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union. As if Kafka or Gabriel Garcia Marquez were writing from the heartlands - or badlands - of the Russian provinces, Bakin's tales are gripping, elemental dramas of restlessness and anguish. Nothing is stable in Bakin's fictional universe, least of all reality, and everyone is searching, whether for safety, certainty, freedom or revenge. Survivors, obsessives, eccentrics, mystics, they are all prepared - or condemned - to sacrifice everything if they have to. Unsettling, extraordinarily imaginative and ambitious, this collection offers compelling evidence of a unique burgeoning literary talent.
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(215mm x 135mm x 13mm)
Publisher: Granta Books
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UK Kirkus Review »
When Bakin's pieces first appeared in Moscow, literary circles were agog. Who was this young man whose prose was not just promising but brilliant? His style recalled Andrey Platonov, one of the great Russian writers silenced by the Stalinist juggernaut. It had echoes of Gogol, Chekhov and even William Faulkner. Indeed, the reader discovering Bakin might be struck by other apparent influences. The opening story, 'Leaves', flows with a linguistic spontaneity suggestive of James Joyce's stream of consciousness. With 'Hare's Eye', the account of a young conscript inexplicably repelled by a fellow recruit, Bakin evokes the laconic brutalism of Solzhenitsyn's Ivan Denisovich. Yet, as Byron Lindsey argues in his excellent foreword to this first English edition of Bakin's collection, these comparisons do not in any way indicate a derivative voice. Originality marks Bakin personally as well as professionally. Preserving a cool distance between himself and the Muscovite intelligentsia, he works as a chauffeur. This, he maintains, is not just to ensure a steady income to support his family but because he enjoys it. He writes when time allows. If the test of any author's value can be said to reside in their disinterest in fame, then Bakin passes with flying colours. His characters, however, provide the best testament to his integrity. 'There is only one truth,' says Maria in 'Country of Origin'. 'And that is that we live here and nowhere else, and this is the only truth worth clinging to... and everything else is lies, because everything else can be turned inside out.' Turning the unstable strata of post-Soviet society inside out is Dmitry Bakin's business and achieved via a creative gift that converts fiction into an authentic reality. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Dmitry Bakin
Dmitry Bakin first came to prominence when his short stories were published in the literary journal, Ogonyok, during the 1990s and a collection of them was subsequently published by Gallimard in France. He works as a driver for a telecommunications company and lives with his wife and son in Moscow.