Mikhail Elizarov, Andrew Bromfield
Gromov is merely a forgotten writer of Soviet propagandist novels. But he has left behind his Books and the powers they impart – the Fury to tear enemies limb from limb, the Memory of a perfect childhood, the Strength to overcome all fear of death. These books transform believers from senile to lucid, cowardly to brave, weak to strong. Soon, Libraries of readers start to emerge, waging war on one another to seize precious copies of the Books and terrible consequences ensue.
Trapped in the middle of this world inhabited by society’s outcasts – the decrepit, the heartbroken, the abandoned, the abused – is the young and unremarkable Alexei. Everything will change when he inherits a Book of Memory, and therefore becomes… a Librarian.
Blending depravity, black humour, reality and myth, Elizarov casts a satirical eye over Soviet Russia in this epic masterpiece and winner of the Russian Booker Prize-a tale of human longing, unwavering belief, and the search for meaning in a chaotic, illusory world.
‘Elizarov is an heir to the classic Russian writers’ Prochtenie
‘Belongs to that glittering vein of the burlesque and fantastic, which runs through the strata of Russian literature like a seam of gold.’ Magazine Litteraire
‘Powerful, disturbing, and at the same time, uplifting’ Vzgliad
‘A truly bright author and an ingenious writer’ Vladimir Sorokin, author of Ice Trilogy and Day of the Oprichnik
‘The most radical of Russian Booker winners’ Snob
‘Uncompromising, bizarre and desperate’ Gazeta
‘How words can be more dangerous than machine-guns’ Proza
‘A world of myths… and a requiem for a broken country’ Questions of Literature
‘Immensely entertaining, The Librarian lives up to comparisons to the work of Gogol and Bulgakov while being very much its own thing’ Jeffe Vandermeer, Slate
Mikhail Elizarov b. 1973 in the Ukraine studies literature and moves to Hanover Germany to study cinema. In 2001, Fingernails first caught media attention and his fourth novel The Librarian was awarded the 2008 Russian Booker Prize. He write for magazines including GQ and Playboy and currently lives in Moscow.
Uncompromising, bizarre and desperate Gazeta.ru A truly bright author and an ingenious writer -- Vladimir Sorokin, author of Ice Trilogy and Day of the Oprichnik Belongs to that glittering vein of the burlesque and fantastic, which runs through the strata of Russian literature like a seam of gold Magazine Litteraire Powerful, disturbing, and at the same time, uplifting Vzgliad The most radical of Russian Booker winners Snob.ru Elizarov is an heir to the classic Russian writers Prochtenie.ru How words can be more dangerous than machine-guns Proza.ru A world of myths... and a requiem for a broken country Questions of Literature The Librarian reads like cold fire, full of Russian stoicism, honor and intense formality, but the rhythm of the words is hypnotic Blogcritics This chaotic tale puts a magical twist on its satire Publishers Weekly The Librarian ticks all the boxes available to a satire on totalitarianism and the opiate of religion... Clever... A romping good tale... Pretty sensational. Transformative Big Issue A novel that makes profound questions playful and playfulness profound Russia Beyond the Headlines [A] raucous masterpiece... with a joke on every page, bizarre flights of ribald fancy, extraordinary characters and acute observation about what is going wrong with post-Soviet Russia Daily Mail Mikhail Elizarov has written a highly imaginative satire on the dichotomy in the post-Soviet Russian psyche, populated by the detritus of modern Russia... a thoroughly engaging, if at times deeply troubling, trawl through Russia's lower depths. openDemocracy Elizarov... has written a nightmare from which we do not wake up. The Tablet Immensely entertaining, The Librarian lives up to comparisons to the work of Gogol and Bulgakov while being very much its own thing -- Jeff Vandermeer Slate The Librarian is savagely satirical in the best Russian tradition. It is a vital addition to our list of outstanding books about books The Bay
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