Snow White and Russian Red

Snow White and Russian Red

5.0 7
by Dorota Maslowska
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


Dorota Maslowska's audacious debut novel establishes her as a new young literary voice of international importance. When Snow White and Russian Red was first published, it became a controversial, acclaimed best seller in both Poland and Germany, a stunning accomplishment since the author was only nineteen. Reminiscent of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting,See more details below

Overview


Dorota Maslowska's audacious debut novel establishes her as a new young literary voice of international importance. When Snow White and Russian Red was first published, it became a controversial, acclaimed best seller in both Poland and Germany, a stunning accomplishment since the author was only nineteen. Reminiscent of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, Snow White and Russian Red is a fresh and surprising portrait of marginalized fatalistic post-Communist youth. It is the story of Andrzej "Nails" Robakoski who unravels after his girlfriend, Magda, dumps him. A track suited slacker who spends most of his time doing little more than searching for his next line of speed and dreaming up conspiracy theories about the Polish economy, Nails ricochets from the bewitching Magda to proselytizing Angela to hellcat Natasha to nerdy Ala, the girlfriend of the friend who stole Magda. Through it all, a xenophobic campaign against the proliferating Russian black market escalates, and the citizens have to paint their houses in national colors-or is that just in Nails' fevered mind? By turns poetic, hilarious, disturbing and dirty, Snow White and Russian Red is a powerful portrait of love, hopelessness, and political burnout in today's Eastern Europe.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A hit in 21-year-old Maslowska's native Poland and elsewhere in Europe, this punishing successor to first-person "lad" novels like Trainspotting serves up its nastiness spiked with pitch-black humor. Young, paranoid Polish speed fiend Andrzej "Nails" Robakoski presents himself, in hyperbolic stream-of-speech, as an ignoble chump morbidly obsessed with death whose trampy blonde girlfriend Magda has just dumped him. Living at home with a working but absent mother and felonious "bro," Nails adheres to a busy schedule of snorting lines, scarfing "Bird Milkies" (or chocolate-covered marshmallows), text-messaging and denouncing both American consumerism and Russian bootlegged goods. After Magda, Nails-mindlessly nationalist, misogynist, homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic-turns to anorexic virgin Angela, a Goth girl in black whom he feeds drugs and sexually assaults. Eventually, Nails is incarcerated for stealing a soda and walkie-talkie from a local McDonald's. In a hokey metafictional twist, he encounters "Dorota Maslowska," a teenage writer working as a typist at the jail, and then, after a collision with a prison wall, enters a hallucinatory state not much different from his waking life and from which the rest of the novel emerges. Paloff's translation is pitch-perfectly speedy, and with political ironies resounding throughout, it's clear that Maslowska is not exactly endorsing her blank generation, though the claustrophobic narrative presents few avenues of escape. Agent, Maria Strarz-Kanska at Graal (Poland). (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
It's hard to believe that Maslowska's protagonist, the young, disaffected Polish slacker Andrzej "Nails" Robakowski, was conjured by a woman (and a 19-year-old at that); his voice is one of the most authentic to emerge in fiction in years. Here, he narrates the story of his life over a three-day period. This mostly involves women, speed, sickness, and slandering "Russkis" (who, as far as Nails is concerned, are waging some kind of war for Poland's soul). Nails's voice is chaotic and brilliantly idiosyncratic. He's paranoid, apocalyptic, and chock-full of gallows humor, spitting the kind of crazy and highly original lines you want to quote to your friends; a girl might be described as a "reticent chimney sweep," a "pro-family cunt," or "thirty-three kilos of steaming despair." The stream-of-consciousness style and confusing ending may frustrate some readers (a metafiction trick is even thrown in for good measure, but it's unclear how much it resolves). Not for everyone, this thoroughly unique debut (winner of Poland's Polityka Prize) is destined to become a cult classic. Highly recommended for large public libraries and all experimental and international fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/04.]-Tania Barnes, Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Disaffected Polish youth rail against collapsed Communism and US materialism-in this blithely abrasive debut novel by a 19-year-old author. Protagonist-narrator Andrzej "Nails" Robakoski hatches unrealizable business schemes, imagines a "Polish-Russki War" for which he's the leading dissident spokesman, scores dope with his friends and sexual rivals, and mopes over the loss of his promiscuous, perpetually stoned pregnant girlfriend Magda. Along comes Angela, a posturing poetess who celebrates all that is "natural" (e.g., working for "animal emancipation and liberation"), while tripping with Nails, awkwardly surrendering her virginity, and vomiting a lot (oh, his dog dies, too). Next is Natasha, a strident ur-female who physically abuses Nails for hiding his "blow" from her, then Ala, a contemplative innocent who coyly deflects Nails's amorous advances, while casually mentioning that she's been reading this amazing memoir by a teenaged writer named Dorota Maslowska. After several fervent discussions with his penis (which he has named "George"), and a walk on the wild side with his oily friend Lefty, Nails gets into it with some surly motorcycle cops, continuing his downward progression into a fantasized denouement into which Maslowska reinserts another simulacrum of herself, with yawn-inducing metafictional results. You think the inflamed teenagers in this raucous unintentional farce are alienated? They're gray-flannel-suited conformists compared to readers who suffer 300 pages of this ego- and phallocentric rant. Yes, some of it is blackly funny-especially the pages in which Ala tries to elevate Nails from serial piggishness. But they're merely shallow pockets of sanity in a smotheringfabric of narrative and rhetorical overkill. Some Polish critics are on record as taking these jejeune effusions seriously. They should be beaten soundly with a large kielbasa. Agent: Maria Strarz-Kanska/Graal, Ltd., Warsaw

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802170019
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/12/2005
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
1,299,590
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.78(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >