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Living Souls by Dmitry Bykov

A wide-ranging Russian novel dealing with the ideas of language, power, and national identity, this comic and thought-provoking work has tremendous relevance to the present day

In a world a few decades from now, Russia has descended into a farcical civil war. With an extreme right-wing cult in power, racial tensions have divided the country into the Varangians—those who consider themselves to be the original Aryan settlers of Russia—and the Khazars, the liberals and Jews driven out of Moscow by recent events. Morale has reached an all-time low as the brutality and pointlessness of the situation is becoming more and more apparent. What is left of the fighting now revolves around capturing and recapturing Degunino, a seemingly magical village with an abundance of pies, vodka, and accommodating womenfolk. But there is also a third people—timid, itinerant, and on the brink of extinction—who lay claim to Degunino and Russia as their homeland. Against this rich backdrop of events, this story follows the lives of four couples struggling to escape the chaos and stupidity of the war around them: a teenage girl who adopts a homeless man, a poet turned general separated from his lover, a provincial governor in love with one of the natives, and a legendary military commander who is sleeping with the enemy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781846881268
Publisher: Alma Books
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 550
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Dmitry Bykov is the author of five novels and a biography of Pasternak, and a winner of the 2007 Big Book Prize and the National Bestseller Prize. He writes for various literary publications, hosts a weekly radio show, and appears regularly on Russian television. Cathy Porter is the translator of The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy.

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