Andrei Gelasimov Gods of the Steppe

ISBN 13: 9781455880270

Gods of the Steppe

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9781455880270: Gods of the Steppe
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It is the summer of 1945. The Allies have triumphed in Europe and Hitler has vanished. But with Japanese forces gathering just across the border in occupied China, brutal warfare on Russian soil remains a real and constant threat to Soviet life.

For Petka, a rambunctious twelve-year-old boy with dreams too big for his tiny village of Razgulyaevka, the prospect of invasion is dangerously thrilling. He watches the Red Army troops march off to engage the enemy, and wages his own war—against boredom, bullies, and his lot in life as a bastard in a backwoods world. Secretly raising a wolf in his grandmother’s goat barn, happily raising hell with the local troops, stowing away in a shipment of bootleg booze destined for the combat zone, and defying death by the noose, Petka eagerly takes all he can from life, with an irrepressible spirit.

Nominated for the 2014 Rossica Translation Prize.

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About the Author:

Andrei Gelasimov was born in Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia, in 1965. He went on to study foreign languages at the Yakutsk State University, as well as directing at the Moscow Theater Institute. In 2001 he came to popular literary acclaim in Russia when his story “A Tender Age,” which he originally published on the Internet, was included in an issue of the journal Oktyabr, and his novella and collection of short stories, Fox Mulder Looks Like a Pig, was released. Gods of the Steppe is his third novel to be published in English, following Thirst, for which Booklist praised “Gelasimov’s spare prose and pointed dialogue,” and The Lying Year, which was developed into a motion picture. Gelasimov’s work has garnered the Apollon-Grigorev prize and a Belkin prize nomination. Gods of the Steppe won the 2009 National Bestseller award in Russia.

From Publishers Weekly:

Gelasimov (The Lying Year), winner of Russia’s National Bestseller Prize, chronicles the Russian experience of WWII through the eyes of 12-year-old Petka Chizhov, a fatherless boy living close to the country’s border with China. In 1945, with the war winding down, Petka strives to emulate the Soviet war heroes he idolizes by searching for Adolf Hitler, while also trying to evade his irascible, peripheral vision–challenged Granny Daria. He befriends thirsty Red Army troops guarding Japanese POWs by selling them contraband alcohol, which he steals from his smuggler grandfather, and listening to their tales. Petka also forges an unexpected bond with one of the camp’s captives, Miyanga Hirotaro, a well-educated herbalist. Miyanga passes the time writing an account of his family’s samurai heritage on “Soviet school paper, of rather poor quality, in faint blue quadrille,” that he plans to give to his sons in Nagasaki after the war. In the meantime, his relationship with Petka transcends the boundaries of war and prejudice. Gelasimov skillfully moves between the lives of these two characters, capturing the humor and humanity with which they face bleak circumstances. (Sept.)

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ISBN 10:  1611090733 ISBN 13:  9781611090734
Publisher: AmazonCrossing, 2013
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