Snow White and Russian Red

Dorota Maslowska

Published by Grove Press, Black Cat, 2005
ISBN 10: 0802170013 / ISBN 13: 9780802170019
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Synopsis: Nails” Robakoski is unraveling after his girlfriend Magda dumps him. A tracksuited 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 Magda, a doomed beauty who bewitches men, to Angela, a proselytizing vegetarian Goth, to Natasha, a hellcat who tears his house apart looking for speed, to Ala, the nerdy economics-student girlfriend of the friend who stole Magda. Through it all, a xenophobic campaign against the proliferating Russian black market escalates, to the point where the citizens have to paint their houses in national colors and one of these girls will be crowned Miss No Russkies Day or is that just in Nails’ fevered mind?

From 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.
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Title: Snow White and Russian Red
Publisher: Grove Press, Black Cat
Publication Date: 2005
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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