Snow Germans

Dmitry Vachedin, Author, Arch Tait, Translator
Dmitry Vachedin, trans. from the Russian by Arch Tait. Glas (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-5-7172-0097-4
Ebook - 300 pages - 978-5-7172-0100-1
Open Ebook - 193 pages - 978-1-306-44547-4
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This boisterous novel of cultural diaspora is narrated by three not so different protagonists: Valeria, "the girl from Siberia"; Mark, a heart-broken German journalist; and Andrey, a veteran of the Chechen War. Connecting these three is Christine, the lover of Mark and Andrey, who befriends Valeria to better understand the "insane Russian way of life" in which she finds herself. Thematically, these characters become entwined by their own self-violence, whether it's Valeria naked on the window ledge, Mark staging his own Stalingrad for the woman he loves, or Andrey; who, upon hearing of the death of his best friend and war-buddy decides to reignite a war that ended a decade ago. None of it makes for lovable characters, each too caught up in their own anxieties to realize they're in danger of becoming tedious. The prose is engaging, but it is unclear whether Vachedin expects the reader to find this passivity endearing or farcical. For better or worse, Vachedin lets the characters speak for themselves and the reader pass judgement, which still makes for an entertaining book. (Apr.)
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