A short novel that narrates the improbable life of a Russian émigré in France and engages in polemical dialogue with the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov.
There was a time when nearly fifty thousand Russians lived in Paris (on the eve of World War I, they were hardly more than thirty-six thousand in all France). They prayed in Orthodox churches, sent their children to Russian schools, and discussed Dostoevsky in La Rotonde coffee shop.
Fyodor Zavalishin, also known as Theo, was one of those Russians who managed to escape the Bolshevik Revolution and settled in Paris. As many of them, he also visited a screening of Eisenstein's masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin in November 1926. As a soldier, in 1905 he took part in the suppression of the revolt in the Russian fleet. When he watched Eisenstein's impressive reconstruction of the massacre in the port of...
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Rights sold: China - Thinkingdom Media Group, France – Gallimard, Germany - AUFBAU, Italy - ATMOSPHERE LIBRI, Norway – Aschehoug, Russia - EKSMO, Spain – Automatica, Turkey – Dogan, UK/US – Dedalus (as The Zero Train)
Russian Booker prize nominee
The action in this novel takes place in a remote train station in the far reaches of Russia. It relates the life of the inhabitants who watch each night the passing of a train bound for some mysterious destination... A lot of comparisons have been made to try to capture the essence of this short novel – Kafkaesque, Beckett with trains, you get the picture. And whilst these may be true to a degree, it is only a small degree. Buida has his own voice and his own approach. Indeed, like all good writers he has subverted everything without once straying...