Winner of the 2014 National Bestseller Award (Russia)
Winner of the 2014 Città di Penne-Mosca Prize (Italy)
Rights sold: Russia - OGI, World English - PHONEME MEDIA
Poet, writer, and journalist Ksenia Buksha was thirty when she published The Freedom Factory, the novel that won Russia's 2014 National Bestseller prize. Buksha, an economist by training, was just eighteen when her writing began earning critical acclaim. She brings both striking innovation and unflinching maturity to her creative work, while her precisely observed narration and dialogue transport readers through the entire spectrum of Soviet and post-Soviet life, from the absurd to the sublime.
The Freedom Factory is the history of a real military plant in Saint Petersburg from the 1950s to the present, told in monologues by its workers, managers, engineers. The Freedom Factory is not exactly a piece of realism: it combines poetry and documentary in unique proportion, conveying to readers the atmosphere of that extremely absurd, harsh yet magnetic place. Sometimes the narrative comes very close to everyday speech, sometimes it falls into lyricism or grotesque humor, but it always remains amazingly sincere. There are life stories and love stories, military secrets and anecdotes, work and leisure. Lots of different voices merge into a chorus; characters are not named, just denoted with Latin letters – but that doesn't prevent us from feeling with them.
“The Freedom Factory is a thriller, a romance, and a social drama all in one, and—this is especially important—it’s a book by a post-Soviet person about the Soviet experience.” – Dmitriy Bykov, literary critic
“My first impression was that of a … novel written by a slightly drunk Joyce.” – Maxim Amelin, Ksenia Buksha's Russian publisher
“[When I read the novel] I thought of Spanish Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela and his novel The Hive… which through the blending of many disparate voices gives an image of the time, the characters, the particular atmosphere. The Freedom Factory has echoes of this same device.” – Gennadiy Kalashnikov, literary critic
“Ksenia Buksha has successfully done what no one else, it seems, has been able to do: combine utopia and anti-utopia.” – Nadezhda Sergeyeva, literary critic