Rights sold: France - SYRTES, Germany - AUFBAU, Russia - GORODETZ, World Arabic - AL MADA
Winner of the 2021 Moscow Art Prize (Russia)
One day in 2016, a rap group from Russia and its leader Booster, aka Pistoletto, aka Tolya, got in troubles during a tour in Germany. First their rehearsal was interrupted by a police raid in search for drugs, then at their night concert one the crowd got killed in a fight, and one of the musicians got arrested and put in jail. Tolya-Booster meets with frau Steinbach who owns the venue of their show, only to find out that she is in fact his once-girlfriend Maya who immigrated to Germany a decade ago. Back in 1990s then 17-years-old Tolya and Maya both lived in Rostov, a city with a well-deserved reputation of Russia's criminal capital: armed gangs all around, corrupt government and police agents, sweeping poverty, drugs, and beyond that a real war in the nearby Chechnya.
Novel's plot develops during about twenty years, from the late 90s to the present. There's no political declarations in the novel: Tolya-Booster is strictly and deliberately apolitical. There is no social pathos in it as well: none of the protagonists give a damn about problems of the society they live in. However, Gelasimov's fictional characters mirror the reality of what's happening with Russians for last two decades: carelessness, fatalism, disregard of any existing rules and laws, pure logic of survival, amazing neglect of death, endless insecurity, and firm belief that there's nobody around to help. Gelasimov's heroes has been through terrible times; and realize what they've lost.
In his main hit song Samsara, Booster formulates the main belief of his generation: one day the world will inevitably be a better place, though they are destined to see it only through the eyes of their children. Gelasimov defines his new book as a flow-novel. In rap terminology, flow is a term referring to rhythms and rhymes of song's lyrics and how they interact, i.e. it is the correct speed of reading, an impeccable technique of writing and playing text under the swinging bit.