Shortlisted for the Big Book National Literary Award (2006, Russia)
Rights sold: Finland - SILTALA, France - GALLIMARD, Germany - HANSER, Hungary - MAGVETO, Iran - SALESS PUBLICATIONS, Korea - EULYOO, Russia - EKSMO, AST, Serbia - PAIDEIA
Ever since this book appeared in Russia, it was an overwhelming success. Each Ulitskaya's book is a case by itself, a step forward and towards the new territories of prose. Similar to her other title published lately (Daniel Stein), in this work the Author matures towards a kaleidoscopic vision of destinies of different people, a wide tapestry of the modern life composed of the lives of people around her. In her interviews, the Author on several occasions stated that she «never invents anything», and that all her plots, no matter how extraordinary and fantastic they may seem, happened to somebody she knows: she just manages to penetrate the pattern of their lives. This book is exactly the result of such God’s eye vision of modern Russia, being a novel composed of various episodes that constitute an integrated plot, giving a complex picture of Putin’s Russia, both vivid and unique. Musing, erotic, tightly woven and acute – truly it is staple Ulitskaya’s prose at its’ best.
“The author remains in the middle, exactly midway between the observer and the observed. He ceased to be of interest to himself. Basically he remains part of the observed, not involved and selfless. What a wonderful game can start when the distance from one’s own becomes so far! …
The small people of our Lord observe all this looking up. They admire, fight, kill and kiss. Paying no attention whatsoever to the author.”