Rights sold: Russia - AST
Winner of the 2017 Znamya literary magazine prize
The title of Vishneventskaya's novel indeed resembles that of the "scandalous" biography of Angela Merkel The First Life of Angela M., but in fact its ideological and informative parameters are much closer to French political novels of the mid-19th century, with political views of the author intertwined within the story itself.
The plot of the novel is set in Moscow and Berlin in 2012 to 2015. The protagonist, Liza Karmannikova, after a series of events in her private life, comes to the realization of her involvement into a socio-political life of her country, and this awareness becomes the important attribute of her world view. But, unlike the old French novels, there is no conflict, especially insoluble, in “Eternal Life ...”, but there is an expressive story about the “unpretentious” young woman narrated in a figurative, rhythmic language.
Liza K. is a single mother, she is 28 years old, and works for a travel agency where she is engaged in “creating a corporate image, doing public relations tasks, advertising, and other completely indecent bullshit like commenting on hotel websites”. Liza lives in the moment and she's completely uninhibited. That's how the exposed side of her life looks like. However, her inner world is far more complex and interesting: Liza is a sophisticated intellectual, she's well-read, versatile and educated, she has a sharp and swift mind, and she's prone to ironic analysis and self-analysis. Brought up with the ideals of dignity and personal freedom, Liza gets along with these ideas in a very peculiar way. Quite expectedly, her inner (eternal) life is more important, more meaningful for her than her social one; but Liza has long outgrown the "romantic worldview" (which asserts the intrinsic value of individual's spiritual life), and is quite adequate to our time when material well-being has also became an essential value.
According to the author, the novel is about a young woman “whose simple life was smashed and torn to pieces by a stern reality. She just wanted to be happy, but found herself in a situation when she needs to change everything, and emigrate to Germany. Suddenly she realized that her brother was killed in battle, and she should do something, should draw some conclusions. In most general terms, my novel is about thirty-year-olds in Russia today, about their thirst for truth and justice in the time of everyday lies, fake news, total propaganda, hybrid and real wars. It's about their willingness to resist, to fight against forces that separate the nations. Still, my novel is also about love, at least about a passionate search for love.”
Our beloved author Marina Vishnevetskaya wrote a very modern novel Eternal Life of Liza K. which is so fresh in its intonations, language, and narrative attitude. Her book is about a power of life capable of overcoming a thick darkness and utter hoplessness surrounding us today in politics, in personal and family relations, and even at work. In our poor literary garden full of weeping and wailing over the unfulfilled hopes, a lilac bush has suddenly appeared. And burst in blossom! -- Maya Kucherskaya, a literary critic