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Sin Paperback – 1 Apr 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Glagoslav Publications Ltd.; 1 edition (1 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9081823930
  • ISBN-13: 978-9081823937
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 518,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"It is an intensely human story that takes you to a different place that, at the same time, feels familiar". ALAN CARUBA, "And he (Prilepin) is probably the most important writer in modern Russia, a sensitive and intelligent critic of his country's condition. To understand Russia today, you need to understand Prilepin - first and foremost because he doesn't fit into the preconceptions most outsiders have about the place. < - > Prilepin is an intensely male writer - like Ernest Hemingway, he's intoxicated with the rituals and bonds of maleness, and, by extension, war, which he sees as the ultimate test of manhood." "Russia's Young Hemingway", NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE "Prilepin is the biggest event in today's Russian literature; his language reminds us of Tolstoy," TATYANA TOLSTAYA, famous Russian writer "This book gives you the impulse to live your life to the fullest without shallow hesitations," DMITRY BYKOV, famous Russian writer and journalist. " - this writer has simply become a phenomenon which is impossible to ignore," ALEXANDER GARROS, famous Russian writer "It's hard to explain the effect of Zakhar Prilepin's book called Aoao (Sin), which won this year's National Bestseller prize. The book describes itself as a novel in short stories - not quite accurate, since there is also a section of poetry - and each piece about a young man named Zakhar establishes its own mood. All the stories, though, combine threads of tenderness, rage, and oinea (toska), an untranslatable Russian word that represents a sort of soulful yearning and worry." LIZA HAYDEN

From the Inside Flap

Zakhar Prilepin's novel-in-stories, Sin, has become a literary phenomenon in Russia, where it was published in 2007. It has been hailed as the epitome of the spirit of the opening decade of the 21st century, and was called "the book of the decade" by the prestigious Super Natsbest Award jury. Now available for the first time in English, it not only embodies the reality of post-perestroika Russia, but also shows that even in this reality, just like in any other, it is possible to maintain a positive attitude while remaining human.

Zakharka is young, strong, in love with love and with life's random, telling moments. In the episodes of his life, presented here in non-chronological order, we see him as a little boy, a lovelorn teenager, a hard-drinking grave-digger, a nightclub bouncer, a father, and a soldier in Chechnya. He even writes poetry, and his stylistically varied verses are presented in the penultimate chapter of the book. Loving life, he looks boldly, and even with curiosity, into the face of death - taking pictures of the deceased at a funeral, staring with agitation at the entrails of a just-disemboweled pig, chronicling the death of a childhood friend - and values the freedom of not fearing his own end. It is family that ultimately defines happiness for Zakharka; but it is also family that makes him realize, on the desolate Chechen border, that his love for them has deprived him of this freedom.

Sin offers a fascinating glimpse into the recent Russian past, as well as its present, with its unemployment, poverty, violence, and local wars - social problems that may be found in many corners of the world. Zakhar Prilepin presents these realities through the eyes of Zakharka, taking us along on the life-affirming journey of his unforgettable protagonist.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Damian on 17 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
I had read rave reviews about this book before I purchased, saying that SIN was voted as the Russian book of the decade. I have to say I was surprised on the downside. The writing style as a stream of thoughts and memories was good, but I found it hard to piece together the different chapters and who the characters were. I found it hard to work out whether it was a single character or multiple different characters. Reflecting on my reading experience - I felt as if I was just an observer - I wasn't drawn in to the story at all. Perhaps, I have wondered, the experiences are not identifiable for me because I am not Russian?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant and distinctive voice 17 Jun. 2012
By Sophie Masson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A bestseller in Russia and now translated into English and published by the UK/Dutch publisher Glagoslav, this novel-in-stories about the life of a young man named Zakharka(not told chronologically but in glimpses of various times) is a quite extraordinary book, sensual, tender, funny, brutal and philosophical by turns. This is a very male voice yet though some have compared him to Hemingway, I don't think that gives any real sense of the flavor of this book, it's not macho or emotion-repressed at all, quite the opposite. This is also very much a modern novel, both in its narrative format and the portrait of the society it draws, yet to my mind it's also very much in the headlong, sensual, experimental and surprising tradition of Russian literature. Life-affirming yet not optimistic, joyous yet very much aware of pain and sin, it's the story of a young man living in a society traumatised by the crashing of a system and the subsequent confusions of the new order, who snatches moments of true happiness which are not in any sense negated by the harder aspects of things.
I particularly loved three of these stories, all dealing with love in its different forms--a teenage love affair, a summer full of unresolved tension between three cousins and a particularly poignant and beautiful evocation of family life and the precious distinctiveness of children. But there are also stories of soldiers in Chechnya and nightclub bouncers and drunks, which though much harsher still manage to convey emotion in a way which rings absolutely true. Prilepin has a sharp eye for nature too and a gift for unexpected yet precise imagery. Brilliant work, not to be missed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent story! 1 July 2012
By Camilla Stein - Published on
Format: Hardcover
SIN is one of the first novels by modern Russian authors I've read. What a pleasant surprise! Coming from a linguistic background, I could appreciate the translation and felt absolutely no cultural barriers while reading this book. The language flows naturally, and I could feel the waves of emotion that were going through the author when he composed this amazing story. In fact, this book felt quite a revelation - we don't get to see too many truly empowered men in literature these days, those authors who are not afraid of exposing their vulnerability. Zakhar Prilepin shared a story of a young boy's journey towards becoming a man. Certain experiences were needed to turn an immature soul into a person of integrity, a man of his word. And how refreshing and moving was to read about the bonding between a father and a son, and a man's inner monologue of love towards his family and life itself. It's a worthy read that I recommend to everyone.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A stunning yet complex example of the best in Russian writing 12 Jun. 2013
By Slavic Lit Fan - Published on
Format: Paperback
After reading Zakhar Prilepin's newest work translated into English, Sin, it came as no surprise to learn that the book won several prizes in its original Russian. It's difficult to do the book justice in a short review; the most important thing to say is that Prilepin's exploration of the human soul is in the tradition of many of the classic Russian writers.

The main reason I myself found the book so definitive is that it is essentially an exploration of the pain of human existence (perhaps a stereotype of Russian literature), but also of the joy, pleasure and love of it. The bliss provoked in the characters by life's simple pleasures - a bite of sausage after a slug of vodka, feeding pancakes to stray puppies, a baby son's breath as he sleeps - lend the book an intense, but never cloying, sweetness. Prilepin particularly enjoys exploring how kindness to those weaker than ourselves can be edifying.

However, Prilepin's exploration of the darker sides of the human experience is part and parcel of the book's authenticity. Animals - from chickens, to dogs, to rats - are often used as a prompt to the reader to consider their own morality and mortality. Examples of violence, from the slaughtering of a pig for food to the unnecessary abuse of a helpless kitten, highlight the more bestial elements of human nature, but also the power we have over other beings - whether we choose to use it or not.

In a sense the book portrays violence as something ordinary, part of everyday life, whether you're working as a nightclub , in a supermarket, or in the middle of a warzone. However, it is never the whole story: in a story focusing on the Chechen, in the midst of a harsh environment, the characters find it difficult to forget their status as sons, as fathers and as lovers - parts of their identity that clash with the cold brutality demanded from them as soldiers.

Sin is not only a very well written book, skilfully translated, but an enjoyable one that adroitly moves between different moods and settings. It is a fairly short novel, but doubtless one of the best to come out of Russia in the past decade.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic writer! 26 Feb. 2013
By Marie Mccullough - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This author takes us from the nitty gritty murderous bestial gutter, to love and lust, through poetic and lofty spiritual heights, and thats in one sentence! Very interesting! The book is a series of short stories from the authors experiences not in chronological order much like the way we review our past a little bit here a little bit there but as a whole symphony. I look forward to more by this author he also makes poetry current and relevant! Love this highly recommended! Cool!
Five Stars 6 Oct. 2014
By James Dante - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd like to see him write a novel.
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