"It is an intensely human story that takes you to a different place that, at the same time, feels familiar". ALAN CARUBA, Bookviews.com "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.