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The Lying Year [Kindle Edition]

Andrei Gelasimov , Marian Schwartz
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Could have been the blown business deal with the Italians. Could have been the unauthorized office party, which ended with the cops—and then an arrest. No matter what finally got him fired, Mikhail never expected to find himself at Red Star Industries’ office again.

So down-and-out Mikhail is surprised to be called in by old boss Pavel Petrovich, who offers Mikhail easy money and the Land Rover of his dreams to teach his son, Sergei, how to “be a man”—and to spy on him.

Of course, Sergei’s not the Internet-obsessed recluse his father believes. He’s hiding a relationship with the beautiful Marina, who Mikhail himself can’t help but fall for as well. To keep it all together, Mikhail finds himself lying to Petrovich about his son’s activities, lying to Marina about Sergei’s intentions, and lying to Sergei about his love for Marina. So when Sergei’s father invites them all to Italy, the web of lies holding their world together begins to fall apart, and about the time Mikhail finds himself held hostage at gunpoint, he realizes he’s gotten in way over his head…

Product Description

About the Author

Andrei Gelasimov was born in Irkutsk in 1965 and studied foreign languages at Yakutsk State University and directing at the Moscow Theater Institute. His first novel, Thirst, garnered the Apollon-Grigoriev Award and was nominated for the Belkin Prize; upon publication in English the Telegraph hailed it as “a haven of both comedy and horror.” Two further novels are forthcoming in English: Gods of the Steppe, winner of the 2009 Russian National Bestseller award, and Rachel, winner of the Booker Student Prize.

Marian Schwartz is an award-winning translator of Russian literature. She is the recipient of two translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association. Her translations include the New York Times bestseller The Last Tsar by Edvard Radzinsky, Andrei Gelasimov’s Thirst, Olga Slavnikova’s 2017, and Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 484 KB
  • Print Length: 329 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1611090717
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossingEnglish (8 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0076PGFP6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,495 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent. 22 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Mikhail Vorobyov is a twenty-something screwup/slacker who's recently been fired from his job at a large industrial firm in Moscow for boozing on the job. To his astonishment, he is summoned to the boss's office, where he is made an offer he can't refuse. The boss (a budding oligarch) is concerned that his teenage son is some kind of deviant or sissy, as he spends all day in his room on his computer. The boss wants Mikhail to teach him to be a man, take him out on the town, introduce him to vodka and women -- for which he will be paid a very handsome salary and given the use of a shiny new Land Rover. Naturally, Mikhail jumps at the offer and wacky hi-jinks ensure. Or rather, somewhat wacky hi-jinks sometimes ensue.

After this promising setup, the book never picks up a head of steam, instead meandering all over the place with little urgency or focus. It turns out the teenager has a secret lover, but his father has pledged him to the daughter of an Italian concrete magnate, so that's one thread. Mikhail turns out to be attracted to the kid's lover, so that's another thread. There's plenty of deception (hence the title), plenty of intragenerational issues, plenty of "New Russia" problems (like a gangster who takes over a market stall), some comic set pieces, some gunplay, some diary excerpts, some other voices -- but none of it really adds up to anything really compelling. It's more a series of vignettes or impressions or moods, as opposed to a compelling story. Those who need their fiction to be plot-driven will likely be frustrated, while those who feed on character will find a little more to chew on -- a little, not a lot. Worth trying if you've got some connection to Russia or Russian fiction, otherwise I can't recommend it. It's never a good sign when I'm able to put a book down for a few days and completely forget about it, and that happened several times with this book.(less)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master of the unsaid 16 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I started this, I thought that - although good - this novel did not have the tautness of Gelasimov's earlier novella, Thirst. Certainly the first character, Mikhail, is an utter reprobate, without the immediate sympathy generated by poor Kostya. And the first person narrative style took me a while to get used to.

I was worried that this was going to turn into simply an adventure novel - escapades of a ne'er-do-well in the wild Russia of the nineties. It certainly has drama, and it is a brilliant evocation of the real Russia of that period, with all its extremes, and certainly it can probably be enjoyed on that level.

But Gelasimov does not disappoint; the novel is far more than that. The story is told from multiple viewpoints - Mikhail, his employer Pavel Petrovich, his protege Sergei, and all of them - AND all the other characters we meet - are lying to someone.
Gelasimov is a master of dialogue. The story is primarily told through conversations, diary entries and direct address to the reader. Yet - as in "Thirst" - the eloquence lies in the things that are left unsaid.

The realism of the writing is superb, and the characterisation subtle. But this is also quite a light read, with a good sprinkling of humour. Mikhail might be the Employee From Hell - he drinks, he gets into fights, he sleeps around... AND he imports all this into his workplace! - but he does have standards. Well, some. He won't sleep with a woman (even if she is attractive) if she has offered to pay him to!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Made no sense to me. 5 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Why would someone who is concerned about his son, entrust him to someone her clearly could not look after himself properly? This was the major plot failing for me, from the start.

The translation is into Americanised English with American cultural references. Often I felt that I was having to do two sets of translation to get a feel of what was going on.

There are some interesting little characters interactions, but I could not warm to or identify with any of the characters.

The plot is pacy and the shortness of the scenes does make it suitable for reading on a commute.

Russian impulsiveness can be interesting and amusing, but on this occas
ion I just could not find a connection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four star, go figure 21 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Lying Year is the tale of Mikhail over one year of his life which he spends basically lying. He loses a job, gets lucky in that he is employed by his former company boss to teach his son the ways of life, gets mixed up with his girlfriend leading to a show-down in the middle of the book, before the second half where he becomes a kidnapper. And thanks to his lying there are some really funny, but ultimately disastrous, moments where he keeps digging his own hole.

This is a Russian book that has been translated into English. At first I was struggling with the translation and thought it was quite poor, although maybe that is just me as the translator has awards. Anyway I got used to it. And to its credit the conversations worked alright.

The format of the book is funny because it starts as a straight narrative before breaking into a diary and letters to show other characters viewpoints in the centre as there is a dramatic crescendo in the story as the gun makes an appearance. Then it goes into narrative again with the diary element returning at the end for the next crescendo. This worked well.

Mikhail gets into all sorts of situations through his "lying" but also his cowardice, which makes the book very funny, and the book is very fast-paced but I did have the translation issues at the beginning so it has to be a 4 out of 5.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 21 days ago by Fooled
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 22 days ago by S M Brotherwood
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet quirky tale
I encourage you to read this simple little story, nicely designed and narrated. It is refreshing in its direction and its dramatic appeal.
Published 10 months ago by onedharma
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed
Found ths book frustrating... Started well, found the plot got muddled I got bored & nearly gave up wish I had it didn't improve.
Published 10 months ago by Adie Perryman
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
Gelasimov has again created some great characters, both lovable and slightly sinister.

A fast moving and credible storyline. Read more
Published 11 months ago by John Dunney
2.0 out of 5 stars What was the point?
From the outset, I had better declare a bias- I am no lover of 'contemporary fiction'. Along with an admiration for the Russian classics (perhaps that was why the book interested... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Peter Buckley
3.0 out of 5 stars Lies Come Easily
Experiences and events erupt spontaneously in this novel. Testosterone driven males feature prominently, notably Mikhail, the main character and minder to Seryzhov, the teenager... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sandford
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Took a bit of time to get into the story, but the deatil is very good and a very enjoyable read.
Published 15 months ago by eira
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun novel, Guy Ritchie in Mooscow
If you have lived in the Ex Soviet union in the 19902 as I did for a yer in Ukraine, you will feel the scenary and context better than if you have not. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Stephen Walsh
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and quirky
Not a complicated story that you need to concentrate for...more of a ramble through unlikely scenarios. You may enjoy it but unlikely to rave about it.
Published 16 months ago by argyllannie
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