Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (5)
4 star:
 (10)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master of the unsaid
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...
Published 12 months ago by Alexa

versus
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent.
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...
Published 15 months ago by finalguy


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent., 22 Jan 2013
By 
finalguy (Newport (Wales)) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (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)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Made no sense to me., 5 May 2013
By 
Prof TBun (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The master of the unsaid, 16 April 2013
By 
Alexa (Midlothian United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Matter of Taste, 29 Oct 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I didn't know really what to expect with this book, after all I haven't read anything else before by this author. I think though this could be a matter of taste as this book won't be everyone's cup of tea. The story isn't told by one person, there are different narrators, one of these is in diary form, and there are letters as well, thus to a certain degree throwing you slightly off pace as you read this.

Mikhail has lost his job and worrying about getting another one when he suddenly gets a call from his boss. Offered twice his former pay, expenses, and a car he is wanted to make a man of the boss's son. Yes, his boss is worried that his son, Sergei may be gay or be involved in some sort of cult. The job sounds simple, have a blast with Sergei, introduce him to sex and booze. Of course, things are never that simple, and when Mikhail finds that Sergei has a girlfriend that he also fancies, things are sure to take a wrong turn.

With Sergei expected to marry an Italian girl to cement business relations for his father, and people lying to each other and trying to score points off of each other Mikhail soon finds himself well in over his head. The main problem with this book isn't so much the multi-narrative form but rather how it goes from comical to serious, and back again throughout the story. This does to a certain extent make this darkly comic, but also at times you begin to wonder if the author couldn't decide what type of book he really wanted to write.

As I wrote earlier, this is a matter of taste and won't be for everyone. It is more a book that you have to think about do you really want, rather than something you know you do.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It died half way through., 15 May 2013
By 
Zola fan "Nana" (Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Lying Year

"When down-and-out Mikhail's former boss makes him a wild offer - earn piles of cash teaching his loner son `to be a man' to drink, fight, and chase girls, while spying on him at the same time - Mikhail eagerly signs on".

I felt sure that I was going to love this book; a tale about modern Russia and a rich (Mafia-involved?) father trying to toughen up bookish son with the aid of thuggish out of work Jack the Lad. However, after a promising start, it all went downhill for me.

The plot of The Lying Year promised well and for the first half of the book the style was good and the narrative moved ahead nicely. However, it all changed; it was as if someone else had taken over from the original author because the pace dragged and the plot suddenly became dull. The characters that had been so interesting in the first half seemed like different people in the second. This appeared to happen when the storyline moved to another country and whether or not this had some bearing on the change, I don't know.

Perhaps it was me, maybe I was missing something, but the book just seemed to die half way through and I didn't waste any further time finishing it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four star, go figure, 21 Mar 2013
By 
Tim Roast (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 7 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lying Year (Kindle Edition)
Gelasimov combines humour, sadness, tension, attraction and pathos with a brilliant writing style to create this fascinating novel. It's difficult to put this one down. An excellent read from start to finish.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars What was the point?, 19 Mar 2014
By 
Peter Buckley "peter15115" (Dyfed, Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
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 me), I was prepared to be won over. I wasn't. In the past, I have discovered a pleasure in reading books where the author's first language is not English, but in this case, that made no difference, although in fairness the author was not writing in English. Could any subtlety be lost in translation? Trouble is, this story was far from subtle, or even plausible. The depressingly amoral tone just did not let up. It did not shed any light on, let alone promote, Putin's Russia. I think I will stick to Pushkin's. Look for better books to translate please, Amazon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Lies Come Easily, 20 Feb 2014
By 
Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lying Year (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Experiences and events erupt spontaneously in this novel. Testosterone driven males feature prominently, notably Mikhail, the main character and minder to Seryzhov, the teenager with quite distinct autistic tendencies. There is one exception with the sole female character, Marina, the Audrey Hepburn look-alike, Marina, who acts as seductress.

Life is recorded as very much of the moment, with the characters having an inability to think of more than one thing at a time in their insular existences. Empathy is certainly a generally lacking quality for the characters. Their self preoccupation leads to a gullibility, resulting in some alarmingly comical situations when personalities collide with each other. There is always a degree of misunderstanding with everyone. Rarely on the same wavelength, and always out of synch, with no apparent consciences. Carrying a chip on the shoulder seems de riguer.

This is a fiction very much of the self and self interest. It is written with little emotional content, but has much action and reaction, the immediacy of events reflected in the rather staccato writing style. Mikhail, the minder is a particularly intriguing character. As minder, he acts as facilitator, the doer, the pivot really for the novel. Not the greatest for self reflection, his capacity to think beyond the here and now causes its own devastating but blackly comic consequences. To him, of course, lies come easy, hence the book’s title.

A fascinating book in many ways, that hovers between 3 and 4 star rating for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 14 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lying Year (Kindle Edition)
Took a bit of time to get into the story, but the deatil is very good and a very enjoyable read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa99c9594)

This product

The Lying Year
The Lying Year by Andrei Gelasimov (MP3 CD - 8 Jan 2013)
10.85
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews