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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 July 2013
Thirst is a short novella about a young man, Konstantin, who has too much vodka to fit in his fridge. His neighbour knocks on his door and asks him to send her children to bed as, apparently, he is the only person they are afraid of.

The novella then proceeds to unmask Konstantin, piece by piece. It becomes clear that he has fought in the war in Chechnya, and a bit later that he has been damaged in some way. The information is drip fed to the reader and, at the same time as he becomes physically less human he starts to emerge as emotionally more complete. By the end, he has visited his family and confronted demons from his childhood. He has spent time in the company of his fellow ex-servicemen, against whom he doesn't compare too badly. It's subtly done, but it is basically a portrait of a man and a small moment of self discovery.

The writing is spare and sharp. Gelasimov is in control of his material and creates strong images with few words. Others have commented that the clipped tone reflects a first person narration by a man who is not good with words. An alternative reading is that it is a narration by a man who has a great command of language and a considerable depth of thought, but who struggles against having been pigeon-holed by background and by injury. The ideas and feelings that Konsantin expresses are complex. The contradictions are between the role he was born for and the role he is expected to play.

Whilst the title and the cover of the book suggest an obsession with alcohol, it is more about a man who wants to resist the expectation that he should drink.
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on 26 July 2017
Excellent modern Russian novel. Like good Russian novels should be it is grim but ends on a note of redemption. Gelasimov deserves to be far better known in the west, but sadly the Russian teachers I know (in the UK) are still stuck in the nineteenth century.
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on 11 August 2014
Short, entertaining read where everyone consumes vast amounts of vodka so it may give you a bit of a hangover just from the sharing. I think it might be a profound analysis of post-conflict traumatic shock but otherwise it's just a book about some pissed up Russians. I enjoyed it.
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on 16 April 2014
An affirmation of the human spirit which is rarely encountered. Difficult and distressing though the book is, who can fail to love an author who introduces a small boy stumping in from school, declaring that his boots are incompetent! The reasons for the actions of the protagonists, obscure at first, becomes crystal clear by the end, which came too soon for me. Touching, informative, thought-provoking; I am plugging this book to my family and my more discerning friends. I shall be re-reading it soon.
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on 9 September 2015
ok reading
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on 2 August 2015
Good book
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on 11 November 2013
Short sharp and gently humorous. A poignant modern tale well paced with quirky characters quickly drawn. Go buy it now.
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on 13 April 2014
I really enjoyed this little book which gives some insight into the Russian psyche. Sadness tinged with humour made it very readable and excellent value.
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on 28 March 2014
Short and sweet book to read, interesting and gripping but requires full concentration and not laid back reading style of book
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on 23 August 2015
A short story from an unusual viewpoint. Well written and very readable.
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