On Monday, Feb. 3rd, at 7 p.m., downstairs at 52 Prince Street, join the International Literature Book Club, led by Sarah McNally. We will discuss The Librarian by Ukrainian author Mikhail Elizarov, translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield.
If Ryu Murakami had written War and Peace . . .
As the introduction to this book will tell you, the books by Gromov, obscure and long forgotten propaganda author of the Soviet era, have such an effect on their readers that they suddenly enjoy supernatural powers. Understandably, their readers need to keep accessing these books at all cost and gather into groups around book-bearers, or, as they're called, librarians. Alexei, until now a loser, comes to collect an uncle's inheritance and unexpectedly becomes a librarian. He tells his extraordinary, unbelievable story.
Elizarov's novel, winner of the 2008 Russian Booker Prize, is a satire about the absurdity of blind faith and the way people fool themselves into believing in systems in which they are forced to inhabit . . . this chaotic tale puts a magical twist on its satire. --Publishers Weekly
[A] brilliant winner of the Russian Booker Prize . . . Immensely entertaining, The Librarian lives up to comparisons to the work of Gogol and Bulgakov while being very much its own thing. -- Jeff VanderMeer, Slate
Mikhail Elizarov, born 1973 in the Ukraine, studied philology and film direction in Kharkov and worked as a cameraman in the 90s. He then moved to Hanover, Germany, to study cinema. In 2001, his first novel, Fingernails, caught the attention of the media and was shortlisted for the Andrei Bely Prize, and his fourth novel, The Librarian, was awarded the 2008 Russian Booker Prize. Mikhail Elizarov has also written short stories and essays, and contributes to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and magazines including GQ and Playboy. He currently lives in Germany.