Andrei Gelasimov, Marian Schwartz
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Masterfully translated from the original Russian by award-winning translator Marian Schwartz, Thirst tells the story of 20-year-old Chechen War veteran Kostya. Maimed beyond recognition by a tank explosion, he spends weeks on end locked inside his apartment, his sole companions the vodka bottles spilling from the refrigerator. But soon Kostya’s comfortable if dysfunctional cocoon is torn open when he receives a visit from his army buddies who are mobilized to locate a missing comrade. Through this search for his missing friend, Kostya is able to find himself.
morning. For now I just needed to set the mirror down somewhere. She looked at me in silence and then pointed toward the corner. Directly under the coat rack. There was already a mirror hanging on the other wall. The same kind of round mirror. But a little bigger than mine. I straightened up. “It was just leftover from my mother. They moved a long time ago, but they left a few things behind…That stupid refrigerator. It must keep your Nikita awake, I’ll bet.” “No, it doesn’t bother him.” Then
eyes. All kinds of crap have already washed into your nose. Go ahead, breathe in. Either way you’ve got less than a minute left. Bye-bye, wide world. It’s been swell. Until that bitch showed up. “When I get home I’m going to kill her, damn it,” one sergeant in the hospital told me after they had evacuated us from Chechnya. “You’re nuts. What for?” I said. “She doesn’t even know you lost your leg.” “She’ll find out. And then there’s no fucking way I’ll hold on to her. You know how many guys
able to do that with pencil. But not one of them knew anything about Seryoga. “Where did you run off to again?” Genka said when I got back to the kitchen, where there was nothing to breathe because of the cigarette smoke. “I was smoking.” “All tanked up? Let’s do it, then. Another go-round today.” “It’s been swell, bro,” he said in parting. “Can we bring you any medicine? What did the doctors prescribe for you?” And inconspicuously we started making a second round of all the same places.
AmazonCrossing, won the 2009 Russian National Bestseller literary award. The seeming simplicity of Gelasimov’s style can be attributed to his great gift, for which there is no counterpart in Russian literature. He could be called the Russian Salinger. Just like Salinger’s heroes, his are mainly children or young people, often at the age at which the painful metamorphosis from childhood to adulthood takes place. Gelasimov also understands how to sketch a psychological portrait of his characters
your mama, you’re going to be living with me. You get to take one toy.” He was absolutely speechless, and his mouth was open very wide. “Which one are we going to take? The car or this guy? Who is this you have here? Superman, is it? Come on, take your Superman along.” He shifted his eyes to Olga and whispered: “I’ll go to bed. Mama, I’ll go to bed all by myself right away.” “What a smart boy. You catch on quick. If anything like this happens again, I’m going to come back and take you with