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The Resource The year of the comet, Sergei Lebedev ; translated by Antonina W. Bouis

The year of the comet, Sergei Lebedev ; translated by Antonina W. Bouis

Label
The year of the comet
Title
The year of the comet
Statement of responsibility
Sergei Lebedev ; translated by Antonina W. Bouis
Creator
Contributor
Author
Translator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
"...a story of a Russian boyhood and coming of age as the Soviet Union is on the brink of collapse. An idyllic childhood takes a sinister turn. Rumors of a serial killer haunt the neighborhood, families pack up and leave town without a word of warning, and the country begins to unravel. Policemen stand by as protesters overtake the streets, knowing that the once awe-inspiring symbols of power they wear on their helmets have become devoid of meaning. Lebedev depicts a vast empire coming apart at the seams, transforming a very public moment into something tender and personal, and writes with stunning beauty and shattering insight about childhood and the growing consciousness of a boy in the world."--Cover, p.[4]
Member of
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Lebedev (Oblivion) delivers a remarkable bildungsroman, set against the decline of the Soviet Union. The nameless narrator, a young boy yearning for anonymity and seclusion, reflects on his past and relatives in an attempt to find truth and a better understanding of himself. In doing so, he also tells the story of Soviet rule. When he discovers Grandmother Mara’s old edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, he notices the book includes names and places he has never heard mentioned. These vanished entries spur the protagonist to acknowledge his homeland’s fractured identity and to become more aware of the narratives that dictate his life. The appearance of Mister, a serial killer targeting young children, disrupts the rhythms of obeying power and pushes the narrator to pay attention to hints of the nation’s inevitable collapse. Like Lebedev’s previous novel, this book centers on one’s attempt to recover the past from a powerful governing narrative. Antonia W. Bouis’s deft translation captures Lebedev’s striking prose. The novel is packed with symbolism: “Every object means something, says something, increases the danger that threatens the hero or mitigates it,” the narrator muses. The plot remains widely relatable in depicting conflicts of consciousness—the speaker’s attempts to reconcile the contradictions between ideology and individuality. This is a smart, convincing, and affecting novel. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed 01/02/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 01, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Like his excellent Oblivion, Lebedev's absorbing new work opens with a steadily building account of growing up Soviet. Like those around him, the young narrator must carry the weight of the past—in particular, the consequences of a war that wiped out millions—even as he negotiates the stringent everyday. (Grandmother Tanya gives him a little statue that shows "how people really live—see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing.") He's torn between wanting to be a Soviet hero and learning his antecedents, even as he feels stifled by his family. Then comes 1986, the fateful year of Haley's Comet and Chernobyl, serious omens indeed for a boy always looking for them. Tension ratchets up further with "The Summer of Mister," as the narrator is befriended by an older boy he worships and decides to go after the pedophile killer he's convinced that only a child can see. In the end, he grows up, sadder, wiser, yet "born anew." VERDICT A seamlessly written child's-eye view that conveys an adult understanding of history's burdens. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed 12/01/2016) (Library Journal, vol 141, issue 20, p90)
  • /* Starred Review */ Lebedev follows up Oblivion (2016), his powerful novel about the atrocities of the gulag, with this autobiographical tale of a boy's coming-of-age during the years leading to the fall of the Soviet Union.A "child of an earthquake" who was shaken from his mother's womb in Moscow by tectonic waves emanating from Bucharest, our unnamed protagonist spends much of the novel trying to shake the unsettled state into which he was born. The unspoken past, his country's and his family's, is no mere backdrop for his adventures. The ghostly mysteries of the Stalin era and its aftermath impinge on his every thought and feeling, intensified by his discovery of simple objects that provide clues to his family's participation in those events. The boy is largely raised by his war-widowed grandmothers, one of peasant stock, the other from a noble line, both tied in different ways to the Communist Party. As the system unravels, chaos increasingly infects people's lives, as does a "tyranny of necessities" emblematized by the ready availability of shoes but not spare shoelaces. The Chernobyl disaster deepens our hero's free-floating fear and intensifies his desire to create his own alternative reality. He pursues a friendship with an enigmatic adult named Ivan and risks contact with a child killer called Mister who is on the loose outside his family's dacha. While the latter half of the book has a certain romantic streak in introducing the hero to personal freedom, or at least the possibility of letting down his guard, the obsessive early sections boast such a relentless, close-in intensity the effect can be claustrophobic. But it's a good kind of claustrophobia: you read and reread Lebedev's lyrical, cutting prose with equal amounts of awe and enjoyment. This gorgeously written, unsettling novel—a rare work about the fall of the Soviet Union as told through the eyes of a child—leaves us with a fresh understanding of that towering moment in recent history.(Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2016)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10551410
Cataloging source
BTCTA
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1981-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Lebedev, Sergeĭ
Index
no index present
Language note
Translated from the Russian
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
Bouis, Antonina W.
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Soviet Union
  • Coming of age
  • Russian fiction
  • Bildungsromans
  • Russia
Target audience
adult
Label
The year of the comet, Sergei Lebedev ; translated by Antonina W. Bouis
Instantiates
Publication
Note
First published in Russian in 2014 as God komety
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000059750245
Dimensions
21 cm.
Extent
245 pages
Isbn
9781939931412
Lccn
2016915499
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)945949040
Label
The year of the comet, Sergei Lebedev ; translated by Antonina W. Bouis
Publication
Note
First published in Russian in 2014 as God komety
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
000059750245
Dimensions
21 cm.
Extent
245 pages
Isbn
9781939931412
Lccn
2016915499
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)945949040

Library Locations

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      Level 1, Royal Randwick Shopping Centre, Randwick, NSW, 2031, AU
      -33.9151421 151.2408898
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