This acclaimed twenty-first–century Russian novel is “a Dantean descent” into the abandoned Soviet gulags, written “with a clear poetic sensibility” (The Wall Street Journal).
In Sergei Lebedev’s debut novel, an unnamed young man travels to the vast wastelands of the Far North to uncover the truth about a mysterious neighbor who once saved his life, and whom he knows only as Grandfather II. What he finds among the forgotten mines and decrepit barracks of former gulags is a world relegated to oblivion, where it is easier to ignore both the victims and the executioners than to come to terms with a terrible past.
This disturbing tale evokes the great and ruined beauty of a land where man and machine work in tandem with nature to destroy millions of lives during the Soviet century. Emerging from today’s Russia, where the ills of the past are being forcefully erased from public memory, this masterful novel is an epic literary act of bearing witness, attempting to rescue history from the brink of oblivion.
A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Novel of the Year
“Not since Alexander Solzhenitsyn has Russia had a writer as obsessed as Sergei Lebedev with that country’s history or the traces it has left on the collective consciousness . . . The best of Russia’s younger generation of writers.” ―The New York Review of Books