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Andrei Gelasimov
© Lutz Dursthoff

Andrey Gelasimov was born in Irkutsk in 1965. He studied at the Yakutsk State University (Faculty of Foreign Languages), and attended directing classes at the Moscow Theater Institute. He has become a Russian literary star overnight. His story, “A Tender Age,” which was published on the Internet in 2002, was awarded a prize for the best debut. In addition, it garnered the Apollon-Grigorev and the Belkin prizes. “A Tender Age” has also been included in an anthology, just out in Germany, called “Russia - 21 New Story Tellers,” and the reaction of the critics has been unanimous. The weekly Die Zeit says that “the wonderful new story teller Andrey Gelasimov is worth discovering.” 

Andrey Gelasimov’s texts are characterized by the masterful use of the vernacular, short sentences, a story told in dialogue, driving the story ahead like a fast rally in tennis. 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 with only a situation, or a short, often comic, dialogue.

Gelasimov’s prose is anything but pathetic, but, nevertheless—there is no other word to describe it—gripping. His heroes are alone, almost as if they were encased in a cocoon. Gelasimov is not afraid to permit them an opportunity to be happy, but he does it without becoming banal. It is not the “System” that is at fault for our suffering. People cause other people to suffer, and people can make it right again. Gelasimov always keeps completely to the everyday, does not offer a commentary, and leaves room for multiple truths. If there is a moral, then he has hidden it in his works like contraband.

His novel "Steppe Gods" won the 2009 National Bestseller literary award (St. Petersburg).


Fox Mulder Looks Like a Pig
Gods of the Steppes (Steppengötter)
The Year of the Lie