Viktor Martinovich

Paranoia Paranoia
Novel. AST. Moscow 2009. 382 pages.
Foreign rights: Belarus, Finland/ Like, Germany/ Voland Quist, Sweden/ Ersatz, UK-US/ Northwestern University Press

A totalitarian regime in Eastern Europe. The young author Anatoli leads a relatively unnoticed life – until he meets the mysterious Yelisaveta and begins a passionate affair with her. Slowly though, Anatoli has increa- singly the feeling that Yelisaveta is leading a double life: apparently she also has a relationship with the head of the intelligence service. The ménage à trois explodes when Yelisaveta becomes pregnant. All of a sudden she disappears without a trace, and Anatoli is summoned to a meeting with the all-powerful intelligence service. After several interro- gations, the boundary between apparent reality and intelligence- service-speak becomes blurred. And Anatoli has to accept that every breath is monitored and recorded, that every smile is registered, that the one and only function of the walls around him is for eavesdropping, and that in the streets there is no such thing as a chance meeting. Paranoia takes over.

An electrifying political thriller and a tragic story of love and betrayal, which if nothing else shines a spot-light on the methods of Big Brother in the 21st century. As Martinovich himself says:“One does not need to write a new ‘1984‘ anymore, one just needs to look around.“