Olga Slavnikova

Bessmertny The Immortal.
Novel. 2001. ca. 250 pages.
Awards: Shortlisted for the BOOKER PRIZE 2001 and National Bestseller Award 2002
Foreign rights: France/ Gallimard, Hungary/ Noran, Italy/ Einaudi, Romania/ Epica, US/ Columbia

A bed ridden Soviet veteran is being looked after by his wife and daughter. Long may he live, the family is surviving on his pension. The two women create a virtual world for him in his room, cut him off from all sources of information and play him news-broadcasts reporting on the latest communist party conferences recorded on video. All this to convince the old man of the continued existence of his beloved Soviet Union. The women, however, succumb to their own self deception. All the old man wants – is to finally die. Two generations in an absurdly comical and tragic vicious circle. Is there a way out? Slavnikova offers no complete solution and makes no judgment. Rather she composes a family story with a stylistic sensitivity for both sides that mirrors the disruption of today’s Russian society.

The third big novel, from this authoress from the Urals, that became famous overnight in the Russian literary scene, as her recondite psychological thriller “Strekoza” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

From O. Slavnikova’s Preface to the French edition by Gallimard:
"This is no Good bye Lenin clone which you have in front of you. The novel Bessmertny is a fundamentally different product. The book begins where the film ends... to readers looking for similarities between to the book and the film, I say “Good Luck”. To those who really want to read the book, however, I say: “Welcome to Russia”, a country which we Russian writers love with such a strange and completely irrational love.