The vital needs of the dead

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What needs might the dead have? Our loved ones stay with us after theyve gone. Love, death and memory breathe in unison in the first novel by Igor Sakhnovsky. A boy is growing up in a small Soviet town beyond the Urals. There is a person in his life whose unobtrusive devotion will stay with him and see him through all hardships. This semi-biographical story of `sentimental education of a young man in a Russian province chronicles his life from childhood to university years, with his first love, to an older woman, his attempt to break out of the provincial morass and the choices he has to make. The book leaves the reader sensing that there is `nothing more terrifying, beautiful and fantastical than the so-called real life. The book was highly acclaimed in Russia and firmly established Igor Sakhnovsky as one of the most interesting Russian writers of today. The novel gained Sakhnovsky the prestigious Hawthornden Fellowship (other winners have included Ian Rankin, Alasdair Gray and Hilary Spurling, among others). Translated by Julia Kent Edited by Nina Chordas

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