A French theater agrees to stage the latest work by Filippov—the most prestigious and lucrative opportunity of his infamous career—but first he must sever ties with his longtime collaborator and childhood friend. So the internationally acclaimed Russian director makes a reluctant trip back to his hometown to deliver the news. His journey to the Far North, where the temperature remains dangerous all winter, unexpectedly blurs the distinctions between reality and art for this virtuoso, who prides himself on his ability to create shocking scenes and outrageous situations. And after the city’s power grid goes off-line, the brutal cold just might get the better of him.
The colder it gets, the more wickedly funny Filippov’s boozy exploits, which unravel into an unexpected chain of events—including run-ins with old lovers, meeting a woman who might be his daughter, encounters with the devil, and the unlikely affection of a dog that, like Filippov, is in desperate need of warmth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Irkutsk in 1965, Andrei Gelasimov studied foreign languages at Yakutsk State University and directing at State University of Theatre Arts in Moscow. In 2001, he became an overnight literary sensation in Russia when his story “A Tender Age,” which he published on the Internet, was awarded a prize for the year’s best debut. It went on to garner the Apollon Grigorev and Belkin Prizes, and his novels have regularly enjoyed critical and popular success in Russia and throughout Europe. This is his fifth novel to be published in English, following Thirst, The Lying Year, Rachel, and Gods of the Steppe, winner of Russia’s National Bestseller Prize in 2009 and praised by Bookslut as “a very rich, good book.” Gelasimov adapted Thirst for the screen, and the film, directed by Dmitriy Tyurin, won first prize in the Moscow Premiere Screenings at the Moscow International Film Festival and the Jury Prize at the Sochi Open Russian Film Festival.