A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War.
Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Soviet Kazakhstan where atomic weapons are tested. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbourâ€™s daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radioactive water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he loves becomes a beautiful woman.
Why Peirene chose to publish this book: â€˜Like a Grimmâ€™s fairy tale, this story transforms an innermost fear into an outward reality. We witness a prepubescent boyâ€™s secret terror of not growing up into a man. We also wander in a beautiful, fierce landscape unlike any other we find in Western literature. And by the end of Yerzhanâ€™s tale we are awe-struck by our human resilience in the face of catastrophic, man-made, follies.â€™ Meike Ziervogel
â€˜A haunting and resonant fable.â€™ Boyd Tonkin, Independent
â€˜A tantalising mixture of magical and grim realism . . . a powerful study of alienation and environmental catastrophe.â€™ David Mills, Sunday Times
â€˜A poetic masterpiece, a novella of shocking legacies, alien beauty and blistering emotional intensity.â€™ Pam Norfolk, Lancashire Evening Post
â€˜A writer of immense poetic power.â€™ Kapka Kassabova, Guardian
â€˜A novella which draws on myth, fairy tale, poetry and traditional story-telling, it stirs them together to create an unusual parable of a modern arms race cruelly impacting on a traditional way of life.â€™ Elizabeth Buchan, Daily Mail
â€˜This superb novella . . . reads like a modern fairy-tale, full of a surreal yet mundane horror.â€™ Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday
â€˜Central Asian storytelling at its best.â€™ Marion James, Today's Zaman
LONGLISTED FOR THE INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FICTION PRIZE 2015
INDEPENDENT BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
GUARDIAN READERS' BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014