ELKOST International Literary Agency

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The Third Heart (Potemkin), 2008

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Rights sold to: France – Gallimard, Russia - EKSMO

 

A short novel that narrates the improbable life of a Russian émigré in France and engages in polemical dialogue with the fiction of Vladimir Nabokov.

There was a time when nearly fifty thousand Russians lived in Paris (on the eve of World War I, they were hardly more than thirty-six thousand in all France). They prayed in Orthodox churches, sent their children to Russian schools, and discussed Dostoevsky in La Rotonde coffee shop.

Fyodor Zavalishin, also known as Theo, was one of those Russians who managed to escape the Bolshevik Revolution and settled in Paris. As many of them, he also visited a screening of Eisenstein's masterpiece, Battleship Potemkin in November 1926. As a soldier, in 1905 he took part in the suppression of the revolt in the Russian fleet. When he watched Eisenstein's impressive reconstruction of the massacre in the port of Odessa on the big screen, he suddenly felt guilt of being involved in this crime... Theo rushes to the nearest police station to make a confession, then tries to cure his remorse and guilt in a psychiatric hospital. There he learns from the newspapers a horrible story of seven women who were found murdered in a mass grave in Deauville. Without hesitation, Theo attributes the massacre to his former comrade in arms, badly disabled Ivan Domani, for whom he had just agreed to make erotic pictures of seven young creatures. Thus began a long Theo’s journey between violence and redemption ...

Buida’s The Third Heart is an amazing book that confirms more than ever that Yuri Bouida, who enjoys a great prestige in the country, occupies a prominent place in the great Russian literary tradition.