ELKOST International Literary Agency

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The Maskaw Mecca, 2003

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Andrej Volos
EKSMO (2003), Russia Zebra E (2005), Russia

 

This is an anti-utopian novel set in Moscow a couple of decades in the future. Moscow is ruled by a Muslim party and becomes a city-state of its own called Mascaw. The general poverty contrasts with the wealth of the chosen few. But the city is surrounded by the rest of Russia that exists as a sort of immense Moscow Region under the rule of a caricature version of Stalinist-style Communism. The plot develops as an alternation and counterpoint of these two realities and the reader can observe how the population of the Communist suburbs dreams of escaping to Moscow, the harsh but exiting megalopolis, while the poor and oppressed citizens of Moscow, meanwhile, yearn for the quiet communist paradise of the Moscow Region. The book is nicely reminiscent of some of the best examples of Russian literature such as Dead Souls by Gogol (description of Eternal Russia, its sloth and fatalism) and Moscow 2040 by Vladimir Voinovich when dealing with futuristic Moscow with some features that are already recognizable in the Moscow of today.