Into the Thickening Fog
by Andrei Gelasimov
Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz
A French theater agrees to stage the latest work by Filippov--the mmost 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 dangerously low all winter, unexpectedly blurs the distinction 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.
PRAISE FOR THE TRANSLATION
This is the fifth Gelasimov novel that Marian Schwartz has translated, and she is a past master at capturing his allusive, elusive style. Here, his free-range references flap from classical (Circe, Charybdis), biblical (friendship three times denied) and Shakespearean (leaping, like Hamlet, into his dead wife’s grave or quoting Macbeth’s sound and fury) to pop cultural (his noisy breathing like a “raspy, unintelligible, and infinitely lonely Darth Vader”, hair standing up like Doc Brown’s in Back to the Future). -- Phoebe Taplin, Russia Beyond the Headlines