Fitzcarraldo Editions has signed a novel about resistance and political activism in Putin's Russia by Keith Gessen titled A Terrible Country.
Publisher Jacques Testard acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada to A Terrible Country from Luke Ingram at the The Wylie Agency.
In the summer of 2008, Andrei Kaplan moves from New York to Moscow to look after his ageing grandmother, a woman who survived the dark days of communism and witnessed Russia’s violent capitalist transformation, during which she lost her beloved dacha. She welcomes Andrei into her home, even if she can’t always remember who he is. Andrei learns to navigate Putin’s Moscow, still the city of his birth, but with more expensive coffee. He looks after his elderly – but surprisingly sharp – grandmother, finds a place to play hockey, a café to send emails, and eventually some friends, including a beautiful young activist named Yulia.
"Capturing with a miniaturist’s brush the unfolding demands of family, fortune, personal ambition, ideology, and desire, A Terrible Country is a compelling novel about ageing, radical politics, Russia at a crossroads, and the difficulty – or impossibility – of actually changing one’s life", said the publisher.
Gessen's first novel All the Sad Young Literary Men was published by Vintage in 2008. He is also a founding editor of n+1, and he edited and co-translated Kirill Medvedev’s It’s No Good, also published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, and translated Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl (Picador). He teaches journalism at Columbia and lives in New York with his wife and son.
Testard said: "Keith Gessen's A Terrible Country is a brilliant addition to the Fitzcarraldo Editions catalogue, and feels like a book we had to publish. It's a novel about resistance and political activism in Putin's Russia, the weight of history, family, and identity, and it couldn't be more timely. I'm thrilled to get to work with Keith on this novel which will move and inspire in equal measure."
Fitzcarraldo Editions will publish the novel in July 2018, simultaneously with Viking in the US.
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