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From the Publisher

Coming November 22, 2011

Described by German news magazine Der Spiegel as “full of elegiac mourning…[that] brings forth an entirely new toughness, clarity, and elegance,” Andrei Gelasimov’s Thirst, translated by award-winning translator Marian Schwartz, delivers a timely, darkly funny and spare rumination on re-considering one’s identity in the aftermath of tragedy.

Kostya returns from the war in Chechnya just as he turns twenty. His face has been maimed to the point that it looks like a piece of meat, his wounds inflicted just before he escaped from a flaming tank. Now, he spends weeks on end locked inside his apartment, his sole companion the vodka in his fridge. The woman next door checks on him regularly to see if he’s still alive, and when she discovers the power his disfigured face has over her misbehaving son, she takes to using Kostya as a disciplinary influence. But the past always revisits, and soon Kostya’s comfortable, if dysfunctional, cocoon is torn open for good.

One day Kostya receives a visit from his army buddies who are mobilized to find their missing comrade, Seryoga. He was their hero during the war—rescuing them all from their burning tank—but with the end of the war he lost his sense of purpose. He’s disappeared before, but this time his family in Moscow is so convinced he’s dead they’ve asked his friends to go find his body. Life on the road with his buddies reinvigorates Kostya and encourages him to reconnect with his family, and sharing his talent for drawing with his father’s new children helps remind him he’s alive.

Compared in the Russian press to the writing prowess of J.D. Salinger, Andrei Gelasimov’s Thirst is a probing psychological portrait that finds truth and dark humor in the rough edges of young men who have experienced the pain and tragedy of war.
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