The forces of science, human error, and power run amok all collide in a wildly inventive, funny, and razor-sharp political satire about Putin’s Russia, from one of the country’s most fearless journalists.
When a scientist experimenting on humans in a sanatorium near Moscow gives a growth serum to a dwarf oil mogul, the newly heightened businessman runs off with the experimenter’s wife, and a series of mysterious deaths and crimes commences. Fantastical and wonderfully strange, this political parable has an uncanny resonance with today’s Russia under Putin.
Oleg Kashin is a famous Russian journalist and activist who, in 2010, was beaten to within an inch of his life by unknown assailants, in an attack most likely politically motivated by his reporting. The events of Fardwor, Russia! (the title is taken from a flag with a slogan—“Forward, Russia!”—gone wrong) could seem grotesque, if they did not so eerily echo the absurd state of affairs in modern Russia. Under Putin’s regime, authors dare to criticize the state of affairs and affairs of the state only through veiled satire—and even then, as Kashin’s experience shows, the threat of repercussions is real.
A witty, playful, brave, and incisive work that blends science fiction with political satire, Fardwor, Russia! is a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary Russia—or the hilarious and frightening follies of power.
“A brisk read that will nevertheless leave one with a disquieting picture of contemporary life in that cursed country . . . The book is a hilarious and heartbreaking portrait of a country whose demons rarely pause in tormenting its populace, as its author found out before it was even published.”
—The Chicago Tribune
“A fierce political satire skewering [Kashin’s] homeland . . . Both acidulous and wildly entertaining; Gary Shteyngart fans will embrace.”
“The ridiculous sci-fi dystopia nestled within the garish pink cover bares more than a slight similarity to Russia under Putin and, with new stories of corruption in the Kremlin making the front page of international news sites each month, it has never been more topical . . . Fardwor, Russia! is wonderfully strange and fantastically frightening, a gruesome yet hilarious tale of genetic engineering gone awry, combined with a grim political parable of the danger of power in the wrong hands. A ludicrous satire with a serious twist—Fardwor, Russia! is a must read those with an interest in Russian politics, or fans of science fiction that borders on the ridiculous.”
—Engineering & Technology
“In Fardwor, Russia!, Kashin succeeds at depicting the absurdity and corruption of 21st-century Russia.”
—Daniel Kalder, The Dallas Morning News
“Intertwining the mystical essence of science fiction and the humor of political satire, Fardwor, Russia! is an allegorical tale of contemporary Russian life. Human error from reckless experimentation produces a growth serum that sets off a comedy of errors as farcical as it is descriptive about the temptations of absolute power.”
—World Literature Today
“A highly topical satirical fiction . . . A documentation of our times, dressed in the circus costume of fantasy, written by one of our era’s most eloquent and inquisitive witnesses.”
—Sasha Filipova, TimeOut St. Petersburg
“Compelling and gruesome . . . Excellent translation . . . Its plot is rewardingly absurd . . . Enjoyable.”