One of The Telegraph’s Best Fiction Books 2011Moscow, 2028. A scream, a moan, and a death rattle slowly pull Andrei Danilovich Komiaga out of his drunken stupor. But wait—that’s just his ring tone. So begins another day in the life of an oprichnik, one of the czar’s most trusted courtiers—and one of the country’s most feared men.In this new New Russia, where futuristic technology and the draconian codes of Ivan the Terrible are in perfect synergy, Komiaga will attend extravagant parties, partake in brutal executions, and consume an arsenal of drugs. He will rape and pillage, and he will be moved to tears by the sweetly sung songs of his homeland.Vladimir Sorokin has imagined a near future both too disturbing to contemplate and too realistic to dismiss. But like all of his best work, Sorokin’s new novel explodes with invention and dark humor. A startling, relentless portrait of a troubled and troubling empire, Day of the Oprichnik is at once a richly imagined vision of the future and a razor-sharp diagnosis of a country in crisis.
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Always the same dream: I’m walking across an endless field, a Russian field. Ahead, beyond the receding horizon, I spy a white stallion; I walk toward him, I sense that this stallion is unique, the stallion of all stallions, dazzling, a sorcerer, fleet-footed; I make haste, but cannot overtake him, I quicken my pace, shout, call to him, and realize suddenly: this stallion contains—all life, my entire destiny, my good fortune, that I need him like the very air; and I run, run, run after him, but he recedes with ever measured pace, heeding no one
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Vladimir Sorokin, considered by many to be the next Roberto Bolaño, is one of Russia's most accomplished and well-regarded novelists and dramatists. English translations of his masterpieces, Ice Trilogy and Day of the Oprichnik: A Novel, arrive in bookstores this year. Listen to Sorokin discuss his work with young literary star Keith Gessen, editor-in-chief of the celebrated journal n+1.
Vladimir Sorokin was born in 1955. He is the author of many novels, plays, short stories, and screenplays, and of a libretto. Sorokin has won the Andrei Bely Prize and the Maxim Gorky Prize, and was nominated for the Booker–Open Russia Literary Prize. He lives in Moscow.Jamey Gambrell is a writer on Russian art and culture, and the translator of Vladimir Sorokin’s The Ice Trilogy, among many other works of Russian-language fiction and nonfiction.