The Vital Needs of the Dead is a tender coming-of-age story set in the provinces of the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century. At the center of this story, praised by Russian critics for its blend of realism and lyrical sensibility, lies the relationship of young Gosha Sidelnikov with his alluring and mysterious grandmother Rosa, who becomes his caregiver when he is virtually abandoned by his busy and distant parents. This relationship colors Sidelnikov’s subsequent forays into first love and sexual awakening. Even after her death, memories of Rosa accompany him into his adventures as a provincial student. Then, one miserably cold winter night, her voice commands him to immediately depart for a place he’s never been before, precipitating a mysterious chain of events.
“Igor Sakhnovsky’s novel is a joyful find for anyone who knows the price of seemingly insignificant details in life, for anyone who understands that the most important events go unregistered, if only picked up by one’s side vision, by a lonely existence of a lonely person. This isn’t a literary method or a mental determination. In fact, this is the way the writer’s perception is”.
LYUDMILA ULITSKAYA, famous Russian writer
NEW WORLD MAGAZINE
“.. Igor Sakhnovsky, a novelist with a fine sense of visual beauty, personal eccentricity, and curious ephemera”.
THE MORNING NEWS
Igor Sakhnovsky was born in 1958 in the town of Orsk, in the southern part of the Ural range that traditionally divides the European and Asian portions of Russia. He studied Philology at Ural State University, and went on to serve as scientific and chief editor at the Academy of Sciences, as well as directing the journal, Book Club. He has been published in a number of leading literary journals, both Russian and foreign. In 2002 Sakhnovsky was awarded a Fellowship by the Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers (UK). Since then, he has been a finalist for both the National Bestseller Prize (2006) and the Russian Booker Prize (2007), among numerous other awards. In 2008 his novel, The Man Who Knew Everything, was turned into a screenplay.
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