Alexey Shamanov. Collection of reflections

Author: Alexey Shamanov
Title: Collection of reflections
Year: 2005

Mysticism and farce, poetry and unadorned transparent prose in the novel-phantasmagoria about the real and fictional demons we have to overcome.
In the beginning of the new millennium a middle-aged provincial writer struggling to bring his life back from alcoholism and creative standstill goes to the presentation of his new novel to Moscow where under strange circumstances he almost goes down the drain.
This journey in space entwines with the journey in the literary universe of the writer’s own novel on the adventures of the young protagonist at the communist building site in Siberia where the evil spirits interfere with the severe routine of the builders of the infamous Bailkal-Amur Trunk Railway.
Two stories entwine and develop in the same vein – while “the fictional” character Andrei falls in love with Svetlana, the cook on Baikal-Amur building site and has to fight the evil spirits that had taken the soul of Svetlana’s daughter and defend himself from Svetlana’s husband who turns out to be a werewolf, the writer himself has to win the battle with himself and to defeat his personal evil spirits that bring him away from his family and his friends further and further into the fictional universe created by his ill imagination. Alexei Shamanov combines an astonishing range of textures and voices to make his worlds feel real and brings two stories to the cumulative ending in which he reconciles the real and the fictional.
‘Collection of Reflections’ – an eerie, beautiful, funny, wildly inventive, elaborately conceived book that boils down two stories creating grand fictional treatise about the demons you have to overcome – whether imaginative or real.
Alexei Shamanov was born in 1959, in Lipetsk. After having been expelled from the Moscow University he went to work at the building site of Bailkal-Amur Trunk Railway. He is a poet, a playwright and a prose-writer. “Collection of Reflections” is his second novel. Alexei Shamanov lives in Irkutsk, married and is a father of two children.
“Venedict Erofeev meets Yuri Mamleev in a gallery of the distorting mirrors” MK