Title: Wolves and Bears
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER PRIZE 2013
The novel “Wolves and Bears” is the sequel to the novel “Happycalipse”, but can also be read on its own.
The setting of this action-adventure novel unfolds in a future St. Petersburg that has weathered a global nuclear catastrophe, but nevertheless remains the city of Dostoevsky and Gogol.
The main character, an expert ghost hunter, travels to the most dangerous neighborhoods of the city, which in this post-apocalyptic future have divided into warring city states. Under orders from the leader of one of these neighborhood states, the brutal Chancellor, the main character must lead a group of soldiers in a campaign to invade and occupy new lands for the Chancellor. However, he also has a secondary, secret mission related to the desire of the Chancellor to subordinate the very center of the city, the only area still retaining high civilization and culture. A parallel plotline in the novel is related to the professional activities of the protagonist. Due to a special genetic mutation, Twoeyes is one of a few people able to contend with the ghosts of the dead, which in this future world return to their killers to take them with them to the other side. However, for the first time in his experience fighting ghosts, Twoeyes is faced with a ghost he cannot beat. Only at the end of the novel does the protagonist solve the riddle of the invincible ghost.
The novel is written with a wicked irony, and a unique author’s style that combines simplicity and elegance. At the heart of the ideology of the novel is a satire on contemporary Russia, i.e. black-ops, corrupt officials, gangs of thugs not much different from their police counterparts, and rampant crime and corruption. All of these realities of the post-apocalyptic atmosphere of “Wolves and bears” are easily recognizable. However, this goes for the “civilized” center as well, which under the external coating of democratic decency hides social vices just as ugly as the corruption of the outer neighborhoods.
A brilliant satirical novel, written with skill and passion, “Wolves and bears” has become one of the most important novels of 2013. And its pseudonym-hidden author can safely be called the best discovery of Russian literature of the new decade.