Author: Ilya Boyashov
Title: The Way of Muri. Reprint
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER PRIZE 2007
This is a novel that consists of many stories.
That of an obsessed Croatian astronomer hiding at the remote observatory in mountains.
That of an obsessed Arab rich man who has been pursuing the only aim during all of his life – to go round the world by plane. And he manages to do this only at the third attempt.
That of an obsessed alpine climber – immobilized by his unsuccessful attempts to climb a rock seen from his window but still eager to get to the top.
That of an obsessed old Jew leading his people out of Sarajevo where the war is starting.
That of and obsessed in some sense goose that proved to be capable of multiplying multydigit numbers.
That of sane but still stubborn whale leading his 50ieth circle around the world and fighting a giant octopus.
And of course the story of the Murrie-Cat that unites the most part of the above mentioned stories. The point is that the happiness of this cat is endangered by the Yugoslavian war that is breaking out. One day he discovers that all the family of human beings who have been properly served him for years left their house and – Heaven! – him, who has been out for a couple of days doing his own deals. The house-spirit tells him that they left because of war. And Murrie starts his journey. He proves to be a terrible person: using everybody helpful on his way he leaves them just at the moment they start sympathizing him. It happens so with the old Jew, with the astronomer and many others whom Murrie meets on his way that seems to be quite aimless. Many life stories are to be told and characters to be met. Many spirits are to be talked to by Murrie and many tragedies and happy ends are to be seen by him. But it all is just for one thing, that a reader – quite disgusted by Murrie’s terrible behavior – is not waiting for at all. In the end we learn that Murrie has crossed all the Europe and left a dozen of interim hosts to find his own, still missing him family that emigrated from raging Yugoslavia to Sweden.
This extremely kind and entertaining narration brings together all the stories which have one thing in common: all these are about a way or the Way, about movement and aspiration. And once you have read this you can’t help feeling a desire to go on.
Just to remind you: the National Bestseller is the only independent and the most prestigious literary prize in Russia. Every year the big jury (writers, poets, critics etc) considers about 60 new Russian titles nominated by prominent people chosen by the NB Prize committee. The result of this work is a short-list of 5-6 titles and these are, in turn, considered by the “small jury” – famous people from both cultural and social spheres. The short list 2007 included titles by Ludmila Ulitskaya, Vladimir Sorokin and Dmitry Bykov – the winner of the NB 2006. But The Way of Murrie has beaten them with 3 voices against 2 for its nearest rival Daniel Stein – The Interpreter by Ludmila Ulitskaya.
Czech Republic (Kniha Zlin)
Turkey (Ceviribilim Ajans ve Yayincilik)