Vadim Babenko. A Simple Soul

Author: Vadim Babenko
Title: A Simple Soul
Year: 2009

The plot of this new novel is set in Russia. It is a story of love and deception that gradually reveals its essence – when the best of intentions and the secrets of destiny come into conflict with each other. The main characters are trying hard to achieve their individual goals, but ultimately each of them finds something different instead. At some point, they all meet by chance – in a strange atmosphere of danger and curiosity…
Elizaveta, an attractive 27-year-old Moscovite, begins to notice strange things happening to her – she is being followed, receiving anonymous calls, flowers and presents from people she does not know. Soon she finds out that this is the work of her old friend Timofey, with whom she once had a passionate romance. He has left Moscow, lives in town on the Volga and has a thriving business, but a threat to his well-being suddenly appears on the horizon – the daughter of a local mafia man, his long-standing patron and protector, wants to marry him. Timofey is horrified by the prospect, yet he understands that he has no choice – an influential family would be infuriated by a refusal and would wipe him out. In a feverish attempt to save himself, he decides to admit to his “godfather” that he has already been married for some time – having a fictitious marriage certificate drawn up and dated a few years back. The formalities are no problem – you can do whatever you want for money – the only concern is the fake wife and the reliability of her silence.
Elizaveta goes to see Timofey and realizes that she is no less attracted to him than before. They have long talks, and though he tries to be devious at the beginning and charm her by appealing to her heart, he then admits that he has ended up in a complicated situation and needs help. “When all illusions end, there’s no reason to live,” somebody explains jokingly, but Elizaveta, normally willing to laugh at herself, does not accept the joke this time. She has it harder than the rest, she lives everything for real – a trusting nature, a simple soul.
Knowing how to entice the reader with dynamic narration, Babenko does not sacrifice artistry to adventurous plot. Because he is an innate stylist, the language of the author, on one level with the characters, is a full-fledged character in this book.
Finalist for the National Bestseller Prize 2007 for previous novel “Black Pelican”(rights available)
Nominated for National Bestseller Prize 2010