Give me: (songs for lovers)
With these eleven short stories, Irina Denezkhina announces herself as the fresh voice of Russian literature. Mining the themes of teenage sex, drugs, violence and music, she tells it like it is for Russia's new generation, brought up in a complex post-Communist world where the ideological influences are more MTV than Marx. A young soldier on leave from the Chechen war laments the meaninglessness of civvie life - 'all that goddamned self-expression' - whilst his girlfriend ponders the elegant arch of her best friend's eyebrows; a teacher at a summer camp is appalled, disgusted and frightened in turn by her out-of-control charges, and the punishment she could receive at the hands of their powerful parents; a suicidal teenager finds salvation in the unlikely duo of a beefy security guard and his Rottweiler, and Death visits an internet chat room, politely accepting the offer of a cup of tea. Full of energy, controversy, cruelty and humour, this extraordinary debut toys with the possibilities of language and perception to give a snapshot of Russia's youth and its' struggles to grow up, connect, and, ultimately, love.
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