The Prussian Bride

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Dedalus, 2002 - Fiction - 363 pages
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Yuri Buida grew up in the small town of Znamensk in the Kaliningrad region. This much-disputed territory in former East Prussia was occupied by Soviet troops in 1945; the German inhabitants were deported en masse. The Russians among whom Buida was born were effectively immigrants, and a sense of the transitory courses right through his cycle of short stories. Deprived of a sense of the past, the motley Russian dwellers of this 'settlement-town' - war cripples, bereaved wives, madmen and magicians - inhabit a dislocated world. Death is all around them, yet Buida animates their lives with unforgettable vitality and humour, and with a peculiarly Russian sense of the miraculous. His own prose style, by turns baroque, magic realist and savagely terse, is a formidable match for the subject. He fills his intense short stories, often no longer than half a dozen pages, with a plot around which most writers would be happy to construct entire novels. The Prussian Bride is a treasure-house of myth and narrative exuberance, with stories swing unpredictably between outrageous invention and often tragic reality. It is one of the most exciting discoveries of post-Soviet literature and a worthy win

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