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Snow White and Russian Redby Dorota Maslowska
Synopses & Reviews
Dorota Maslowska's audacious debut novel establishes her as a new young literary voice of international importance. When Snow White and Russian Red was first published, it became a controversial, acclaimed bestseller in both Poland and Germany, a stunning accomplishment since the author was only nineteen.
Reminiscent of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, Snow White and Russian Red is a fresh and surprising portrait of marginalized fatalistic post-Communist youth. It is the story of Andrzej "Nails" Robakoski who unravels after his girlfriend, Magda, dumps him. A track-suited slacker who spends most of his time doing little more than searching for his next line of speed and dreaming up conspiracy theories about the Polish economy, Nails ricochets from the bewitching Magda to proselytizing Angela to hellcat Natasha to nerdy Ala, the girlfriend of the friend who stole Magda. Through it all, a xenophobic campaign against the proliferating Russian black market escalates, and the citizens have to paint their houses in national colors — or is that just in Nails' fevered mind?
By turns poetic, hilarious, disturbing and dirty, Snow White and Russian Red is a powerful portrait of love, hopelessness, and political burnout in today's Eastern Europe.
"A hit in 21-year-old Maslowska's native Poland and elsewhere in Europe, this punishing successor to first-person 'lad' novels like Trainspotting serves up its nastiness spiked with pitch-black humor. Young, paranoid Polish speed fiend Andrzej 'Nails' Robakoski presents himself, in hyperbolic stream-of-speech, as an ignoble chump morbidly obsessed with death whose trampy blonde girlfriend Magda has just dumped him. Living at home with a working but absent mother and felonious 'bro,' Nails adheres to a busy schedule of snorting lines, scarfing 'Bird Milkies' (or chocolate-covered marshmallows), text-messaging and denouncing both American consumerism and Russian bootlegged goods. After Magda, Nails — mindlessly nationalist, misogynist, homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic — turns to anorexic virgin Angela, a Goth girl in black whom he feeds drugs and sexually assaults. Eventually, Nails is incarcerated for stealing a soda and walkie-talkie from a local McDonald's. In a hokey metafictional twist, he encounters 'Dorota Maslowska,' a teenage writer working as a typist at the jail, and then, after a collision with a prison wall, enters a hallucinatory state not much different from his waking life and from which the rest of the novel emerges. Paloff's translation is pitch-perfectly speedy, and with political ironies resounding throughout, it's clear that Maslowska is not exactly endorsing her blank generation, though the claustrophobic narrative presents few avenues of escape. Agent, Maria Strarz-Kanska at Graal (Poland). (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Robakowski's] voice is one of the most authentic to emerge in fiction in years....Not for everyone, this thoroughly unique debut...is destined to become a cult classic. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"[B]lithely abrasive....[An] ego- and phallocentric rant....Yes, some of it is blackly funny....But [those are] merely shallow pockets of sanity in a smothering fabric of narrative and rhetorical overkill." Kirkus Reviews
Reminiscent of Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, this audacious debut novel is a fresh and surprising portrait of marginalized fatalistic post-Communist youth. It is the story of Andrzej "Nails" Robakoski who unravels after his girlfriend, Magda, dumps him.
Nails” Robakoski is unraveling after his girlfriend Magda dumps him. A tracksuited slacker who spends most of his time doing little more than searching for his next line of speed and dreaming up conspiracy theories about the Polish economy, Nails ricochets from Magda, a doomed beauty who bewitches men, to Angela, a proselytizing vegetarian Goth, to Natasha, a hellcat who tears his house apart looking for speed, to Ala, the nerdy economics-student girlfriend of the friend who stole Magda. Through it all, a xenophobic campaign against the proliferating Russian black market escalates, to the point where the citizens have to paint their houses in national colors and one of these girls will be crowned Miss No Russkies Day—or is that just in Nails fevered mind?
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